Bend locals Caroline Skidmore and her 14-year-old son, Jack Skidmore, recently returned from a three day Climate Reality Leadership training event, presented by former US Vice President Al Gore.
Gore, climate scientists and top leaders in environmental policy and renewable business practices spent the weekend teaching community leaders about what’s happening to our planet and how to use storytelling and personal outreach to inspire local action. Caroline learned of this opportunity after her father attended a leadership event in Chicago. She then applied for the program alongside 2,500 other applicants. Of this pool, only 970 were selected to travel to Denver, CO for this training. The group consisted of community leaders, students, business executives, parents and more – resulting in a diverse group of Climate Reality Leaders.
Throughout various break-out groups and presentations, leaders learned about the science of climate change and how it’s transforming daily life for communities around the world.
“Climate change is not only hurting the planet, but it’s also having a negative impact on important social justice issues,” said Caroline. “It affects everything and everyone, even our food supply. There’s a real sense of urgency around this.”
Caroline and Jack were especially excited to learn that Climate Reality has launched a program called “I Am Pro Snow,” whose mission is to work specifically with ski resorts to transition to 100% renewable electricity. In many mountain communities, including Bend, our economy and culture are rooted in outdoor recreation. With winters getting warmer and disappearing more quickly than ever before, it’s clear that climate change could be a big threat to our way of life. (The Sustainability Director for Powder Corp – who owns Mt. Bachelor – along with many other Western resort representative were also at this training.)
To complement the “I Am Pro Snow” program, Climate Reality is leading a “100% Committed” campaign, which provides a roadmap for cities to shift to 100% renewable electricity. 100% Committed encourages governments, businesses and communities of all sizes to create a plan, set a timeline and speak up about shifting to clean energy. Cities such as Moab, Park City, Whistler and Pueblo have all signed on. In fact, City Councilors from Moab and Park City were attendees at this training event.
“I wholeheartedly believe that if these cities can make this commitment to sustainability, then so can Bend,” said Caroline.
The Skidmores also learned about powerful storytelling tips, public speaking and social media networking techniques, and best practices for grassroots organizing. After three days of intensive training, Caroline and Jack walked away with a new sense of hope, inspiration and tools to engage our Central Oregon community. Jack has already presented to the Cascade Middle School Green Team and it was well received.
“I am really looking forward to giving more presentations in other places,” said Jack. “I’m also very excited about the I Am Pro Snow campaign, and plan to introduce this to Mt. Bachelor.”
In order to communicate and share everything learned, the Skidmores have developed an engaging presentation to share throughout Central Oregon starting in mid-April. The presentation is tailored to the Northwest and will specifically invite groups to get involved in the climate change conversation and take various local actions. If you are interested in having Caroline and/or Jack present for your business or group, please email Lauren at The Environmental Center to get connected.
Stay tuned for a presentation here at The Environmental Center! And check out the Central Oregon Climate Hub on our website to stay up-to-date on the Climate Action Resolution, relevant community events, and to connect with like-minded organizations.