Des Moines CCL conference lifts spirits after election

By Jan Franck 

After weeks of watching opposing candidates in the mid-term elections savage each other’s motives, character, and reputation, I was pretty sure no matter who won the election, we were all going to hell in a hand basket.  Climate change was rolling down hill at breakneck speed, and there was zero likelihood that any of these flawed politicians could or would act to save us.

CCLconf iowaThen I attended the Great North Wind Regional Conference for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby in Des Moines, and found hope.

I found hope from Executive Director Mark Reynolds.  Iowa climate advocates can shape the discussion in the presidential election by peppering presidential hopefuls with climate questions to assure the issue is talked about by every campaign.

I found hope from climate scientist, Katharine Hayhoe.   I don’t have to be an expert to share my concerns with people who share my values and interests.  She offered a template for giving a simple, effective presentation.  It’s not as scary when you’re talking to people who value what you value.

I found hope from an agriculture panel.  Iowa farmers can become climate heroes by changing their farming practices to capture CO2 and mitigate the rate of change.  Those same practices lead to cleaner water, richer soil, and better crop outcomes.

I found hope in a media workshop.  I leaned how to share my concerns effectively with newspapers and keep the issue before the public in my state.

Hayhoe in Iowa

And most importantly, I learned that those savaged politicians are really just people like me, who struggle to do the right thing in a very difficult political situation.  Treating them with respect, patience, and understanding WILL be effective.  Becoming an ally instead of persecutor will lead to policy changes as surely as water wears away rock.

The conference was empowering, energizing and a cure for the malaise that had soured my soul.

Jan Franck is a first year volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Originally posted on Nov. 14, 2014