BLOG: Climate Reality Leaders connect in new CCL Action Team

brian ettling climate reality leader

Brian Ettling, a CCL volunteer and Climate Reality Leader, on Canada’s Parliament Hill

Climate Reality Leaders connect in new CCL Action Team

By Brian Ettling and Cathy Orlando

Cathy Orlando, CCL’s International Outreach Manager, and Brian Ettling, Portland Oregon volunteer, first met at the Climate Reality Project Training in Chicago, Ill. in August 2013. They immediately knew they wanted to organize together on climate change. They kept in contact by email and social media since that first meeting. Now, Brian and Cathy are proud to co-lead a CCL Action Team focused on CCL volunteers who, like themselves, are also Climate Reality Leaders.

The history of Climate Reality

Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning film about climate change, “An Inconvenient Truth,” was first released in the U.S. in May 2006. The film featured the former U.S. Vice President giving his presentation on climate change. To create greater awareness to reduce the threat of climate change, Gore decided he needed to train others to give his climate change talk. He first trained 50 volunteers at his Carthage, Tenn. farm in the summer of 2006. He founded the Climate Reality Project in November 2006, originally known as Alliance for Climate Protection.

Since 2006, Climate Reality Project has held 35 trainings to train more than 12,300 Climate Reality Leaders, from the ages of 7 to 87, from 137 countries, to give almost 24,000 climate change presentations across the world.

Climate Reality’s connection to CCL

Retired San Diego real estate developer Marshall Saunders was among some of the first groups of people to be trained by Al Gore. After he was trained as a Climate Leader, Marshall started give talks about global warming to service clubs, high schools, universities, and whoever else would listen. However, at the end of each talk, he felt that the solutions he offered were not a match for the problem. Individual solutions were great, but Congress needed to change public policy to address climate change. Thus, he founded Citizens’ Climate Lobby in 2007.

Cathy Orlando and Brian Ettling

Cathy Orlando and Brian Ettling

In 2008, Cathy Orlando of Sudbury, Ontario, attended her first Climate Reality Training in Montreal, Canada. Marshall and Cathy met at the Climate Reality Training in Nashville, Tennessee in June 2010. Marshall immediately recruited Cathy to become part of CCL, and Cathy has been a staff member since September 2011.

Brian Ettling originally became involved with Citizens’ Climate Lobby in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri in May 2012. He attended his first Climate Reality Training in San Francisco, Calif. in August 2012. Brian has always used the Climate Reality Corps Leadership Corps trainings as an opportunity to recruit volunteers for CCL. Since Brian’s first training in 2012, he has attended five additional Climate Reality trainings as a mentor in Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Colorado, and Washington.

Each year after they met at the 2013 Climate Reality Training, Cathy invited Brian to attend the Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada Lobby Day, held in Ottawa. Brian and his wife, Tanya, decided to attend the November 2016 CCL Canada Lobby Day. Even more, Cathy invited Brian to be a speaker at this conference to share his speech, “Hey North America! Let’s Win the Clean Energy Race.” This talk was initially aimed at Brian’s conservative St. Louis friends who were resisting climate action by pointing to China’s pollution.

The Climate Reality Corps Action Team

Last year, Brian and Cathy got the news that Climate Reality Project planned to hold a training in Denver, Colorado in March 2017. Cathy and Brian immediately decided to recruit as many CCL volunteers as they could to attend that training to recruit Climate Reality Leaders to get involved with Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

That was the moment they created Climate Reality Leadership Corps Action Team on the CCL Community website to organize CCL volunteers attending that training and form a group like themselves: folks who are involved with CCL who are also Climate Reality Leaders.

Our mission and goals

Our mission is to strengthen and foster the relationship between Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) and Climate Reality Project (CRP) volunteers and organizations. We will build empowering relationships among Climate Leaders who are also CCL volunteers in the USA, Canada, and across the world.

Our goals for 2018 are to meet, connect and prepare. We’ll meet as a collective twice a year on video conference calls so that we can get to know and empower each other as well as plan for 2018 and beyond. Our first call is on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. Your choices for joining us on Zoom are:

Time 1: 6 am PT / 9 am ET

Time 2: Noon PT / 3 pm ET

Time 3: 6 pm PT / 9 pm ET

Full details are in the CCL Community Action Team: Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

We will connect with each other in person at Citizens’ Climate Lobby Conferences and Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training. For CCL, this includes the June conference and November Congressional Education Day in Washington, D.C., all the regional conferences, the October 2018 Canadian National Conference and any other international CCL Conference, including the African Conference anticipated in June 2018. The first 2018 Climate Reality Leadership Corps training is in Mexico City, March 21-23.

Finally, we will prepare CCL members who are also Climate Reality Leaders to be able to respond when and if a member of the U.S. Congress proposes carbon pricing legislation.

How to connect

If you are a Climate Reality Leader and a Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteer, we hope you will join us to exchange ideas with folks who volunteer for both organizations in the CCL Action Team: Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

  • If you are a Climate Reality Leader looking to learn more about Citizens’ Climate Lobby, find a CCL chapter near you.
  • If you are involved with CCL but want to get trained as a Climate Reality Leader, apply for the Mexico City training happening March 21-23. Or keep an eye out on the Climate Reality website for announcements for future trainings.

We hope you will join this wonderful group of friends striving to be part of the solution to reduce the threat of climate change.

Now living with his wife in Portland Oregon, Brian Ettling first became involved with CCL in his hometown of St. Louis Missouri in 2012. That same year, he was trained as a Climate Reality Leader and Mentor.

Cathy Orlando is CCL’s International Outreach Manager. When she’s not safeguarding the climate alongside the best volunteers on the planet, you can probably find her stargazing, dancing, reading books not about climate change, hanging out with her husband Sanjiv, and mothering her three cherished daughters.