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Al Gore Honors Rise St. James Founder Sharon Lavigne with Climate Reality’s Green Ring Award

The award honors Climate Reality Leaders who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to their roles as climate communicators and activists.

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Houston, Texas (October 28, 2022) – Today, the founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, former US Vice President Al Gore, presented the Alfredo Sirkis Memorial Green Ring Award to former special education teacher turned community advocate Sharon Lavigne at Power Up: A Climate Reality Training on Advocacy in Action in Houston, Texas. 

The training gathered climate advocates from around the Gulf South to provide those ready to make a difference with the tools, knowledge, and networks to mobilize their communities and drive real action for climate justice solutions. 

The award honors Climate Reality Leaders who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to their roles as climate communicators and activists. Trained during Climate Reality’s August 2020 Global Training, Sharon Lavigne is the founder and director of Rise St. James, a faith-based grassroots organization fighting for environmental justice and working to defeat the proliferation of the petrochemical industry in St. James Parish, Louisiana. In 2019, Lavigne and Rise St. James successfully galvanized community opposition and stopped the construction of a $1.25 billion plastics manufacturing plant alongside the Mississippi River that would have generated one million pounds of liquid hazardous waste annually. And just last month, a coalition led by Lavigne and Rise St. James scored a major victory, blocking two more planned petrochemical plants in St. James Parish from Formosa Plastics and South Louisiana Methanol.  

“Sharon is a model of what it means to be a Climate Reality Leader,” said Phyllis Cuttino, president and CEO of The Climate Reality Project. “Since founding Rise St. James in 2018, Sharon has been a vital voice in her community and across the country, pushing back against the powerful petrochemical industry and protecting the health and wellbeing of her neighbors.” 

Power Up: A Climate Reality Training on Advocacy in Action focused on current Climate Reality Leaders and veteran regional activists, and gave attendees an opportunity to hear directly from fellow organizers, academic institutions, and communities that are on the front lines of efforts to address the climate crisis, advance a just and equitable transition, and build local power to advance climate solutions. The training also highlighted the work of committed local leaders from regional civil rights and environmental justice groups who are mobilizing their communities to fight against polluting industries and racial injustice.  

For more information about the Climate Reality Leadership Corps program, and to learn how to participate in the next training, please visit: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/training. 

ABOUT THE CLIMATE REALITY PROJECT 

Founded by Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore, The Climate Reality Project is working to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every sector of society. With a global movement more than 5 million strong and a grassroots network of trained Climate Reality Leader activists, it is spreading the truth about the climate crisis and building popular support for clean energy solutions. For more information, visit www.climaterealityproject.org or follow Climate Reality on Twitter at @ClimateReality.