Day 6 – Mar 4th

Last day of training. 😦

Today’s MC was Don Henry, the Director of the Australian branch of the Climate Reality Project. (Gotta love his accent!) Oddly, he’s a university professor in Australia, but they never refer to him as a Dr. I wonder if that means he doesn’t have a PhD, or if he just doesn’t like the title?

Saturday (which I had no idea it was Saturday, I completely lost track of the days) started with a presentation by Ken Berlin, the President and CEO of The Climate Reality Project. He talked about all the things that Climate Reality is doing and why. He also talked about the most important things they needed to concentrate on with the new US President. (Nov 8th — which was election day in the US — was constantly referred to by Americans at this program as the worst day of their lives.)

After Ken, Olena Alec came on stage and presented specifically about the Leadership Corps and how Climate Reality was there to support us with our work. She also introduced us to the Reality Hub.

After Olena, Al came back on stage and provided certificates to several people who worked for companies, universities or cities that had committed to 100% renewable energy by a certain date. Certificates went to Colorado State University, Moab, UT, Park City, UT, and Ski Butlers (which is a business in Park City). (It should also be noted that Salt Lake City, UT has already made this pledge.) We were told that in the 12+ months since this program was created, they’ve had over 30 participants take the pledge. I’d LOVE to see the U of A or Edmonton make such a pledge. I have to do some research because I know they have made pledges, I just can’t remember the numbers and if it was cutting emissions or renewable energy.

After the certificates were handed out, several of those who accepted certificates did a panel session where they talked about how and why they decided to make the commitment.

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After our morning break, Jules Kortenhorst, the CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute, gave a presentation. He presented mostly about renewable energy production and it’s impact on consumption and costs. It was an excellent presentation. He made a LOT of excellent points.

Once Jules was done, Al came back on stage and introduced four Climate Reality Leaders who had been trained at previous training sessions. They talked about why they wanted to become Climate Reality Leaders and how they started down the road of environmentalism. They also provided advice for us, the new batch of Climate Reality Leaders on what to expect and what to to worry about.

At lunch time we were to meet with our “partners.” Last night we were sent emails with the name and table # of another participant and asked to meet with them at lunch time. We were told that the purpose of such a partner was to have someone with which to talk to about what our plans were, etc. My partner, Bill from the Boston area, works for a solar company. We didn’t speak for that long (may 30-40 minutes). I have to remember to connect with him on Reality Hub.

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After lunch we had 2 more breakout sessions. The first one I attended was about water resource management. The presenter, Dr. Brad Udall, talked mainly about the south western part of the US, but did answer questions about other parts of the US. And while his area of focus was the US, the points he made were extremely interesting. For example, due to climate change, they’re no longer able to use the past as a means to forecast the future. Therefore, they cannot predict water supply. Plus, climate change has already made the US SW much drier and they’ve experienced much more drought (i.e. California). Did you know that 80% of the water in California is used by agriculture? That’s INSANE! In other words, humans have tried to grow things in certain areas that those things really should not be growing, so they’ve syphoned water from the rivers for irrigation. (There is a LOT of irrigation here in Colorado too.)

I didn’t know what I wanted to do for the third breakout session, so I went back to my table in the ballroom. Turns out that the breakout session in the ballroom, about US public lands, was far more interesting than I expected. While it was all about the US, it gave me some thoughts to research about in Canada. I can’t remember the stats off the top of my head, by the majority of coal mined in the US is from public lands. And public lands are doing the worst job at reducing carbon emissions.

3:30pm was the final wrap up speech from Ken Berlin, and then Al came back out at 3:45pm to give us some parting remarks. It was this last speech that was probably his most passionate of the 3 days. Once the speeches were over, we were each given our certificates and pins to signify we were Climate Reality Leaders.

The Canadian group got together for a quick update from our branch manager and then we did a quick group photo (our 2nd one, we did one yesterday too).

A lot of people had to go straight to the airport, and a lot of other people seemed to have really early flights on the 5th. I had planned to check out a couple shops I hadn’t been to yet, so I went back to the hotel and got my car.

First off, I texted Guest Services at the Hyatt and asked if I was able to “book” my car to be ready for 4:30pm. They told me yes and then told me that they had made such arrangements. But when I went down at 4:30pm, the valets had no idea what I was talking about. (Today I found out that they don’t do “reservations” for cars to be available because it’s usually really quick.) I was a wee bit peeved that I forgot to tip the valet who did go get my car. Whoops. But, as it turns out, they had moved my seat and mirrors quite a bit, so I wasn’t that impressed.

I went to the REI flagship store in Denver, which was a complete bust. And then I went to the LL Bean store in the area, which was also a bust. The LL Bean here is tiny, much smaller than the one near where I lived in Jersey. The mall where the LL Bean was also had a Cheesecake Factory, but parking was beyond insane, so I decided not to stop there for dinner. Instead I ordered a calzone when I got back to the hotel (which was awesome).

March 3rd Continued:

I completely forgot to mention that yesterday, March 3rd, I had a major problem with the wifi at the hotel. I decided to grab dinner at Pub 17, which is in lobby of the hotel. Since it was in the lobby, I brought my laptop down and assumed I’d be able to use it at my table. Technically, that should have been fine. But, I wasn’t able to log into the wifi system — on either my phone or my laptop. (The day before everything worked perfectly fine.) I texted Guest Services again and asked if there was a problem and they redirected me to tech support. I did call them, from my table while waiting for dinner, because I thought it would be a simple fix. Boy was I wrong. I was on the phone for over 20 minutes with tech support and they were NOT able to fix the problem. They wanted to keep going, but my dinner was already cold, so I said I’d have to call back. BUT, when I told the guy my dinner was getting cold, he didn’t seem to care and didn’t offer alternatives (like, “no worries, I’ll keep working on it at this end and I’ll call you back when I have an update”). I texted Guest Services back and told them what happened and said how annoying that whole problem was. I never got to do any work at my table while having dinner.

I guess Guest Services forwarded my comments or problems to the hotel’s guest experience department, because when I got back to my room, I had a message from a guest experience person. He left a message asking me to call him back, and I did. But no one answered, so I left a message. More than 24 hours later, I haven’t received a call back. Geez.

When I got back to my room, I called tech support again. Guess what? The guy who I spoke to for over 20 minutes from the restaurant, he never created a ticket for my problem and the new guy had to re-ask me everything! The new guy, thankfully, was a lot nicer and lot more competent. He did fix the problem, but it was via a workaround. They never did get the login problem fixed. I spent a total of 40 minutes on the phone on the night of the 3rd with tech support. So frustrating!

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