While much of the attention given to Toronto this week will revolve around the beginning of the 17th Pan Am Games, it by no means is the only significant international gathering taking place.
In addition to some of the best amateur athletes from the Americas, Toronto will also play host this week to hundreds of citizens from North America and beyond, all of whom care deeply about the environment and sustainability. Each will participate in the 2nd ever Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps training session in Canada. This means they will learn how to inspire others to join the global movement towards climate change directly from former U.S. Vice President, and founder and Chairman of The Climate Reality Project (TCRP), Mr. Al Gore.
The premise of TCRP is simple. Following the success of An Inconvenient Truth, which profiled Mr. Gore delivering his famous slide deck on climate change, he decided to train other people to give a version of the same talk. Since the first training held on his Tennessee farm in 2007, dozens of other sessions have taken place around the world. To date, close to 2,000 people in more than 120 countries have been trained.
I was part of the first 225 people to participate in the Canadian training when Mr. Gore came to Montreal with Mr. David Suzuki. Since then, I have given about 150 presentations to more than 30,000 Canadians across three provinces, including one to TELUS in 2012. Canadians have also been trained at other events around the world since 2008 and together we have spoken to more than 600,000 Canadians about the reality of climate change.
This week, I am participating in my fourth training session joining new volunteer presenters being taught by Mr. Gore about the current realities of our fight against climate change. My sense is that the prevailing current message will be that a prosperous economy and a sustainable environment are no longer opposites of each other, but rather perfectly aligned and harmonious partners.
More so than ever before, Canadians need to realize that sustainable practices are also solid economic drivers and involve good business principles. Innovation and opportunity are hallmarks of good business acumen and they are also key tenants for a healthy and sustainable environment as well. TELUS is at the forefront of this realization as is seen in their recent Sustainability Report, as well as through other initiatives like the urban community garden project in Toronto which I had the chance to cover last year.
Perhaps the largest impediment towards the development of a truly sustainable society and economy is that of mindset. Through the efforts of TCRP and organizations like TELUS, my hope is that an attitude change will do much to prevent the negative and potentially disastrous onslaught of climate change. Sign up here to become an agent of change and follow the discussion on the climate change on Twitter @ClimateReality using #CRinCanada.