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  • Writer's pictureTom

Bay Area #1 - Viewing the 2020 elections through the lens of climate change

San Francisco’s famed Mission District was home to the kickoff event for the Bay Area Climate Cocktail Club. In a venue known for providing a place for nonprofits, activists and civic organization, Manny’s ably played host to 100 or so passionate and well-informed Clubbers, excited to speak with one another and listen to Climate One’s Greg Dalton talk about the 2020 elections and climate change.

There was a palpable electricity in the room, a likely combination of nervous energy from a new event with new connections to be made, along with the opportunity to see a well-known local climate expert who normally serves as the interviewer about to become the interviewee.

Before introducing the guest, Chapter heads Tara Holmes and Marc Hertz talked about their climate journeys and intention behind the Club. After thanking sponsors Presidio Graduate School and Natural Capital Partners (who also offset the emissions via a U.S. project to make the event CarbonNeutral certified), Natural Capital Partners' Saskia Feast joined Tara, Marc and Greg onstage to further discuss the offset program. Then it was on to the main event.

Marc and Tara moderated the Q&A with Greg, covering a wide range of topics. Greg discussed his decade-plus experience leading an organization focused on thoughtful discussions about the climate and dug into Climate One’s role in the broader climate discussion. Switching to the topic of the evening, he also covered how to get people to care about climate when going to the polls, how climate policy will play out in local elections vs. the national election, which presidential candidates have some of the best climate policies, and which of the current climate policies have the most realistic chance of becoming law. And because of the catastrophic wildfires that have plagued Australia for the past few months, Tara asked Greg his thoughts on the seeming indifference to climate change coming from some of the most powerful nations in the world.

"The depth of their knowledge and commitment was engaging. The Climate Cocktail Club is an excellent place to share our knowledge, fears and dreams"

Greg appeared to enjoy the role of providing answers instead of asking questions, and his Climate One team seemed to get a kick out of seeing that side of him. As Greg later told the hosts, “It was rewarding and refreshing to have a living room-style conversation with climate conscious people present in the room and the moment. The depth of their knowledge and commitment was engaging. The Climate Cocktail Club is an excellent place to share our knowledge, fears and dreams.”

Indeed, when the co-hosts opened up questions to the audience, they didn’t disappoint, with incisive queries that prompted refreshingly candid responses from Greg. When the questions wrapped up, Greg was given the opportunity to pick two audience raffle winners - one taking home a copy of David Wallace Wells’ book “The Uninhabitable Earth” and the other nabbing a free ticket to the next Bay Area CCC event.

"The place was packed! I came away refreshed, provoked and inspired.”

If the turnout and conversations that followed with Bay Area Clubbers are any indication, be it suggestions for future topics, for events in other area cities, or for potential collaborations, Tara and Marc are both convinced of the promise the Climate Cocktail Club holds in the Bay Area and beyond. Natural Capital Partners' Saskia Feast agrees, saying, “I highly recommend attending the Bay Area Climate Cocktail Club that Marc and Tara are cultivating - the first evening set the stage, engaging Greg Dalton in a conversation about climate politics with a diverse audience of professionals all wanting to understand, share and do more to address climate change. The place was packed! I came away refreshed, provoked and inspired.”

Tara and Marc are excited to bring future events to those in the region who are passionate for a new venue that links the seriousness of solving climate change with opportunities for merriment and making new connections.

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