Joe Galliani Selected As Climate Leader Just As Global Warming Reaches Tipping Points
After five years of studying, writing, advocating, volunteering, community organizing and now working professionally to try and make a positive difference on the issue of global warming – all in the face of relentlessly increasing world temperatures and rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions – I have reached the point of one last stand.
We may well be as doomed as doomed can be already – as I frequently tell my friends that we are, and the “Hell and High Water” may already have arrived earlier then even Joe Romm’s dire predictions, but I’m not quite ready to cash in my chips and give up the ghost. I can’t offer you any scientific hope to hang your sporty new fedora on, or any magic bullet news that might yet save the day, but I just don’t have it in me to piss on the fire and call in the dogs so I can go quietly into that good night.
Which is why I’ve accepted the Climate Reality Project’s invitation to spend three days in San Francisco next month and get trained by former Vice President Al Gore – and other climate leaders – on the updated “Inconvenient Truth” slide show presentation so that I can deliver it with knowledge and authority to any and all groups who will listen.
It takes a healthy ego and real Creative Greenius to believe anyone wants to listen, let alone think that change is still possible in time, but I’ve got enough of both to take time away from my 50-60 hour work week for CBS EcoMedia to wing my way to Baghdad By The Bay in August and join with fellow aspiring Climate Leaders for three days of studying, learning, fact finding and practice evangelizing.
The Climate Reality folks have set up a special Facebook page for the 1000 of us who have been selected from countries all around the warming world to share our thoughts, personal stories and enthusiastic expectations on, but I’ve been too busy working on funding environmental, education and wellness projects all across the USA for EcoMedia to have introduced myself and weighed in yet. Or maybe I have just yet to find my happy place and haven’t wanted to harsh anyone’s mellow.
When I decided to trade my advocacy pro bono work for the action work I now do at EcoMedia I knew my world was about to change but I wasn’t prepared for the top-to-bottom overhaul in store for me. I have shaken hands with the whirlwind.
I now travel across the country on a regular basis – when I’m not at my desk at our Manhattan Beach office – roll from one conference call to another on my iPhone, and wear a suit and tie to meetings and events.
In fact I’m writing this on my flight back to L.A. From Washington DC as I return from an LED lighting retrofit at the giraffe house in the Maryland Zoo, a project site visit to the waterways of Maryland’s oyster restoration efforts, and meetings with elected officials, nonprofit organizations and potential EcoMedia advertisers.
Tomorrow morning I’ll be in Long Beach, California for another project ribbon cutting at City Hall for their new sustainable edible gardens that Waste Management’s EcoAd is providing the financial support for.
Monday I’ll be flying up to San Francisco for a meeting with the California State Park Foundation to see how we might partner with them.
I have no excuse for my ugly and excessive flying carbon footprint and only the carbon offsets I purchase ease any of my guilt. But I’m not going to stop.
I have no illusions that what I’m doing is so important or vital that it makes up for the climate damage my flights are responsible for. But I am without a doubt doing the most I can possibly do, here on the precipice of climate calamity, to dive in and make a tangible and meaningful difference while I still can.
And in the process I have transformed my identity and have become someone else…
Instead of being known as Mr. Joe, the president of Mr. Joe’s Really Big Productions (as I’ve been for over two decades) or the Creative Greenius who writes the blog of the same name since 2007 and the Greenius Zone column for patch.com, or as the organizer of the South Bay 350 Climate Action Group, or a founding board member of the South Bay Bicycle Coalition, I’m now known as the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Outreach for CBS EcoMedia and I am their corporate employee. First staff job I’ve had since 1982.
And despite the fact that I work on environmental projects that seek to cut CO2 emissions, reduce energy use, and add renewable energy, ironically the one thing I never talk about on the job is climate change or global warming. The fossil fuel profiteers have poisoned that well and made it impossible to talk about the reality of what is happening right in front of our eyes. But that doesn’t stop me or my colleagues from working night and day to employ the EcoMedia business model to channel every dollar of advertiser money we can into project after project that address climate change and the impacts it causes.
If you know me (and if you don’t, you really should) then you know how hard it is for me to bite my tongue at every meeting I attend and curb my flying fingers with every press release and social media posting I write and ignore the overheated elephant in the room, but my role with EcoMedia calls for something else and I understand that.
Which is why I’m so seriously stoked to now be part of the Climate Reality Project and to get this chance to be equipped with the cold hard truth and become empowered to share it, defend it, and use it as a mighty hammer with which to pound a sense of urgency into the hearts and minds of anyone and everyone who needs to hear it.
Help is on the way, Al. We may be late but we’re coming without any fear, uncertainty or doubt. And we’re coming with our sleeves rolled up and ready to kick some ass.
Stay tuned for where this story goes from here…