2022 marked my first American Climate Leadership Summit—and I joined in online with all the fervor and excitement of a fifth-grader on her way to the first day of school. Watch all the sessions on-demand HERE.
After spending the past month inviting partners and colleagues, preparing for sessions, and assisting with the ongoing planning work, I was determined to be fully present for as many sessions as possible. Past summits included elected officials, climate and community leaders, and nonprofit organizations, and this event offered an incredibly diverse and exciting lineup of climate leaders from all over the United States, their projects, and initiatives—a sign that momentum is building in the right direction for climate solutions. So what have I learned?
We have the power to influence others in our communities.
Influence can lead to sustainable climate solutions in our communities.
We started day one by fueling up on inspiration. The first panel featured our very own Meighen Speiser, the Executive Director of ecoAmerica, and three dynamic leaders: Sistah Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Kate Meis Wright, and V. Fan Tait. The takeaway? In addition to my feeling that I could beat the climate crisis with nothing more than my bare hands, strength, and willpower, I learned that we each have the power to influence others, and that influence can lead to sustainable climate solutions in our communities.
If we don’t work with elected officials to shape policy, policy will shape us.
Climate Justice is the first step toward solving inequities in vulnerable communities.
We must have the right tools, resources, and support to catalyze community action.
The Catalyzing Climate Justice session taught me that it is a well-documented fact that communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by polluting industries and climate change. Inviting people to the fight with the right tools, resources, and support can lead to sustainable climate adaptation and mitigation projects, creating better places to live and work and reducing climate impact.
We need to understand how climate matters to us, and we need to understand what climate solutions look like in our communities.
the importance of engaging people in our communities and congregations in the climate discussion. I learned that we need to talk about climate change with every person, every day. Talk about what real solutions look like and what we can do as individuals to communicate effectively about the climate crisis. My favorite takeaway is the idea of talking about climate with your hands and heart, and connecting with others through common interests, and then connecting those interests back to the overarching issue of climate change.
We can’t tackle this one project at a time.
It is imperative that we act quickly and together to confront the climate crisis.
Our best resources: Our young people.
The summit taught me that it is possible to combat climate change, enhance communities, and create jobs at the same time. As we do our work, we must build climate justice and equity into the solutions. The communities hardest hit by climate change are also the ones hurt by wealth and gender inequality, toxic air pollution, and other factors. As climate leaders we have an opportunity to ensure that investments and workforce development and federally sponsored projects find their way into the communities that need it most.
It is time to act and plenty of reasons for hope.
What an amazing experience. It’s the right time and the right message to get the word out on climate change solutions. The closing keynote and prayer was empowering, specifically the story of “What is in your hand?” What do we do with the knowledge we’ve been given? How do we use it? Justice. Righteousness. No excuses. This is our moment, this is our time. We must move forward.
Find these talks and more from the 2022 American Climate Leadership Summit here:
American Climate Leadership Summit 2022 – Complete 4-Day Listing
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