Mountain West Welcomed 185 To A Wonderful Regional Conference
By Susan Ludwig
On September 28 and 29, CCL’s Mountain West region came together for a great conference on the University of Colorado campus in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. Volunteers from across the region participated in skill building workshops and welcomed speakers on agriculture, water, economics, progressive advocacy, conservative views, the youth climate movement and more.
Local officials helped kick off the conference Friday evening, while volunteers reconnected with friends or made new ones. Much of the rest of the conference went by in an orderly rush. The agenda included a Saturday morning Climate Advocate Training for 60 people, including college students that drove all the way from Arizona to attend. Another 125 participants attended other sessions. Saturday finished with humorist Cragi Zablocki getting the group to laugh and reflect on how to take our work seriously, but not ourselves.
The managing director of the Rocky Mountain Institute, James Newcomb, delivered a keynote and focused on global energy transition pathways, saying, “We make a road by walking." He discussed infrastructure hurdles that need to be surmounted and provided a range of pathways, including carbon pricing references. Later in the day, the Zoom-based plenary by Dr. Danny Richter, CCL’s VP of Government Affairs, provided invaluable insights. Dr. Richter was, according to one volunteer, ”tremendously helpful, knowledgeable, clear, and upbeat.”
As difficult as the global public health effects of climate change can be to hear, the plenary session by Dr. Cecilia Sorensen was useful, painful, and absolutely necessary. Her data was recent and personally experienced, and she was an example of high personal commitment to climate action for many in the audience.
Sunday’s programming offered a Business Climate Leaders panel, from which participants gained insights into how to approach business leaders to build political will to pass the Energy Innovation Act. Then, a bipartisan youth climate panel provided insights on youth leaders actively committed to getting past the partisanship that exists elsewhere. The conference ended with Mark Reynolds’ reflections, which were perfectly attuned to the need for a recognition of the emotional impact of climate change while remaining positive and open-hearted.
Also at the end of the conference, regional coordinator Bill Barron announced that the Wild West region is now known as the Mountain West region. "It was exciting to announce the new name for our region,” Bill said. “This change has been in the process for a number of months after discussions with leaders throughout the region to create a more professional name as we continue to grow. Our goals remain the same: to activate all our levers of political will knowing that different levers work better in different areas while building on the incredible successes we have seen in our region already."
Conference organizers felt they achieved the goal of the conference, which was to impart optimism and share narratives of innovations and success. Volunteers reported they went away with a greater understanding of their future direction in climate advocacy.
Susan Ludwig is a co-coordinator for the state of Colorado. More CCL regional conferences are scheduled through the rest of 2019 and early 2020. Find your regional conference on this list, and plan to attend!