ISV Director trained by Vice President Al Gore as Climate Leader

by Narelle Webber on Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Rodne Galicha Speech

Rodne Galicha from the Philippines conveys the devastation caused by extreme weather events which grow more intense and frequent with Climate Change.

On behalf of ISV I recently attended the Climate Reality Leadership training program in Melbourne June 25-27, 2014 and was trained as a Climate Leader by Vice President Al Gore. Since then I’ve been thinking about how to take the mountains of inspiration I gained and how to channel this into the ISV Program.

The conference was incredible! Five hundred and twenty five concerned global citizens representing 32 different countries were in attendance. For three days we listened to the stories of people with profound personal experiences that have been impacted by Climate Change, including Rodne Galicha, a human rights and environmental activist from the Philippines who put into context the magnitude of super typhoon haiyan which killed 6,000 and displaced many thousands more. We also heard from after-hours nursing coordinator from Killmore Hospital in Victoria, Australia, whose personal story from the Black Saturday bushfires, the most severe in Australian history, moved every person in the room.

Vice President Al Gore explaining the impact of warming oceans on Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Vice President Al Gore explaining the concerning impact of warming oceans on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

We heard from climate scientific experts, and we connected with everyday people from our community including people from primary industries, corporate business, teachers, students, farmers, parents and others, who are all concerned about Climate Change and want to take some leadership. Vice President Al Gore impressively articulated the hard issues, but more importantly, the exciting solutions that are now at hand. The key message was one of hope. In terms of renewable energy, we already have the technology and it’s improving in its affordability every day – we just need the message to be heard and the urgency to be understood.

I went to the conference for a multitude of reasons. On a personal level, my son and his generation will inherit the planet that we leave them. I’d like to be part of a generation that did something to make a difference in mitigating Climate Change. The debate is out – 97% of all scientists agree that humans are directly contributing to this significant increase in global temperatures. Once you understand the facts you know that no matter where or how you live, in every way, from our food production, health, cost of living, the wars fought over oil, our access to potable water and more, are all impacted by global Climate Change. The more people that truly understand this, the more action we’ll see.

525 climate leaders from 32 countries from as far away as Africa joioned the conference, highlighting the global nature of this issue.

525 climate leaders from 32 countries from as far away as Africa joioned the conference, highlighting the global nature of this issue.

In our work with ISV, our staff feel a great sense of responsibility in terms of how they engage with students. We help facilitate a personal journey for every volunteer where they learn and reflect upon what it means to contribute to sustainable development. For the most part, while we talk about the principles of being sustainable, but we often don’t talk directly about Climate Change, and looking forward, that’s one element of change that I’m greatly anticipating in our programs.

Narelle Webber

ISV International Program Director

To learn more about ISV, our mission and our global achievements, please visit our website www.isvolunteers.org.

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