Why Was I In Iowa #climatereality

Why was I in IowaMany people have asked me why I was in Iowa earlier this month. I had an amazing opportunity to train with Al Gore and see his presentation up close and personal presented by him at Climate Reality training. Having Al Gore train you on his Inconvenient Truth slideshow is an amazing experience. He is, as you know from seeing the movie, an amazing presenter and speaker. He is engaging with the audience and keeps your attention the entire time even when he is presenting heavy science and bar graphs. I told my husband when I called him from the training that I am happy Al Gore is using these skills to talk about climate change because he could probably sell anything to anyone. I mean that in the most positive way, he makes a connection with his audience in a masterful way and makes detailed information easy to understand.

Who else was there with me? The training was amazing that the connections were also just as amazing.
I was there with millennial’s in high school and college. I was there with the original environmentalists who remember the first Earth Day. [Read more…]

The Dirty Weather Report Starts Tonight!

Hurricane Irene warned us and Hurricane Sandy hit us over the head with it… climate change is here.

Dirty fossil fuels have created a world of Dirty Weather. Yet as the climate crisis deepens, the oil, coal and gas industries continue to rake in record profits and receive billions of dollars in government subsidies.

Tonight The Climate Reality Project is hosting The 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report. Starting 8pm EST and continuing for 24 hours, millions of people will participate in an on going conversation broadcast live online, which will include noted climate scientists, elected leaders, business leaders, activists, celebrities, and Climate Reality Project Founder and Chairman and former Vice President Al Gore.

It will be fascinating to see on the ground reports from people in each time zone in the entire world reporting on their personal experience with climate change. I think this will be an eye opening event that will really show the world what is happening because of our dirty energy and what is happening to our planet.

So what is Climate Reality? They use cutting-edge communications and grassroots engagement tools to raise the profile of the climate crisis to its proper state of urgency. They are working to create a global movement more than 2 million strong and a grassroots network of Climate Leaders trained by Chairman Al Gore. And most importantly they stand up to denial, press for solutions, and spread the truth about climate change to empower our leaders to solve the climate crisis.

 Watch the live online broadcast here.

Lessons from Silent Spring 50 Years Later

Fifty years ago Rachel Carson sounded the alarm about chemicals in our environment when she wrote Silent Spring. She was the canary in the coal mine but very few people paid attention to her message. Carson was what many people call a citizen-scientist, she knew what scientist knew but the rest of the world did not. Carson’s battle to educate people about synthetic pesticides is much like the environmental fights we are in today regarding global warming, GMO, chemicals in our environment, and fracking.

Carson fought to get her message out, she enlisted the help of journalists like E. B. White who (was writing for the New Yorker at the time) who encouraged her she should write about it. She did tons of research reading as many studies as she could. She wrote her book and then enlisted to support of an organization that already had the trust of the people like the Audubon Society. Then she did something masterful, she piggybacked on the idea that was consuming the peoples thoughts at the time: the health effects of radiation.

Silent Spring was a PR success for its time it was featured in a three part series in The New Yorker and she was featured on a one hour long TV newshow “CBS reports” and was the New York Times Book of the Month! Sadly Carson was fighting cancer during this big PR push but that did not stop her from moving forward. Her work was not met with unanmous acceptance. Big business, chemical manufacturs to be specific, fought against her book much like big business does today.

Carson died before DDT, the chemical she wrote about, was banned.  She is credited with starting a revolution, an environmental revolution. People like Al Gore have come after her raising awareness for other important things. I like to think that there are millions of Carson’s out there: Moms, Dads, grandparents, bloggers, kids…but sadly we are still plagued by the issues that Carson was met with but now the opposition is better organized and has a even more to lose.

We have a lot to learn from Carson’s fight.

  • People are not as connected to real science as they should be, they depend on the media to give them their scientific news.
  • There are issues that are on the peoples minds and in order to get their attention we need to make sure that the issues raised show the parallel to those that resonate with people.
  • Join forces with already accepted organizations and sources to get the message out.
  • Big business is even more organized to fight against these people, motivated crusades, have to join their small forces together.
  • Do not give up even if you do not see a result in the timeline you had hoped. Carson’s goal was not realized in the timeline she hoped but she is still credited for sounding the alarm and getting it done.

