Help Stop the Asteroid About to Hit Earth!
By Linda Kastilani and Beverley Bird
Everyone who volunteers with Sustainable Silicon Valley is a passionate climate advocate, so it was no surprise that when we heard about Al Gore’s latest Climate Reality Training two of us decided to sign up. It was a fascinating opportunity to learn from a host of world-class climate leaders, journalists, actors and others who have been working hard to spread the word about what must change.
The training we attended included 10,000 participants from almost every country around the world and was held virtually due to Coronavirus. It took place over nine days with five live sessions from Al Gore and four minimum on-demand sessions to watch. In addition, we were assigned homework that included writing our own climate stories and partnering with another trainee to collaborate on action items. We also had table work groups (like seminars) during the days of live sessions and networking sessions in between the days so we could discuss and share what we were learning.
One of our work assignments was to explain why the climate crisis is important to us, and here are the stories my colleague and I shared.
Linda: Growing up in beautiful tropical Indonesia, I was oblivious as to why we had regular hot rain storms and often floods covering large sections of Jakarta, the city I called home. I assumed it was just a normal thing that happened due to the seasonal monsoons. My first exposure to global warming came in 2006 when I watched Vice President Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” documentary. I started to ask myself if other people were aware that global warming was really happening and if anything was being done to prevent or slow down the climate crisis. I knew that climate change was caused by humans but I did not further research the causes and actions that I personally could have taken. Now that my daughters are in college I have time to focus on it again. I learned that Indonesia is the world’s second largest ocean polluter with 7000 tons (28.5% plastic) of waste each day in Jakarta alone, causing negative effects on our environment. And I personally experienced a Tsunami when we were vacationing in Bali two years ago that caused sea levels to devastate beautiful islands in Java, Sumatra and Lombok.
Beverley: Growing up in England I was also oblivious to the climate crisis. England’s historically grey skies and drizzle don’t really qualify as scary weather events and as a young girl I didn’t know anyone who talked about it. Over the years recycling was introduced, but it seemed a bit of a fringe activity at the time. Once I moved to the US and got a job at Microsoft all that changed. Microsoft was a very forward-thinking organization and a huge recycler and it had an impact on my personal behavior. Then I got a job working for a company that had a technology solution that saved energy (and money) in commercial and industrial buildings. As the marketer for this startup I was always on the lookout for sustainability information and I became very interested in the impact of climate change. However, it was a presentation by Rex Parris, the Mayor of Lancaster, CA that really got me thinking. He started with a slide showing an asteroid on a direct path to Earth. To paraphrase Mr. Parris, he said, “What would the great minds of the world do if this were to happen? You can be sure they would pull together and come up with a solution in pretty short order. It turns out that the asteroid represents climate change and yet where is the urgency to prevent it from hurtling towards us and destroying the planet?”
Our climate stories were the driving force in us taking this training and it created a renewed commitment, energy and focus on climate change for both of us. We met wonderful new friends who deeply care about our planet and we are hoping to use our platform to educate peers, friends and family about global warming. Together we can empower people all over the world to fight for climate solutions and we will stand side by side to drive the change we need to prevent the asteroid from hitting! If you’d like to take the training too, the next one starts later this month. You can sign up here https://climaterealityproject.org/training