In a little less than a month, ecoAmerica will hold its annual flagship event, the American Climate Leadership Summit. The Summit is an opportunity for leaders from the worlds of business, health, faith, higher education, communities, government, culture, philanthropy, and climate science to engage with one another and learn from their peers, as well as from the nation’s leading environmental organizations.
Beyond that, the Summit is about creating and implementing a well-informed plan of action. Though similar to Climate Week, which focuses on networking and rolling out new multi-sector initiatives, the American Climate Leadership Summit is a bit more like the UNFCC’s COP talks — a forum for hammering out an agenda attendees pursue going forward. Each year’s event has its own distinct theme, but builds on the work of the previous one. The Summit culminates in a Recommendations Report summarizing the key opportunities identified within and across sectors for boosting our impact as climate leaders.
Top 5 Strategies
The 2016 Summit’s theme was Climate Solutions. Morning sessions featured talks by government leaders, scientists, and environmental groups who shared ideas on what we need to do to safeguard our future and better engage citizens and our representatives on climate solutions — including communicating the benefits of action. In the afternoon sessions, CEOs from faith, health, business, and local communities identified strategies for boosting public interest in climate change.
The collaborative talks resulted in a set of “top 5” cross-sector opportunities for climate action. Participants committed to:
Share personal stories. Personal stories put a human face on climate change and make it more relevant. We need to lead by example and invite people to engage directly in sustainability efforts and climate actions.
Think local. Local wins built on local action by local leaders build momentum, demonstrate success, and dispel community concerns about change. We must advocate for local clean-energy policies and create high-quality public green spaces to help people appreciate the outdoors.
Make climate inclusive. We should work with the business, agricultural, and healthcare sectors to build silo-busting regional collaborations and partnerships. We also need to involve youth and people of color, communicate that climate action is patriotic, and emphasize the economic benefits of sustainability.
Put a price on carbon. Putting a price on fossil fuels is the best way to drive down demand for them. We need to elect leaders committed to passing a carbon tax or similar mechanism.
Mobilize voters. We need to exercise political will to win elections and build a block of climate voters that will not accept “no” for an answer. We must ask people to take action and talk to their legislators.
Taking Up the Mantle
The theme of this year’s Summit is Taking Up the Mantle. Participating leaders will do just that, brainstorming ways to speed powerful climate action in the absence of federal government leadership. Learn more about the agenda and meet some of the speakers at the 2017 event, then request an invitation to register today!
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