Day 4 – Mar 2nd

Wow … today was the first day of training, and it was awesome!

I must have had the same thought as many folks, because I didn’t arrive at the Convention Centre until about 9:30am. There was a big line to register, but it went very quickly. Once registered, I received my training book, name badge, and table assignment.

I’m at Table 12. Five of the tables, including tables 11 and 12, are all Canadians. My table has mostly folks from Montreal, but there is a gentleman from Calgary and another student from the U of Alberta.

Even though the training started at 10:30am and ended at 6pm, it felt much longer. Not because it was boring, but because there was so much to take in.

The day started with remarks from Ken Berlin, who is the President & CEO of The Climate Reality Project. Then Al Gore spoke for 30 minutes. Then the former governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter, gave the keynote address. Then, just before lunch a former Climate Reality Leader told us about herself and we did a table-based icebreaker.

Lunch was provided and we sat at our tables and chatted with the folks who run The Climate Reality Project in Canada. I learned that there are only a little over 800 Climate Reality Leaders in Canada at the moment, but only around 600 are active, and not very many are from Alberta.

After lunch, Al Gore presented his “The Climate Crisis and Its Solutions.” This is the presentation he’s known for, and the presentation that The Inconvenient Truth (book and movie) were based on. He changes it up every now and again, and adds new and updated data when it becomes available. It’s really a powerful presentation and he’s really good at making it.

After Al’s presentation, we had 30 minutes to chat at our tables and come up with 1 question that would be forwarded to Al and the climate scientists at the conference to be answered tomorrow. Somehow it was my question that ended up being the one chosen for the table.

We then had an afternoon break and then Al lead a panel discussion with 3 folks who are on the front lines of climate change in Colorado. Kevin Klein, the Director of the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management; Hilda Nucete, the Protegete Program Director for Conservation Colorado; and Don Whittemore, the former Incident Commander for the Rocky Mountain Interagency Incident Management Team. Obviously they talked about Colorado-focused stuff, but it was very interesting to hear them speak about specific issues they’ve faced in ‘real life.’

The final speaker of the day was a woman who co-wrote Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda. Unfortunately, I had never heard of her or this guide before she was introduced, but the Americans sure had heard of her and her guide. I have to admit that this was the most US-centric presentation today, and it made me (as a Canadian) feel a little left out. While I understand she was there to talk about the Trump Administration, she talked about it from the perspective of what Americans can do to become engaged in civil issues. I wish she had changed it up slightly and spoke more generally about her action ideas.

The final presentation of the day was a hip-hop performance by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Isa Caress (who are siblings). Xiuhtezcatl is the Youth Director for Earth Guardians and is very passionate about climate change. For a 17-year-old, he’s very well-spoken. I didn’t know anything about him either, but others did. He and his sister are excellent performers.

Once the day was done, I headed to Chili’s on 16th Street for take-out. Wow, the US Chili’s menu is a LOT different than the Canadian Chili’s menu! It has all the same stuff as the Canadian Chili’s, but with a lot more stuff available. I ended up ordering a Cajun Shrimp Pasta, which they do not sell in Canada. It was very good! I also ordered the chips and salsa, which are the same as in Canada. The prices were also very different — much cheaper. And not just because of the exchange rate, but overall.

I was tired, still am, but I’m also wired! I really should try to go to sleep soon as I have to get up much earlier tomorrow than today. Tomorrow I have to remember to stop for a coffee on the way to the Convention Centre. While they do serve coffee there, it’s not that good and the cups are so small. I would bring my travel mug with me, but it’s in my car and I’d have to get a valet to get it or bring my car up and that seems like too much work for a travel mug! I’ll pop into Starbucks tomorrow on my way to the Convention Centre.

The temperature today was crazy, double digits in Celsius. Much too warm for a coat, even once the sun went down.

Walking around downtown Denver was nice, but there were an awful lot of homeless people. Considering the overall population of the city, there were more than I expected.

I was too tired today to go out after the training, but I will on Saturday. Training on Saturday ends a lot earlier than today. I really want to go to LL Bean and the Cheesecake Factory. An LL Bean and a Cheesecake Factory are located at the same mall!

Denver is also the location of the flagship REI store. I think I have to check that out too. It appears to be somewhat downtown, or just outside of downtown.

If I do all that on Saturday, I’ll only have to get the car out once. Sunday is the optional training program I signed up for, but I can’t remember what time it ends. Sunday night I need to plan my route home and pack up all my stuff. I’ll need a porter again on Monday to take everything back down to my car!

Why am I thinking that far ahead? I need to just enjoy the present, the future is too far away to worry about now.

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