Environmental Advocates in America and Africa confront the Climate Crisis

By Elyse Brady – Climate Reality Leader

Earth’s climate is changing. Northeast Florida felt that change when two hurricanes, Matthew and Irma, struck within a year and left a wake of destruction after mass flooding.

New Climate Reality Leaders are partnering to raise awareness of the climate crisis and find solutions. Elyse Brady and Karen Ford, St. Augustine Beach residents, recently earned “Green Ring” Certifications upon completing the 2020 Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training. Led by former Vice President Al Gore, the 9-day training was delivered online due to COVID-19 to almost 8,000 participants from around the globe.

Brady and Ford have joined with Climate Reality Leader Miguel Peters, from Nigeria, Africa, who spearheads AFRIGOD, an initiative that combines sports programs with climate action. Miguel is also an Ambassador to the organization, “We Don’t Have Time,” the largest social network for climate action, based in Sweden.

The three Climate Reality Leaders met through the recent training and have been collaborating online to develop partnership opportunities that enhance understanding of the climate crisis issue within their communities.

Climate change is being driven by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, primarily due to burning fossil fuels: oil, coal and natural gas. “The greenhouse gases act like a blanket around the Earth, trapping heat and warming the planet,” said Ford, an adjunct faculty member at Flagler College.

“We have also cut down trees in forests at an alarming rate,” Ford added. Forests absorb and store carbon dioxide as carbon sinks — a natural process that removes the gas from the atmosphere and helps keep the climate systems stable, which is now crucial in mitigating the climate crisis.

“The biggest risk to African growth is climate change and the most important political debate should be on how to deal with this risk, because it threatens everything,” said Peters.

Of immediate concern to Florida, Ford noted, are rising ocean temperatures. This creates conditions for more intense hurricanes, shifting weather patterns that stall and dump huge amounts of rain, and melting ice that is driving sea level rise.

In the training, Al Gore, Nobel Prize recipient and author of the bestselling book “An Inconvenient Truth,” highlighted the many intersections between racial, social and climate justice and the current health pandemic, issues he suggested should be incorporated into a sweeping COVID-19 recovery plan.

“So many of our friends and neighbors have endured the trauma of global warming,” said Brady, an artist who lost her Davis Shores home after Hurricane Matthew. “We all have a responsibility to leave a better world for the next generation and to take our roles as stewards of this planet to heart.”

Three Climate Reality Leaders from across the planet were brought together by the first ever Global Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training.

Brady serves on the Steering Committee of the Cathedral Basilica Laudato Si’ Creation Care Ministry, formed in response to Pope Francis’ call to care for our Common Home. The group is sponsoring webinars and a Pilgrimage for the Planet during the Season of Creation in September.

Among the many promising solutions Gore presented as part of the emerging “Sustainability Revolution,” is renewable green energy. Investments in solar and wind technology have skyrocketed worldwide, along with electric cars and battery storage.

“There is enough energy in one hour of sunlight to provide electricity for the entire planet for a year,” said Gore. Regenerative farming that yields more sustainable and diverse crops is another rapidly growing field. Gore emphasized the need for personal action and strong political leadership that leads to an immediate, cohesive, and universal response.

Scientists warned of a global pandemic. They are also ringing the alarm about global warming. A global crisis requires global action. Like the COVID-19 pandemic, which has called upon all nations to sacrifice and work together in the search for a cure, solving the unfolding climate crisis will require every person to live more harmoniously with the natural world. With one voice, the three new Climate Reality Leaders acknowledged—“Our Earth’s future depends on it!”

Learn more about The Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps here.

You can also get in touch with Elyse Brady, Karen Ford, or Miguel Peters to request a live or online Climate Reality environmental presentation for adult or youth audiences.

On October 10 – 11, Climate Reality Leaders all around the globe will be coming together to spread the word about the climate crisis – and what we can do about it – for a full 24 hours. 24 Hours of Reality: Countdown to the Future will be a global conversation on the future we want and how we get there, held in partnership with TED Countdown.

For 24 straight hours, Vice President Gore and Climate Reality Leader activists across the will lead digital presentations and discussions exploring how climate change, COVID-19, and structural racism shape our moment and what we can do to confront these challenges and together build the future we want.

Anyone can request a free presentation for their school, office, place of worship, or community and many presentations will be open to the public, allowing audiences anywhere to log in and join the conversation.

It’s a day to look at where we stand – and together envision where we can go. Join us.