Sunday, March 05, 2017

Preparing the Future for Our Students

We spend a lot of time in education circles talking about preparing our students for the future. And rightfully so (a large portion of this blog over the years has focused on exactly that). But I think it's important to also realize that we as educators need to be doing more to make sure the future is one our students can live, learn, and thrive in.

Most of you are probably aware that former Vice President Al Gore has devoted his post-elected-office life to addressing the issue of Climate Change. What you may not be as aware of is that he has an entire team of folks dedicated to helping him, and that that team is expanding all the time. I spent the last three days being trained as a Climate Reality Leader by Vice President Gore and the other amazing folks at the Climate Reality Project.

I was one of over 900 people from 32 countries that attended this training in Denver. We experienced three intense days, hearing from speakers including Al Gore himself (many, many times) and former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter (Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University), Dr. Henry Pollack and Dr. Kevin Trenberth (climate change science experts), Kevin Klein (director of Colorado's Homeland Security and Emergency Management) and Don Whittemore (former Incident Commander for the Rocky Mountain Interagency Incident Management Team), Leah Greenberg (one of the co-founders of Indivisible), Jules Kortenhorst (CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute), and many of the previously trained Climate Reality Leaders.

These presentations included the latest science of climate change (things are even worse than what was predicted), the current political climate (not great at the federal level, much better at the state and local level), and the road ahead (very optimistic, the solutions are available, we just need the will to implement them, and quickly). We got to see Vice President Gore present the latest version of his famous slide show - in fact, we got to see it twice. Once the long version (2+ hours), then the next day a shorter, approximately 60-minute version.

Now that I've completed the training, I'm officially a Climate Reality Leader (joining 11,700 others).

What exactly does that mean? Well, first and foremost, it means I can go out and give the presentation, which is where I need your help. If you're in Colorado, I would love to come speak to your "group", giving the presentation (can be modified for just about any length of time, although anything shorter than 20 minutes would be tough) and providing whatever resources you need to extend the conversation. (If you're not in Colorado, I can connect you with another Climate Reality Leader who can come present.) Your group can be just about anybody, including:
  • the teachers/staff at your school, your class(es), your school club, your entire school community
  • your church, mosque, synagogue or other religious institution
  • your book club, bowling team, softball team, etc.
  • your family or neighborhood
  • your civic organization
This list is not exhaustive, any group, of whatever size, that is interested, I'll come and present (no charge!).

Second, I'll be involved in organizing to influence citizens, policy makers, and office holders on what they can do to mitigate climate change and accelerate our transformation to a sustainable economy. This can include everything from smaller, individual/family acts (think anything from LED lights to solar panels) to convincing your school, business, city or community to become 100% Committed. In fact, I'm organizing a Douglas County group right now so, if you're in (or near) Douglas County and want to help, let me know.

Finally, I'll also help you get more involved if you'd like to. That might include joining me in the Denver March for Science on April 22nd (unless, of course, you'd rather go to the March in D.C.), the April 29th People's March for Climate in Denver (or D.C.), applying for a future Climate Reality Leadership Corps training yourself, or volunteering for any of the many fine organizations that are working to address these issues.

I know there are many, many issues that you could devote your time to, and I encourage you to do so. But I feel that this is truly an overarching issue for all of us, as it literally impacts every single person on the planet, and will have an impact on all the other issues that you care about as well. It's also an issue that's solvable, the amount of optimism in the room was incredible, because we have all the solutions we need, it's just a matter of how much damage is done before we implement them.

As Al Gore said near the end of our training (paraphrasing), "I suddenly realized, this problem isn't going to take care of itself. I'm going to have to get involved and do something." Please get involved and do something - let me know how I can help.


  1. Hi Karl ...

    I'm a Cub Scout leader in Texas. We talk a lot with our scouts about renewable energy and recycling. I was wondering if there is a version of this presentation (maybe with a lesson plan for a little guidance) that I could use with my scouts. If not ... I would love to use the original source material and create something age-appropriate to use with my pack. How would I go about finding that content?

    Thanks! Jason

    1. Hi Jason. Would it be okay to connect you with someone in your area who can give the presentation?

    2. Hi Karl -

      Sure thing ... I'm in Round Rock, Texas.


    3. Jason, can you send me some contact info via email karlfisch at gmail dot com.

    4. Jason, I found a link where you can request a presentation that will automatically notify trained presenters near you. Please let me know if that doesn't seem to work for you.

      Let me know if that doesn't work for you.

    5. Hi Karl - thanks much - I'll give the link a try. Jason

  2. Hi,

    Thank you for this information. Really it is a great work by you. I hope this presentation will helpful for the students for their bright future. I am also want to connect with you.