This month I returned to the city where it all began for me: New Orleans. I was born and raised in the Crescent City, which for years has been at great risk due to climate impacts, including a recent battering by Hurricane Ida.
Also this month, I presented at the Jersey Shore, where sea level rise is threatening properties, and in Sonoma County, California, which had just been deluged by yet another atmospheric river.
These are some of the hardest presentations for me – because I know these audiences are on the front lines of climate disruption, and they will soon face even more significant challenges. Yet I am incredibly gratified to be there as well. Many in the audience still do not understand the link to climate change, nor why the fact that we have added such high quantities of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere directly threatens our economy and safety. Many also do not know about the new tools we have to lower the risk, nor the new economic reality that taking action will be a lot less expensive than maintaining the status quo.
For us, it goes back to the old adage: knowledge is power. It’s been our goal from our very first day in 2014 to educate others on the risk so they would take action that could make them, and all of the rest of us, safer.
Our survey data shows we achieve this goal every time we present. And we do it in a way that doesn’t turn people off and excites them about the possibilities going forward. Our audiences’ response all across the country is in large part what keeps us going.
Thank you for being on this journey with us.
Founder and President
Energy Leader to Speak at C-Change Spring Benefit
C-Change is excited to announce that David Crane will be our featured speaker at our upcoming spring benefit. David, a longtime friend and supporter of C-Change, is a leading business voice in the field of sustainability, clean energy, and climate change.
As Director of the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations in the U.S. Department of Energy, he oversees the acceleration of clean energy technologies from lab to market, filling a critical innovation gap on the path to achieving our nation’s climate goals of net zero emissions by 2050. As the former CEO of NRG, David took the energy company from Chapter 11 to being designated a Fortune 200 company. He also led NRG to the forefront of next-generation clean energy development through large-scale initiatives in utility scale renewables, residential solar, post combustion carbon capture, and other technologies.
We hope you’ll join us on Thursday, May 4 from 6:30-8:30pm in Princeton at the Stuart Country Day School for what promises to be a fascinating, hopeful discussion about the rapid advances in the fight against climate change. You can contact Molly Jones with questions.
Venture Capitalist Illuminates a “Fast Track to the Future”
From “Dark and Stormy” cocktails, to a fascinating presentation, to engaging discussion after, C-Change Conversations’ fall benefit was a unique and educational evening. Our guest expert was Sean O’Sullivan, Managing Partner at SOSV, which bills itself as the world’s largest climate tech investor and is a venture firm with $1.3 billion in managed assets. Sean projected what life might be like in 20 years, when the worldwide population is projected to be 10 billion and the middle class across the globe is exploding in size, driving up consumption of food and energy. As Sean explained, one Earth simply can’t meet the demands that are coming, unless we change how we produce and consume food and energy.
To make this shift, many of the companies Sean showcased create authentic tasting foods such as eggs, milk and chicken from alternate protein sources or from actual animal cells cultivated in the lab. Sean highlighted burgeoning technologies in transportation, energy storage and efficiency, and recycling as well.
Sean noted that these investments are quite profitable already and that smart investors recognize that “they can do well by doing good.” He projects that the transition, in which we are replacing our old ways of production in energy, food, transportation, and manufacturing, provides the greatest economic opportunity in history. Sean also noted that transformations can happen within a fraction of a lifetime, reminding us that iPhones, a portable computer in our pockets, were only introduced in 2007. He called the transition an “unstoppable force” because the threat of climate change is so significant.
It is inspiring to know that with the right investments and attention, the technologies we need to reduce the dangerous effects of carbon emissions are within our reach.
Solutions Series Production Continues
C-Change Conversations Solutions Series features conversations with the modern day heroes who are developing the solutions needed to address the challenge of climate change and give us hope for the future.
In our first episode Kathleen Biggins interviews Sir Steven Cowley, a world leader on fusion energy and Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Steve describes how scientists are recreating the energy of stars right here on earth and how fusion could be the holy grail of renewable energy sources.
Our next two episodes are coming soon and will feature:
- Emily A. Carter, an international leader in sustainability science, founder of Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and strategic advisor at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. In the interview she discusses “carbon dioxide utilization” – the processes of transforming CO2 emissions from burning coal, oil, and gas into products like fuel, fertilizer, plastics, aggregates used in concrete, and even diamonds and vodka.
- the aforementioned investor Sean Sullivan and his predictions for carbon-friendly businesses of the future.
C-Change is “All Over the Map” and Reaching New Audiences
2023 already has brought opportunities for C-Change Conversations to engage diverse and interesting audiences through our Primer presentation, including:
- Texas land trusts – concerning how to communicate about climate change with conservative stakeholders.
- California land trusts – with the Primer presented in English and simultaneously translated into Spanish. (This invitation came from the Sonoma Land Trust, which had seen us present at the national meeting of the Land Trust Alliance in October.)
- Carleton College alumni – Jim Haynes, a retired environmental science professor presented via Zoom and used our Primer and other materials.
- Garden clubs – including the Garden Club of Princeton, NJ, the Master Gardeners of Cuyahoga County, OH, and the Seaweeders Garden Club in Mantoloking, NJ.
On March 23rd, Yamile Slebi and Molly Jones presented the Primer in Spanish in Princeton to the Unidad Latina en Acción, an immigrants advocacy organization. This was a major milestone for C-Change – we’ll share details in the next newsletter!
The geographic and demographic diversity of our reach will continue, with Primer presentations scheduled in coming weeks in:
- New York City at the Colony Club;
- Princeton, NJ at The Women’s College Club; and,
- Vero Beach, FL, with a return to the Quail Valley Golf Club and presentations to St. Edwards School and the Environmental Learning Center as well.
Our turnkey process makes it easy to request and book any of our four climate change Primers: our original Primer, the Health Primer, the Business Primer and the Primer in Spanish. We’d love to come (or return) to your town!
C-Change Founder and President Honored by
Kathleen Biggins will receive the McGehee School’s Distinguished Alumnae Award on March 24. She will return to her alma mater in New Orleans to accept the award and present the Primer to Upper School students during a special assembly, and later present the Primer to the school’s Green Society. Congratulations Kathleen! The C-Change team is proud of you and pleased that your considerable talents and contributions are being recognized.
News from Athens, Georgia
The C-Change Athens team has been on the go, with plans to host a Primer presentation during the Georgia Climate Conference later this spring. C-Change team member Dallas Hetherington will present the Primer on Monday, May 15 to the The Classic City Rotary Club and at the Cine Athens, a nonprofit art house theater.
Laura Iyer, CEO and Founder of the Southern Sustainability Institute, presented an En-ROADS workshop to C-Change Athens affiliate members late last year. Workshop participants experimented with a global climate simulator to explore the impact of policies – such as electrifying transport and improving agricultural practices – on energy prices, temperature, air quality, and sea level rise.
C-Change Athens representatives continue to attend county commission and school board meetings to advocate on behalf of clean energy and encourage them to continue enacting green policies, such as solarizing the school system and adopting electric school buses in Athens-Clarke County. The team also has connected with the Educational Energy Collective about its work to solarize school systems and with State Representative Spencer Frye.
News from Columbia, South Carolina
C-Change Columbia is continuing to encourage University of South Carolina faculty as they develop the framework of a sustainability institute. A USC faculty member attended this month’s White House Conference on Campus and Community Scales Climate Solutions and updated C-Change Columbia afterwards. The team is also collaborating with Sustain SC, which promotes sustainability initiatives by businesses operating in South Carolina. C-Change Columbia will help promote nonpartisan climate education via Sustain SC’s 2nd Annual Sustainability Symposium in October.
Meet The Team
Kathleen Biggins writes:
Lorraine Sciarra captures the “yin and yang” of life more than almost anyone else I know. She is a hard charging, savvy lawyer who valiantly fights on very big stages, and an introspective kind soul with a boundless love for the universe and creatures within it.
Lorraine has just ended a long tenure as leader of the Office of General Counsel – chief lawyer if you will – at the National Audubon Society, where she has worked on some of the biggest conservation issues of our time, including drilling in the Arctic and biodiversity loss. Before joining Audubon, Lorraine was Senior University Counsel at Princeton University. When she is not in her lawyer mode, however, Lorraine might be found on a week-long silent retreat, or on a yoga mat, or helping her wide circle of family and friends.
This combination of smarts, drive, compassion, and connection to the natural world has been vital to C-Change Conversations’ success as well. Lorraine has guided us from the start, helping us incorporate and become a 501(c)(3) organization. She has been very important in setting the guardrails for good governance and outlining how we can create local affiliates around the country to further leverage our efforts. She has helped spearhead our strategic plans and counseled our executive team.
We are so thankful to have Lorraine on our team!
Why I’m involved with C-Change: This is easy. I became involved with C-Change because of Kathleen Biggins. I first got to know Kathleen when she and I were both members of the board of directors of a local conservation organization. As General Counsel for the National Audubon Society, I have been immersed in climate issues and loved what Kathleen and her co-founders were creating. I stayed involved because there is nothing more fundamental, radical, and impactful than changing minds.
What have you learned about climate change that makes you hopeful? I had to think a bit about this answer. The fairly recent news about the private sector’s advances in fusion fills me with hope. It really does. Seeing flags that the economics are shifting in favor of alternative energy sources also fills me with hope. There is still a lot of oil and gas being extracted out there (Willow!) but investment is shifting. Did you ever think you’d see the day when BlackRock (the world’s largest asset manager) was painted as Woke?
Mixing It Up: C-Change Presentations Reach Large and Unique Audiences
Three presentations in the last months of 2022 deserve mention for the unique audiences who heard from C-Change about climate change science and policy:
- Princeton Day School 10th graders kicked off a 2-year climate program with a C-Change Primer presentation.
- Penn Medicine Princeton Health’s Medical Grand Rounds, the continuing education program for physicians and other medical staff, included a presentation of our Health Primer.
- OUCH – Oncologists United for Climate & Health – members met on Zoom for a special presentation by Kathleen Biggins on the climate provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act.