Ten years can pass in a blink of an eye.
And what a decade it has been since the inception of C-Change Conversations in 2014. These last 10 years are chockablock with memories, a kaleidoscope of presentations, Zooms, shared meals, handshakes – but most of all, people. From Seattle to Rhode Island, Minneapolis to New Orleans, Florida to New Jersey, and everywhere we’ve been in between, we have met the most amazing people – all of you. You were (and still are) willing to discuss the tough and unwelcome message that climate change poses a real danger to all of us and that it is a human issue, not a partisan one. You swam against the local currents, sponsoring our nonpartisan message to groups that often didn’t want to listen, and helped change perceptions and conversations around the issue in your hometowns.
For your courage, friendship, can-do attitudes, and partnership, we are so thankful.
Our team is also grateful to the audience members who have recommended us to others, allowing us to reach more than 18,000 people in 32 states simply on the power of word-of-mouth endorsements. We are gratified by the many scientists and energy policy experts who heard our presentations and joined our group as expert advisors. We couldn’t do it without all of this support and commitment to making our world a safer place.
There is so much more work to do. But today, at the beginning of our 10th anniversary year, we treasure where we have come from and who helped us get here.
With deep gratitude,
Kathleen and the C-Change Conversations Team
C-Change Attends UN Climate Change Conference
for the first time.
It was a huge opportunity and privilege for Kathleen Biggins and Carrie Dyckman to represent C-Change in December at the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai. They joined a delegation from the Climate & Health Foundation, which works to empower doctors and medical professionals to address the nexus between climate and health.
Being together with more than 80,000 climate-conscious individuals working diligently for climate solutions – both in their own countries and for the world – was inspiring and exhilarating. Both Kathleen and Carrie felt that while the outcomes of the summit fell short of establishing a clear path to limiting warming to 1.5°C, the agreements made are sure to propel momentum in clean technology and the reduction of emissions, both in the United States and across the globe. For more reflections, please read the December 2023 Curated Climate News and COP28 blogs at the C-Change website.
Upon their return, in response to enthusiastic local interest in learning about what they experienced in Dubai, Carrie and Kathleen gave a recap talk in Princeton on Jan. 4 to about 60 people. They shared their most important takeaways from COP28 on the state of climate action around the world and how important it is for C-Change to continue to reach new audiences. Kathleen will host a Zoom presentation on COP28 insights on January 30: details and registration may be found here.
Climate Change and Insurance: Presentation with
CBIZ Borden Perlman
C-Change is always looking for new ways to reach audiences, so we were thrilled to partner with CBIZ Borden Perlman for a Nov. 2 presentation, “Righting the Ship: Insurance in a Climate Changed World,” at the Nassau Club in Princeton, N.J. Climate-exacerbated floods, wildfires, heatwaves, and rising sea levels are threatening our properties and security. Insurance is an important tool to build resilience to these threats. Kathleen and Chubb Vice President Steven Fischl joined forces in front of an audience of about 60 people to discuss the reality of the changing climate, how the insurance industry is evolving to face these climate threats, and how to protect your assets.
Global Primer Presentation for Rotary International
As part of its “Protecting the Environment” focus area, Rotary International asked Kathleen to present the Primer to the Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group on Nov. 15. The virtual presentation was viewed by 42 Rotarians from around the world, and Rotary International hopes to sponsor more Primer presentations in 2024.
Talking with Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars
Kathleen presented the Primer to the Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS) at Princeton University on Nov. 15. Administered by the High Meadows Environmental Institute, PECS brings together a select interdisciplinary group of Princeton PhD students with research expertise ranging from climate science and energy policy to environmental humanities. Kathleen was thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss climate change with this science-savvy group. As Kathleen noted, their inquisitiveness and analytical skills were on full display, and the Q&A one of the most challenging and engaging ones she’s experienced.
Dallas Hetherington Presents to Princeton Emergency Medical Services
On Oct. 5, Dallas Hetherington presented the Health Primer to Princeton (N.J.) emergency services leadership, including the head of police, the assistant fire chief, and the head of emergency response, as well as Princeton’s mayor, town administrator, and health officer. The Primer also offered hyper-local insight on how climate change will impact Princeton and what resilience techniques could be considered. Audience members gave positive feedback, including suggestions on further enhancing the discussion around resilience and how it could be effective in working with policy- and decision-makers.
Primer Presentation for N.J. Public School Faculty and Staff
Dallas also presented the Primer at Bradford Elementary School in Montclair, N.J., on Dec. 4. This presentation was part of a parent “green team” effort to help teachers as they adapt and create curriculum to comply with New Jersey state requirements that climate change be taught in all K-12 public schools.
C-Change Columbia (SC) Events
C-Change Columbia was truly delighted to welcome Kathleen Biggins back to South Carolina from October 24-27, when she delivered the morning keynote speech to an audience of about 400 business and policy leaders at the 2nd annual Sustain South Conference in Columbia. S.C. Governor Henry McMaster delivered the afternoon keynote address. The symposium launched “The Roadmap to Sustain SC,” a year-long study led by Ernst & Young that aims to elevate the state as the leader at the intersection of commerce and conservation, with initiatives focused on access to affordable, reliable, and clean energy and creating a “green skills workforce.”
