Sunday, 20 September 2015


Nan is a one-to-one math instructor in San Francisco, California. She has a Masters of Arts in Education from Stanford University. In addition to tackling the threat of climate change, Nan has been active in various movements through her life, protesting the nuclear arms race, neighbourhood gun violence, and supporting public schools, energy conservation and solar power.
I learned about activism at a young age. My mother was in the women's liberation movement in the 60s and 70s. I went to a women's conference with her in 6th grade. I think my first public action I participated in was a United Farm Workers picket at an A&P grocery store when I was about 13. 
I also remember the first Earth Day. I lived in a small town in New Jersey. I remember a bunch of people got together and cleaned up trash by the side of the road. 
As a teenager, I went to anti-nuclear and other rallies.
My biggest activism was in college related to the nuclear arms race. 
When I was in Oberlin College in 1980 or 1981, Ronald Reagan was talking about using nuclear weapons in a first strike. The cold war was really strong and it seemed as if the leaders were throwing around the actual use of these weapons in a dangerous way. 
I recall that some religious speakers came to my college and talked about the threat of nuclear war in a way that felt urgent and spiritually imperative. 
I was practicing Quakerism at the time. (I had gone to a Quaker high school). I felt as if my inner light was telling me that I had to work on this issue. 
Several of us organized a "Reverse the Arms Race" Conference at our college, and also did community outreach in Ohio near our college related to the nuclear arms threat. 
I did my own outreach as a Winter Term project in rural North Western Pennsylvania in the area where my mother lived. 
But I did get a bit doubtful about the effectiveness of political action while I was still in college. I got involved in some "human potential movement" work later in my college years. 
This was about the transformation of individuals and groups. I took courses about how to create breakthroughs, how to make a difference, how to empower other people. 
I guess I felt as if a lot of political work seemed to be sort of ritualistic and routine, and not getting to the most essential levels of change. 
Eventually I rebelled against the idea that I was supposed to devote my life to making a difference. I became focused on personal fulfillment and on how to have a successful romantic relationship. I think I "dropped out of society" in frustration with the conservative politics of the 1980s. 
Also, I am bisexual so there was an element of figuring out how to fully express myself with regard to my sexuality. 
Things changed a bit when I had my son. After a few years, we were living a bit more conventionally and I expressed activism by supporting public schools. 
Our schools were not that good and supporting the schools helped my own son but also a diverse group of children from all backgrounds.  
As regards climate change, my direct sense of urgency about the issue happened when I saw Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". 
I completely got the message. I was emotionally moved and felt the same urgency that I had felt back when the Arms Race was the concern. 
I took people to see the film. I sent people copies of the DVD. 
My husband and I got focused on green building. He is a carpenter and general contractor. 
I took courses about solar. We put solar PV and hot water on our house. I went to lectures about energy conservation and climate change and similar matters. 
I applied for jobs in the solar industry but before I got one, I took a job doing outreach for my son's school, and got focused on the world of education instead. I had also been studying math and science and I decided to pursue becoming a math teacher.
I had graduated from Oberlin College in 1984 with a major in Religion. I went back to school starting in 2001 at our local community college. I studied math, chemistry, and physics. 
I did take a couple of short classes in ecology as well, about native plants for habitat restoration, and the ecology of the San Francisco bay. 
I earned my Masters Degree in Math Education from Stanford University in 2010. I got my math teacher's credential as well. 
I had applied to become a Climate Reality leader early on, maybe 2007 or 2008. But they didn't accept me then. 
Somewhere during the 2000s my activism was focused very locally, on trying to stop gun violence in our city. 
I live in a historically black neighbourhood, which has had a lot of problems with gun violence. We still hear gunshots from time to time but it was a lot worse when I moved here in 2001. A group called ACORN organized people here to work on this issue and I got involved. 
In January of this year one of my son's friends, about 19 years old, was shot and killed.

It was really terrible. He was an African American young man who had been coming over to our house since he was about 12. He was shot with three other young men. He was on a break from his job in a restaurant. 
I was very sad and shaken up, and found it hard to work. So I decided to see my psychologist. I have one I saw before and check in with every once in a while. 
While I was talking with her about the grief related to this young man, I also told her that I was worried about climate change. 
From talking with her, I decided to apply again for the Climate Reality Leaders Training in Toronto [July, 2015]. This time I was accepted. 
In February of 2015, I went to the March for Real Climate Leadership in Oakland, CA. I met these nice, friendly, women and marched with them. They were from Unitarian Universalist Churches. I have been involved with these churches before. 
Talking with one of them was when it occurred to me that I could contribute my curriculum writing abilities to the climate movement; that I could create curriculum on climate change that meets the academic standards teachers need to teach in math and other subjects. 
I am working on this now. I am creating a workshop on teaching climate change and connecting it to the standards, which I will be leading at the Teachers 4 Social Justice Conference in October.  
I am pretty emotionally based with activism. I need to feel connected with others. I also need to believe that my actions are going to lead to something constructive. I need to visualize the outcome. 
Right now, the way I am trying to get myself active is to find people to partner with on the issue of climate change. 
I think that is the power of our involvement, just naturally sharing with people about what we’re doing and what’s going on. Increasing the conversation everywhere about climate change. The authentic connections between people are our strength. And that is the antidote to the big money obfuscation of climate issues.

