Alright 2017, you were a doozy.
We survived the first year of our new presidency, which made efforts to dismantle the EPA, remove funding from our National Parks and sacred lands, and threatened endangered animals and ecosystem (all in the name of profits.) Our leader pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which sent millions questioning his real priorities of leading all across the globe.
But America, we fought back.
Hundreds of cities decided to take matters into their own hands and implement new Paris Agreement standards on their own terms. More women, scientists, and environmental advocates decided to run in these upcoming midterm elections in 2018. We have had peaceful protests, marches, and people speaking up for the injustices. The hotlines for our senators and other elected officials have been ringing off the hook like never before because the people are upset with the governance. More renewable energy jobs have now come into being because the community efforts, both in the public and private sector, to demand clean energy.
It is amazing and powerful to witness.
I am grateful and inspired to be one of these empowered citizens to try and make a change for this year and try to make change in my own backyard. This year, I was fortunate to have attended the following events, which has given me vision for this platform and my personal life on where I want to move forward.
Climate Reality Conference
In March of 2017, I attended Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership conference, where the brainchild of this blog was born. Having be educated by the man himself, as well as a team of growing climate change activists, the invitation to attend this gathering to learn, grow, and share from leaders and luminaries in this industry was an experience I will NEVER forget. Thanks Al, I got the sustainability bug now!
Compact for Colorado Communities
Based in my town of Aspen, Colorado, I was invited to represent local millennials and learn how local elected officials are coming together and pledging to uphold the Paris Agreement on their own accord. Having just stepped into the sustainability realm, this was a true eye-opening experience to witness first hand what LOCAL communities are doing to fight back the Presidency. I was restored with a new vigor to become more involved with local politics, as well as work with local businesses to assist them in making eco-friendly choices that not only benefit the planet, but their bottom lines as well.
AREDAY Summit (American Renewable Energy Day Summit)
Now this was a serious cannonball into everything that involves climate change, renewable energy, and natural resources. I was completely overwhelmed with the level of speakers- leading scientists in their fields, dignitaries, politicians, educators, media moguls, and the like all came to the stage to showcase their latest and (not always greatest) news findings. Many times during this week my heart sank to my stomach, listening to the never-ending doom-and-gloom rhetoric that so often is attached alongside these events. But what I really came out of this was optimism, that even though the reports of climate change are dismal, there is still hope in the amount of technology, connection, and innovation that we possess as humans and communities. The event included movie screenings of impactful films like Racing Extinction and Chasing Coral, which reminded me that everything is connected and that ecosystems need just as much protection and policy as fighting a fossil-fuel based future.
Citizens Climate Lobby
I became a member of my local Citizens Climate Lobby chapter. This accountability group, encouraged weekly calls to members of Congress and other high-up elected officials to vote with the climate in mind. The phone calls and letters I sent to my senators and governors were so empowering and taught me that I HAVE A VOICE and that the people of my state elected them to govern, and we are going to constantly remind them what our values really are.
I attended many other speakers, events, and meet-ups. I met hundreds of like-minded individuals trying to figure out how to attack climate change, both personally, professionally, and politically. The road I have chosen to dig deeper into this and understand what more is needed has now become my vocational calling.
2017 was an unfortunate and uncomfortable year on many levels. But what I learned from it was that there is room to make a change, and that I must BE the change. Will you join me?