I think the best modern day example of similar fight to Carson’s in point is the fight against global warming. Al Gore wrote An Inconvenient Truth based on science and evidence yet there are still millions of people who do not believe in global warming. Extreme weather all over the world including drought, flooding rains, extreme tempertatures…etc. is still met with skeptic views and non-believers. Scientist that have been talking about this problem for years but have been ignored or written off and big business’ “scientists for hire” get more press spreading misleading facts to keep real change from happening because it will affect their businesses bottom line.

Carson is in inspiration for me personally, while I do not have the access to a audience like she did (speaking to Congress!) she remained steadfast even when ill in fighting for what she believed in… a trait that is admirable to anyone fighting for the right thing.

If you have not read Silent Spring I encourage you to do so, the facts will be enlighting and knowing what she was going through when she wrote it and when it came out adds so much more to the story she tells.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons compliments of The Smithsonian Institute

Why the Earth Needs a Good PR Firm

Lets face it every person who goes through any sort of crisis or is loosing public interest gets a good PR firm to help turn things around. Tiger Woods is rumored to be using Ari Fliescher, former Bush Press Secretary to help put a good spin on the major blows to his reputation (prescription drug abuse, womanizing, cheating… I could go on). Every move he makes is carefully orchestrated, even the first picture taken of him was planned and staged. But Tiger is still in the news, people are still looking forward to his return to golf so really what does this planet need for people to notice it and not turn their back on it?

First, Earth needs to hire a PR firm, one that is so big and famous for getting the people who are unnoticed, noticed again (who works with Betty White?). The economy pushed Earth to the back burner, I am pretty sure more people are interested in the C- celebrities in on Celebrity Fit Club and the nobody’s on American Idol more than what is going on with the planet. A firm that just by taking Earth on as client will get in the news… hmm?! 

Second, Earth needs a new spokes person Al Gore is awesome but he does not have a wide enough appeal. There is the option to go with someone unknown, look at what happened when Conan O’Brien picked a random person to follow on Twitter, @lovelybutton, she has 27,950 followers and has been on the news and was invited to Larry King (she was bumped for breaking news). Maybe by taking just a random person and making them the spokesman for the Earth will get it noticed. A baby may be a good option because they have not done anything offensive to the Earth yet to appear to be a hypocrite (but it would have to be a baby that used cloth diapers and drinks out of glass bottles). Maybe there is a celebrity with a good environmental record… lets get that PR firm on that, maybe the clean slate of a baby would work after all.  

Third, A good Facebook page and campaign to get fans or friends. Currently, Earth only has 2,285 fans on Facebook and the Devil has 6,077 but Obama has 7,848,841 fans (BTW Betty White has 66,460 fans). Maybe Earth should just start a Farm and play Mafia Wars then lots of people will notice it.

Fourth, hire a developer to create an iPhone and Droid App and it has to be as cool as Google Goggles! I have no idea what it could be, maybe you could take pictures of things and the app would show you what it would look like in 100 or 1,000 years like a plastic water bottle would look exactly the same but a fresh compost heap would turn into a garden of veggies?!

Earth then needs to be in a blockbuster movie that everyone loves, win an Oscar (while being on every best dressed list) and hit the talk show circuit. After the wild ride starts to slow down, there needs to be a book that comes out about the “behind the scenes” (or under the crust) about the tough times Earth had before it got noticed and how it got to be the hot topic it became.

Earth’s current PR strategy of earthquakes, tsunamis, violent rain storms, and dropping feet of snow at a time is not working. PR firms around the world should fight over who will get the credit for turning the Earth around and make it a big star that people want to follow.

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Global “Weirding” Instead of “Warming”

Thomas Friedman wrote an excellent piece basically suggesting that we need to stop calling it “global warming” but rather the more accurate name “global weirding.” I obviously could not agree more, most people I talk to both through my blog and personally who want to challenge my position are stuck on the “warming” part. They think that because it has been unseasonably cold in the northeast with major snow falls in southern east coast areas that there is no such thing as global warming.

I think we all can agree weather has been particularly strange these last few years, the 2005 hurricane season that not only brought Katrina and Rita but so many storms they had to restart the naming that year with alpha, beta…etc. That is just hurricanes, how about wildfires, mudslides, droughts, flash floods… Even tornados in areas that do not get them. I am willing to entertain the idea that SOME wildfires and mudslide are a direct and immediate consequence of humans and what we are doing to the earth but global weirding is much more about our long lasting scar on the Earth and maybe if we change the terminology people will understand it more and do something about it.

So hats off to Friedman for suggesting a change to the vocabulary!

To read his piece click here. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/opinion/17friedman.html

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