Saturday, 12 September 2015



Adam is a full time accountant in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He also has a part time business in income tax preparation. A graduate of the University of Winnipeg, he is currently taking an online program on Renewable Energy through the University of Toronto, with the intention of becoming a sustainability consultant. He has written for green tech blogs and about renewable energy. He also has his own blog site:

After seeing what happened with Hurricane Katrina (in 2005) and watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (in 2006), it made me think about what we actually are doing to the earth. I think they were the main turning points for me to become an advocate on environmental issues.

Al Gore’s documentary put a lot of things into perspective. An idea that was once considered science fiction (climate change) now is slowly happening.

To me, become an advocate was not an overnight thing. Although I always supported green issues, I think it was a long process.

I guess first thing was that I decided not to buy a car. Cars are expensive and as a modest person, I get around by bus and bicycle. So I am happy with it. This was a choice that I made a while back, before university.

I bike or walk or use public transit to get around. In term of public transit in Winnipeg, while there have been some improvements, lots of work could be done, including adding more routes, expanding rapid transit, and providing better information to riders.

Public transit is one of the issues I care about.

I’m also interested in green tech issues.

I became interested in tech issues, and environmental economics, while attending the University of Winnipeg from 2008-2011.

I took courses on the environment, energy and natural resources economics.

I’m eager to see what’s possible, how far technology can go in pushing us towards sustainable development.  

I’m interested in how clean tech is changing the dynamics of energy, similar in a lot of ways to how information technology transformed everything.

I work full time as an accountant, and own a part time business, which involves preparing income taxes.

Currently, I am doing a professional development online program from the University of Toronto in renewable energy. I eventually would like to be a sustainability consultant.

I have written for a few clean tech websites, including CleanTechnica, and Solar Love, which allowed me to showcase my interest in renewable energy.

I find with environmental issues, it’s a re-commitment I keep doing. I do have moments of discouragement, and frustration.

But I just keep ploughing through.

It’s kind of like sports athletes who get frustrated at times when nothing goes right, but they often reload. Those athletes who overcome adversity are my favourites.

This is why I watch a lot of sports and play video games and cycle: to relieve frustration.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015


Karen Gabriela is a university student in Mexico City, Mexico. Her undergraduate thesis is on the capture of CO2. She has also founded an organization, Respira Verde, which has the purpose of educating children and teenagers about environmental problems. 

I became an environmentalist in 1999, when I was 6 years old, or maybe before...

I grew up in Mexico City, with the Discovery Channel, and in my country, the Discovery Channel and Discovery Channel for Kids broadcasted environmental documentaries most of the time. They were fascinating. They really made a statement on me. They made me realize that the biggest challenge for us were the environmental problems.

Even as a little girl, I understood that life, as I knew it at that time, wasn't going to be the life I would experience in my adulthood. And that made me really angry, frustrated and frightened. I wondered: Why am I going to pay the price of my elders' mistakes? Why weren't they more conscious? Why couldn't they be more intelligent? Why does my generation have to fix this? And why do other species have to pay the price of human blindness?

That last question was really the one that made me want to do something different.  Because maybe humanity won't change until they hit the bottom, but that isn't a valid reason to let other species experience the consequences of our faults. It isn't fair. So, I had to do something.

I tried to sign up in movements like Greenpeace, WWF, PETA, but as a teenager you can't do much in those organizations. I also became a vegetarian at 14 with all my family against me. I really didn't know what else to do besides that.

I thought that the environment should have been at the top of everyone's list.

More than a decade ago, so many documentaries on the Discovery Channel mentioned that global warming (because by then they just called it global warming, not climate change) was a lost battle, that there was nothing we could do about it (they blamed the disinterest of people, and inefficient global policies, etc.)

I thought different. I thought that there had to be something else, something unexplored. So I chose Chemistry as my way to solve the problem.

Now, I study Chemistry and my undergraduate thesis is about the capture of CO2.

I also have an organization founded in August 2014, which has the purpose of educating children and teenagers about environmental problems. The goals of the organization are to put environmental education at everyone's reach, to have a really good educational level, to create a sensibility in the future generations about our present environmental issues and how their actions have a direct impact in their surroundings.

Eventually, we would love to educate policy makers and companies.  To sum it up: we want to be the best organization of environmental education in Mexico! I think we have had a big impact on the audiences we had reached so far. Kids are really receptive to this kind of information, and we teach them with science experiments and demonstrations that they totally love. So, I guess we're going in the right way.

The name of my organization is Respira Verde: