Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” For me, the three-day Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps Training in Berlin was a reminder of that.
There are times in your life when you know something great is about to happen. Something that will change your life forever and help you see the world better than ever before. The Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps Training in Berlin, Germany was one such a big moment for me.
I had dreamt of attending this program for a long time. My first application for the training was not accepted. So, when I applied for it the second time, early this year, I worked twice as hard. This time the letter of acceptance came, and I was to join the training program in June.
Climate Reality is a global network of activists committed to spreading awareness about the climate crisis and working on solutions for what is considered the greatest challenges of our times. Its mission, worldwide, is to train people to be leaders in the fight against climate change.
As I packed my bags for Berlin, I was looking forward to becoming part of this group, receiving qualified insights and knowledge about climate change. I could hardly wait to meet the exceptional network of people who are talking about important issues of our times and finding solutions that we can use in our daily lives.
When the training finally began in Berlin, more than 500 ‘Climate Reality Leaders’, like me, with diverse backgrounds from across the world, were transported into an intensive three-day training with in-depth knowledge camps that had huge data resources on climate change. Also, age was only a number. The group of trainees (climate reality leaders) boasted a mix of high school students and professionals to grandparents who were all geared up to rally for the cause.
A broad panel of international experts from varied backgrounds took on the task of training our diverse groups. Presentations and panel discussions were the order of the day. The most extraordinary discourse was the presentation made by former American Vice President and Nobel Prize laureate Al Gore, who was actively presenting through the entire course. He explained the science behind climate change, its impact on the world right now, how it will shape the future, and what the existing solutions to cope with climate change can be. Gore’s commitment to the cause is extraordinarily outstanding and inspiring.
American Vice President and Nobel Prize laureate AI Gore and Jane Jünger from Wärtsilä.
Through the three-day session, we saw countless images of environmental destruction and disasters from around the world. It should have left us with a lurking sense of doom and hopelessness. But it did not because ‘hope’ was a defining theme of the training. The presenters and experts revealed the infinite possibilities associated with tackling the climate crisis and put the spotlight on why the current period in history could emerge as ‘the great opportunity of change’ for the world.
Renewable energy is one such opportunity that can remarkably change the path of where we are heading. For instance, several countries are scaling up their solar capacities. In the UK100 initiative, a broad alliance of local authorities has pledged to go 100% renewable in the future. And in May 2017, Scotland sourced 100% of its electricity from wind power for a whole month. These are small but potent moves that can emerge as game changers.
But a change of any magnitude can’t be achieved alone. This is where communities come in. During our training, we were sensitised to work with communities and fellow Climate Reality Leaders from around the world. It was a humbling experience for me to see so many people of all ages and from different parts of the world coming together to solve this one, big challenge.
Today, I am proud to count myself as part of what Climate Reality calls, ‘a dynamic group of world-changers shaping the conversation on climate everywhere from family dinners to international summits and building a twenty-first-century movement for solutions.’
As a newly trained Climate Reality Leader, I am empowered, confident, and re-energised to take the road less travelled. I want to be the clear voice of climate change realities and solutions in the communities I am a part of. Like many other leaders who have been trained in this program, I want to actively participate in building and contributing to the regional and local chapters and mentor more people in order to help tackle climate change.
For those of you who are asking yourselves, can we change, and will we change? I say, yes, we are changing faster than ever before. Over 200 countries are committed to taking the actions outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement. More than 2,500 cities, states, colleges, universities, businesses, and investors have committed to the goals set in Paris. Even our own company, Wärtsilä is committed to renewables and green technologies in a big way. Our global initiative, ‘An Oceanic Awakening’ – focused on the radical transformation of the world’s marine and energy industry into one supremely efficient, ecologically sound and digitally connected ecosystem – is a case in point. As more and more commit to this change, we are making the earth a better place and changing history. Are you with us?