The Climate Project (TCP), an international non-profit founded by former Vice President Al Gore with a mission to increase public awareness of the climate crisis at a grassroots level worldwide. The TCP opened its North American Summit in Nashville yesterday.
During the three day event, Gore is addressing more than 500 attendees as well as conducting a three hour training workshop. Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is also presenting. Award-winning scientist, environmentalist and journalist Dr. David Suzuki are joining Gore and Pachauri, establishing the first time in history that three of the most recognized names in climate change have ever appeared together.
The Summit marks the beginning of TCP's "Phase Two," signaling the transition from its original mission of education and increasing public awareness of the climate crisis to its expanded objective of "advocacy and activism." Now, TCP volunteers, while continuing their education role, will also seek to persuade people to encourage elected officials and community leaders to urgently address climate change issues.
To help foster this move, Steve Hildebrand, Democratic political strategist and former deputy national campaign director for Barack Obama, will speak to attendees as well as Steve Bouchard, veteran political campaign strategist and Repower America Campaign Manager, about the national campaign to enact bold policies to improve climate change. Both are now working with Maggie Fox, CEO of The Alliance for Climate Protection, who is also addressing the conference.
The shift from public education to activism is inspired in part by the upcoming Copenhagen Treaty negotiations, a gathering in December 2009 of hundreds of representatives from around the world to discuss the replacement of the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The Kyoto Protocol set limits on greenhouse gas emissions for all participating countries. The treaty contained emissions trading options to combat the potentially harmful economic effects of sudden restrictions. The objective of the Copenhagen meeting is to establish options for furthering the Kyoto treaty goals. TCP's role will be to advocate for key leaders in the US and throughout the world to take strong positions during the Copenhagen meeting.
In addition, numerous environmental scientists will lead panel discussions on climate issues. Dr. George Woodwell, senior scientist at Woods Hole Research Center, and Dr. Eric Steig, geochemist and University of Washington professor, will speak on Global Warming Projections: The Latest Climate Science. A second panel, lead by Dr. Howard Frumkin of the Center for Disease Control and Dr. Paul Epstein from Harvard Medical Center, will address Emerging Health Threats of Climate Change.
The following are some of the experts and leaders that will attend:
--Honorable Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President, Founder of The Climate Project, Founder and Chairman of The Alliance for Climate Protection
--Mrs. Tipper Gore, author, photographer, former Second Lady of the United States
--Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Price with Gore
--David Suzuki, scientist, broadcaster, environmental activist
--Steve Hildebrand, Democratic political strategist, Deputy National Campaign Director for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign
--Steve Bouchard, veteran political strategist and Repower America Campaign Manager
--George Woodwell, Ph.D., ecologist, senior scientist at Woods Hole Research Center
--Eric Steig, Ph.D., geochemist, professor at University of Washington
--Dr. Howard Frumkin, CDC, Director of the National Center for Environmental Health
--Dr. Paul Epstein, Harvard Medical School Associate Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment
--Jenny Clad, Executive Director of The Climate Project
--Larry Schweiger, President, National Wildlife Federation
--Maggie Fox, CEO of The Alliance for Climate Protection
--Don Henry, Executive Director of the Australian Conservation Foundation
--Kaki King, guitarist, singer-songwriter
--Roz Savage, ocean rower, environmental activist
TCP consists of a professional staff and more than 2,600 dedicated volunteers throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, India, Spain, and the UK, all personally trained by Al Gore to educate the public about climate change. In 2009, TCP expanded its mission with a new commitment to advocacy and activism to combat the climate crisis. TCP presenters have reached a combined audience of more than 5 million people worldwide and plans are underway to develop affiliate offices in Israel, China, Eastern Europe, Mexico, and Latin America. Our hope is that by raising the awareness of our fellow citizens about this crisis and informing them about potential solutions, all of us, together, can preserve the climate balance on which humanity and our planet depend.
For more information on The Climate Project, please visit http://www.theclimateproject.org or call (615) 327-7577.
(Climate Change, Al Gore, Sustainability)