Conference Spotlight: Donations make conference attendance possible
By Gianna Sollitto and Juliet Freiheit
“Conference scholarships are the surest way to ensure CCL remains truly grassroots.”
Donations to Citizens’ Climate empower everyday people to become the best climate activists they can be. We expand the knowledge and skills of our volunteers by offering regular trainings, workshops, conferences, and events. Our annual June International Conference convened in-person in Washington, D.C. for the first time in almost three years just a few weeks ago — this past June 11-13.
To ensure conference attendance is inclusive and accessible, Citizens’ Climate offers Diversity and Conservative scholarships. Scholarships are made possible — in large part — thanks to individual donations.
We caught up with June 2022 Conservative Scholarship recipient, Bruce Morlan, to learn more about his work with CCL, his experience at the conference, and the impact this scholarship had on his advocacy work.
What is your name and CCL chapter? In what capacity do you serve in your CCL chapter?
I’m Bruce W. Morlan, from the Northfield Chapter (Minnesota). I have helped make sure we have both a conservative and a progressive team co-chairing the chapter by championing this idea when our founding leaders moved out of state. I primarily work on social media, and write monthly op-eds for the local paper — with about 1 in 3 around the environment (including climate change).
What kind of scholarship did you receive?
I received a Conservative Scholarship from CCL and a stipend from my Chapter.
Did the scholarship make a difference in your ability to attend the conference? What impact did the scholarship have?
As I am retired, my income is limited. Receiving a scholarship helped make it possible for me to attend. As for the impact [of the scholarship], it made me feel appreciated for my efforts, and it helped create a strong need to “pay it back” by amplifying my already extensive commitment to this effort.
What did you enjoy about the conference? What was your favorite conference moment?
I co-chaired the Braver Angels Action Team workshop during the Conference’s Saturday sessions. My co-chair, Beth Malow (a Braver Angels Action Team moderator), and I pulled together three conservatives and three progressives to panel on how their background brought them to the cause of carbon fee and dividend (CF&D) that CCL champions.
My favorite moments included the plenary session on messaging (Nwandi Lawson and Amanda Ripley) and the session on nuclear power, which I used in our in-person lobby session and several writings since then.
What were your biggest takeaways from the conference?
A big takeaway for me was that we have good science behind our messaging: it warns against our gut-level instincts, especially showing fear-mongering is not effective.
What goals do you have for your climate advocacy work after the conference? I have goals to spread some of my ideas and perspectives through social media, op-eds, and by becoming an influencer (despite being an introvert). Additionally, I hope to help organize conservatives to take unified action on the 6-part Republican energy, climate, and conservation plan: getting past the “it ain’t happening” phase and customizing local LTE/op-eds to show how this plan can be helpful within specific congressional districts. I also have goals of continuing — with renewed energy — to use CCL’s Braver Angels Action Team to help ensure that CCL stays bipartisan and friendly to diverse mindsets, and united in a time that increasingly pushesfor division.
What would you say to someone who might be considering making a donation to support Citizens’ Climate conference scholarships?
Conference scholarships are the surest way to ensure CCL remains truly grassroots. A healthy scholarship program helps ensure the financial status of attendees is more of a wash when being at the table to be part of the conversation requires self-capitalization.
Citizens’ Climate is able to offer scholarships, like the one that helped make Bruce’s conference attendance possible, thanks to generous financial support from individuals. Consider making a donation to Citizens’ Climate to help sustain our conference scholarship program and other impactful grassroots advocacy initiatives.
Juliet Freiheit is the CCL Summer 2022 Communications Intern and a student at Trinity College. As an individual who is interested in environmental policy, Juliet is ecstatic to further her experience and impact by working with CCL.