Dear EarthTalk: What exactly is Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project and how does it work to train activists? — Kelly G., Washington, DC
The Climate Reality Project (CRP) is a non-profit launched in 2011 by Nobel laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore to address climate change following up on the release of his influential book and documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth. CRP serves as the nerve center of Gore’s advocacy and education efforts to spread the word about the need to ratchet down our greenhouse gas emissions to stave off the cataclysmic effects of global warming.
CRP’s primary focus right now is in training volunteer advocates—so-called “Climate Reality Leaders”—to go out into their communities and educate policymakers and members of the public about the need to take action to mitigate climate change while countering so-called “climate denial” efforts funded by oil companies and perpetuated by right wing think tanks. So far, some 10,000 individuals from 135 countries have participated in CRP training events.
The primary tool these Climate Reality Leaders use to spread the word is a regularly updated slide show created by Gore in 2011 that lays out the facts behind climate change. It details example after example of human-induced global warming wreaking havoc by lashing low-lying areas with massive storms, killing thousands with blistering heat waves and turning human populations already marginalized by war and famine into migratory climate refugees searching for safer places to live.
Meanwhile, CRP’s free “Reality Drop” news aggregator tool collects online news stories about climate change that activists can share on social media channels to dispel myths about global warming to help set the record straight for millions of friends, fans and followers.
Most recently, CRP has supported the creation and distribution of the follow-up to an Inconvenient Truth, a new documentary entitled An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. The film, released worldwide in July 2017, follows Gore around the world, documenting how global warming is already ravaging the planet. CRP is working to get the film in front of millions of viewers, as it did with the original film, in hopes it will inspire a new generation of citizen activists.
And come December, CRP will host its seventh annual “24 Hours of Reality,” a free, live-streamed multimedia event that showcases what’s being done to fight climate change in each of the world’s top 24 greenhouse gas emitting countries. It aims to show viewers what they can do even if their country’s leaders aren’t as invested in positive change as they could be.
“When you talk, your friends and family listen,” reports CRP. “That’s why it’s so important that every climate activist use their voice to spread the truth about the climate crisis.” Even those who haven’t attended a CRP event can download the free “I Am Still In” action kit which teaches people how to build support for clean energy and other climate solutions at the community level.
“There are many ways to use your voice, and whether you write a letter to the editor of your local paper or call your representative or talk to your neighbors, you can make a difference in sharing the truth and shaping public opinion right when your planet needs you,” concludes CRP.