The Columbia team also coordinated an opportunity for Kathleen to present the Primer during the Sustain SC Youth Symposium, which was attended by 100 South Carolina college and high school students who are studying environmental issues.
The team is working to bring C-Change’s message to other parts of the state. With Kathleen, they met with local leaders in Charleston in October to discuss city-specific climate issues and the possibility of presentations in the future. Columbia team members also joined Kathleen for Primer presentations in Greenville in January 2024. Kudos to these forward-thinking volunteers for their dedication to building climate consensus and action in South Carolina!
C-Change Athens (GA) Events
The Athens team is also extending its reach, helping to facilitate Kathleen’s visit to Greenville through their connections and exceeding 1,000 subscribers to the monthly Athens edition of Curated Climate News. Exciting news!
The team is celebrating its successful advocacy for a sustainability task force in the local school district. The task force will meet monthly for a year to examine, prioritize, and recommend opportunities for the district to increase health and safety, equity, financial health, waste management, and curriculum and career readiness related to climate resilience and sustainability. One Athens C-Change member has been appointed co-chair of this sustainability advisory committee.
Athens members also took initial steps to establish a coalition of existing local groups involved in climate work. The goal of the coalition would be to support and encourage the Athens-Clarke County government to implement its 100% Clean and Renewable Energy plan. In addition, one C-Change member addressed the Athens-Clarke County mayor and commission during their monthly public meeting, advocating for the establishment of a task force to support the implementation of the energy plan.
Featured Team Member: Dallas Hetherington
When I speak to garden clubs, I usually find myself in front of a room filled with women. So imagine my delight when I looked out on an audience in Somerset Hills, N.J., and saw a rapt male face mixed in with the club members. Upon meeting that man, my surprise quickly turned into a sense that we had won the lottery, because Dallas Hetherington wanted to join our team.
Dallas is a consummate professional with vast presentation experience. He had a long career in global specialty chemicals concerns, working with companies such as PepsiCo, Monsanto, and Procter & Gamble. He also has a special connection with our natural world as a highly skilled and acclaimed wildlife photographer.
Dallas brings his keen attention to detail and his perspective as a business- and investment-minded person to his presentations. He is quite versatile and has presented to a wide range of audiences, including international CFOs, public school teachers, first responders, and sportsmen. Dallas also holds our record for presenting to our largest audience – 1,000 students, faculty, and parents at the Lawrenceville School.
We are so lucky to have Dallas as part of our team.
Q: Why am I involved with C-Change?
I joined my wife at a Primer presentation delivered by Kathleen at a local garden club chapter in 2017, and I loved it. At the end, Kathleen asked for help making presentations and – having just retired from my career – I was in ‘yes’ mode.
My motivation: my kids, now young adults. I wanted to find ways to “give back” after working. I wanted to demonstrate to my family what that can look like, and I wanted to make it something challenging. And this is challenging because being an approved speaker for C-Change isn’t only about learning to deliver a presentation. It’s also learning a lot about climate change so that when pressed and questioned by audiences – especially people who are skeptical – we can demonstrate that we know the subject. So I read every day about climate change and have done so now for a few years.
Q: What have I learned about climate change that makes me hopeful?
What makes me hopeful? Well, clearly there’s a lot of reason to worry – we’re not on the right trajectory yet. The U.S. and the world are improving and doing the right things, just not nearly fast enough. Still, my hope comes from the clear fact that the technologies that we need are being rolled out not only because they are needed to preserve the world as we have known it, not only because of regulations or policies, but because in so many cases these technologies are also good business. This is a huge business opportunity for the U.S, and as an active investor, that’s exciting!
Reducing Our Own Footprints: Tips and Advice
We often get questions after Primers and through our website from people who are looking for ways to be more responsible with their own carbon footprint. We thought it would be fun and helpful to offer simple tips and advice to share with our audiences during C-Change events – and, of course, to follow ourselves.
While it’s true that about 70-75% of emissions reductions need to be directed by our government and business leaders, we as individuals can make choices that address the remaining 25-30%, and that is not insignificant! When we choose to make the climate a deciding factor in personal and household decisions, we become an active part of the transition to the clean-energy solution.
If you’re unsure where to start, Project Drawdown recommends:
- Adding more plant-based foods to your diet and cutting your meat consumption
- Reducing your food waste
- Composting, either privately or through a municipal program
- Walking, biking, and using public transportation where it is safe and available
- Installing solar panels on your home
These actions may seem small, but they do contribute to reducing the overall amount of carbon we are putting into our environment. And your “small” actions may inspire your neighbors to do the same.
- January 17: Greenville, South Carolina
Primer presentation to the Carolina Foothills Garden Club and the Dorothy Haynesworth Garden Club
- Public Health Primer presentation at the Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities at Furman University
January 30: COP28 Reflections Zoom presentation with Kathleen Biggins (click here for details and registration).
March 14: Vero Beach, Florida
- Primer presentation at Orchid Island Golf and Beach Club
April 23-24: Toledo and Perrysburg, Ohio
- Breakfast with local business leaders
- Primer presentation at Perrysburg High School
- Country Garden Club Primer presentation at Owens Community College’s Center for Fine and Performing Arts