A Time to Give Thanks

By Jennifer Roberts

It is a month of Thanksgiving. In the realm of climate action, that means we need to acknowledge that a number of America’s cities are doing great work in stepping up to the plate on climate action.  We are thankful that cities are moving forward, and are changing the way they grow and build, in order to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and leave the air and water cleaner for their residents. And they are doing this in spite of the federal government’s steps backwards in protecting the climate and the air we breathe.


For me it has been a month of presentations to people all across the country – literally from Sacramento to Charlotte – who are eager to “step up” their advocacy and engagement on climate solutions.  I am grateful for their motivation, their attention, and their focus.  In a training I joined in Salt Lake City with our Climate for Health program, I was grateful for the local expertise that our partners brought with them.  We co-presented with Utah Clean Energy and Salt Lake County Health Department.  Our partners added locally relevant material to ensure that the professionals in the room would have the latest and most salient information to empower them in their ongoing climate advocacy in Utah. I am grateful for the work of all our Path to Positive and ecoAmerica partners.

I am thankful that dozens of CivicSpark fellows – part of Americorps — in California are working in offices of sustainability around that state to help move local communities forward.  They were an attentive audience for over three hours as our ecoAmerica team trained them on climate communications and engagement.  As I walked to the meeting in Sacramento, I could feel the smoke in the air, blown in from wildfires miles away.  Everyone in the meeting had examples of current and local impacts that are affecting California families, farmers, and urban residents.

One of these young people had a brilliant idea after we finished the Path to Positive training.  She listened attentively to our guidance on engaging people who are uncertain about climate change.  She was so inspired and empowered by our guidance that she made a pledge to engage her family around the Thanksgiving dinner table about climate change! Our partners in Los Angeles at Climate Resolve had some fun, and hired actors to play out what this might actually look like around the dinner table – you can watch them on YouTube here.

This season does offer a great opportunity.  We know there are people in our families or circle of friends who have not focused on climate action, who are not sure they can do anything about it, and may not have talked about it very much.  We can have this conversation with our loved ones. If we care about their future and are committed to building public support for climate solutions, we owe it to them to address it. In this season of giving thanks, I encourage you to have that conversation. This is exactly the way that we can all help grow public support and political will for climate advocacy and action. And our children, and our children’s children, will be thankful for our doing so.


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