Every Action Counts: Climate Reality

Posted on October 28, 2017

Conor Tapp, Executive Director of Green Calgary, shares his experience at the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Pittsburgh, PA.

Last week I had the privilege of spending time in a room with other people from around the world who were passionate about our earth. We were lead through our week by Vice President Al Gore, Ken Berlin (CEO of The Climate Reality Project), and leading scientists and physicians. We talked about science. We talked about health. We talked about action.

Dr. Michael Mann said during one of his panels, “The level of consensus in the scientific community on climate change is the same as for gravity.” Human impacts on the earth are real.

Our experts discussed the best and fastest ways to reach targets set in the Paris Accord, and how to achieve even greater reductions in Greenhouse Gas levels. I heard great stories of cities that have already switched to 100% renewable energy, and the list of cities large and small that have made the commitment to make the switch in the coming years. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto shared the story of his city, and community leaders from across America were on hand as well sharing their stories.

I was fortunate to hear from a lead engineer at Tesla on the advancements taking place in renewable energy and in the tech sector. And just a few hours later a pediatrician from the Pittsburgh area shared some of the impacts of the mining industry on her community. Walking through Pittsburgh, with its fleet of fully autonomous Ubers and vast network of pathways and bike lanes, you would never think that this was once ground zero for pollution in the East. What was once a shoreline dotted with steel mills and coal barges is now a walkway with a LEED Platinum convention centre on one side of the Allegheny River, and baseball park on the other.

I left Pittsburgh tired on Friday. My mind was racing with all of the new information that I learned. I am grateful for the lessons provided by Mr. Gore and his team. And more than feeling tired, I felt inspired. There are so many things that we can do as individuals to create the impacts that we want on the issues we care the most about.

Here are my top actions that you can take today:

1. Unplug. In Alberta, we use a lot of coal and gas fired power. More than just unplugging your cellphone charger, you can reduce the amount of carbon created greenhouse gases created generating power for you by simply not using grid power. Leave some lights off, or read a book without the TV on in the background. At my office at Green Calgary, I rarely have my overhead lights turned on when the sun is up.

2. Talk about it. Being environmentally engaged is nothing to be ashamed of, so find your voice and talk about your love for the earth the way you do your love for a book you read or a song you heard on the radio.

3. Invest in innovation. If you want politicians and industry to be more involved, get yourself involved. Buy a solar panel, or an electric car, or a stainless steel straw. Refuse plastic bags and flyers. Make your own cleaners, and stop buying the ones that trouble you. Look for ways to engage in the companies and industries that interest you.

4. Read more. Al Gore loves the SmogBlog and Skeptical Science and there are lots of reputable sources of information for you to follow. What do you wish you knew more about? Take some time for yourself today, invest in growing your own knowledge of a subject.

5. Take incremental steps. If you’re like me, you’re still on your green journey. We are all at different points on our journey, and it’s important to understand that we don’t need to take every step today. There is no giant leap that you can take to become No Impact Man that will be sustainable. Think about the steps that you are ready to take – are you ready to give up straws? To eat more pulses and veggie proteins? To drive less? To take in an presentation at a local non-profit? To start composting your own greens? Something else?

Thanks for reading. I appreciate you being a part of Green Calgary’s community.


Remember - #EveryActionCounts. Do something green, become a member, and make a donation today.