On March 12, former Councilmember Jeff Duclos will touch down in Johannesburg, South Africa for a two-day climate reality training session which will enable him to come home to Hermosa Beach a climate change leader.
“I’m interested in using the skills I’ve developed as a teacher, environmental activist and civic leader to figure out a way to maybe roll the ball along a little better in terms of the needs for us to take some action about climate change at the local level,” said Duclos, a Public Relations and Journalism professor at California State University Northridge as well as a professor though the UCLA extension program for over 17 years.
He will be attending The Climate Reality Project’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps, a foundation founded by former Vice President Al Gore and based on his 2006 climate change documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.”
“I think it’s an opportunity to become educated in a real way about something I’m strongly interested in and then to challenge taking that information and then effectively communicate it,” said Duclos. “I’m excited about it and it’s the direction I wanted to go in.”
Twice a year since 2007, a group of like-minded activists have come together from around the world at different locations to learn how to educate others about climate change from Gore and other speakers. Since beginning the program, 6,000 people from 100 countries have become trained Climate Reality Leaders.
“We know that we’re going to be affected by sea level rise, that’s for sure,” said Duclos. “And something we haven’t talked about is abrupt occurrences… Things we believe won’t be happening for decades may in fact happen in a period of years.”
While on the city council, Duclos spearheaded many pro-environment projects, including the banning of cigarettes and Styrofoam boxes.
“In terms of confronting this my frustration is just about the lack of resolve that exists on every level; city, state, nationally and internationally,” said Duclos. “We need to do things… We’re not exempt, and it’s just that we can’t wait for others to act in terms of policy, and we have to do what we can do at a local level.”
Local environmental activist Joe Galliani, a Climate Reality Leader, inspired Duclos to apply for the training because of his experience with the foundation.
“You get the very latest updates from climate scientists and learn how to put some climate reality out there,” Galliani said, adding that the two-day course teaches you how to rebut climate change disbelievers with scientific fact. “People can’t deny that climate change exists anymore. It’s impossible to deny.”
According to Duclos, the point of the seminar is to educate community leaders and teach them how to effectively educate and empower their communities.
“Jeff is a great candidate for this,” Galliani said. “This will give us Duclos unchained and unencumbered by the necessities of being ultra fair as a councilman. Now he can speak his mind about his feelings without worrying about the political ramifications.”
When he returns, Duclos hopes to spend more time focusing on the city’s Carbon Neutrality policy and help citizens and city officials take action to improve the quality of life in the city as well as protect the environment.
“It’s not just about my family, its about the future generations,” said Duclos. “It’s about what we leave behind. We want to leave what we have better. That’s another sort of motivation. [I] want to feel like I didn’t stand on the sidelines and that I tried to make the place better than I found it.”
Visit climaterealityproject.org for more information on the foundation.ER