Our world is faced with one of its most extreme challenges yet, so Al Gore is preparing his ‘Truth Force Team’ for the road to Copenhagen. After three exhilarating days of training at The Climate Project, Asia-Pacific Summit, held in Melbourne, Intrepid’s Responsible Travel Manager, Jane Crouch reports…
“Intrepid Travel’s five sponsored trainees and I have emerged from an amazingly inspiring ‘incubator of learning’ from a fabulous range of teachers including the Honourable Al Gore, geneticist and environmentalist David Suzuki, eminent scientist Dr Graeme Pearman, Andrew Hewitt, Executive Director of OXFAM in Australia, Sharan Burrow, the President of the International Trade Union Confederation, Gaurav Gupta, Director of The Climate Project India, Agus Purnomo from Indonesia’s National Council on Climate Change and many more.
Al Gore referred to the concept of satyagraha as espoused by Gandhi – roughly translated to meaning ‘holding on to the truth’. So there we were, 300 delegates from 19 countries across the Asia Pacific region, there to be updated on the truth of climate science and solutions to this diabolical problem, and be empowered to go forth and share this knowledge in the coming months leading up to the December summit in Copenhagen. Here’s some of the impressions gained by the enthusiastic bunch of Intrepid’s sponsored trainees:
Penny Crossley from Flight Centre in Brisbane: “I started off feeling over-whelmed and undeserving to have a place amongst so many amazing people. But as the time passed I suddenly had this inspiring and motivating thought that they were once like me – they’re just further along this journey, and they were listening and genuinely interested in my ideas. I realised that what I do as an individual directly effects the tourist destinations I sell and that we have an incredible responsibility to protect our planet.”
Marita Manley from Fiji: “I’ve come away from this summit with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and with the tools and confidence to convey the message to others. The Pacific Islands will be at the forefront of climate change impacts and I am optimistic that we can get a good outcome for the Pacific and the planet at Copenhagen in December.”
“Ask not what your planet can do for you. Ask what you can do for your planet! Apologies for a little plagiarisation of Winston Churchill’s famous call to arms” writes Indira Naidoo of Sydney. “It’s been the most inspiring and stimulating experience of my life – a big call considering I haven’t led a dull sheltered life! It gives me hope that so many smart, rational and in some cases, unlikely folk, have all come to the same ominous conclusion, that if we can’t contain temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius, Planet Earth, as we know it is doomed. I came out optimistic though, that as Al Gore said, when you carry ‘truth force’ in your heart, climate activism is a privileged ‘joyous’ job. It’s the truth force that I will take with me and share with as many people as I can to ensure we can crack open the champagne after Copenhagen.”
Harley Spence from the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand: “At times what we saw was scary and overwhelming. But at this conference surrounded by people who were so inspiring, energetic and optimistic – I leave excited about our collective future and that I can be part of sharing this knowledge with others as a presenter of a Climate Project slide show. Thanks Intrepid Travel for this amazing experience.”
Aarti Bhalla, Intrepid leader and Responsible Travel Coordinator in India: “I feel greatly blessed and privileged to be a part of this global movement. A dream to meet Al Gore has come true – he’s my number two inspiration after Mahatma Gandhi, and he gave me some great reminders of our responsibility to our Mother Earth. For me, a new journey has now begun which unites me with The Climate Project and all its passionate members globally. Renewed with a new purpose to my life, I look forward to playing my role in India and feeling a deep sense of commitment to leaving a good legacy behind.”
Next week we’ll share some of the latest science that we learnt at The Climate Project Asia Pacific Summit.
If you would like to request a Climate Project presentation at your workplace or community group, in Australia, New Zealand, Pacific, SE Asia, India, North America, Spain or the UK, please contact: www.theclimateproject.org/ and they will link you with a presenter in the region.
* photo from left to right, Yvette Thompson (Intrepid), Jane Crouch (Intrepid), Harley Spence, Aarti Bhalla, Darrell Wade (Intrepid CEO), Penny Crossley, Marita Manley, Indira Naidoo.