For those of you who missed it, Al Gore’s Climate Project hit the hallowed halls of Cambridge, England, in March 2007 :-
It was a whirlwind love affair, and I recall hearing about a couple of the more fringe people who attended the training. They were wowed.
“Gore’s a great communicator”, the overawed community leader was reported to have said in hushed admiration.
“He always wears nice shirts”, nodded his student companion, apparently.
The UK Climate Project hit the buffers a bit after all this style-monitoring, and it has taken until now for the slack to get well and truly taken up.
Enter the stage one Evan Williams. No, he’s not Welsh.
One of the original Al Gore graduates from Nashville in the heady days of 2006 :-
Evan has a new mission : to take on the UK once more, from a base in Glasgow.
He has a London partner, Charles Perry, who appears to know David Cameron quite well, but I get the feeling that Evan has a zeal that “Charlie” won’t match in a zillion lightyears.
I met Evan in a cosy, ethical Belgian sandwich bar this week. Le Pain Quotidien, the branch in Bread Street. He seemed somewhat nervous to meet me. I suppose my reputation washes ahead of me like a mud-slinging rip tide.
We got into animated conversation over some Fair Trade big coffees with tap water sides.
First up, he’s looking for big partners, organisations and companies that can fund the team of staff he needs to get the mission swinging.
He needs “founding sponsors”, who, in exchange for funds, will receive resources and access to The Climate Project network.
Evan hopes that funders will also allow him access to their communications networks and their audiences.
He likes the idea of netting a large football team or a stadium, but I’m sure a fashion house or a big retailer would do just as well. “We are looking for people with whom we can work.” Emphasis on the word “work”. No failing allowed, clearly.
The Climate Project programme in the UK will kickstart with a presenter training course, an all-expenses-paid (*) bootcamp, somewhere in Middle England.
(*) Except you have to pay your own coach fare.
Each Al Gore The Climate Project trainee will receive 2 to 3 days of training in improving their presentation skills, free presentation packs of UK-focused materials, training on how to access audiences and learn the updates on the Climate Change science since the filming of An Inconvenient Truth.
100 people will be recruited at a time. Over two years, Evan hopes to train a 1,000 people, who will accept an obligation to give the presentation 10 times. That’s potentially an audience of nearly half a million, with an average audience size of just 50.
With the ramping up of The Climate Project in Australia, India, Canada and Spain, and with China hopefully launching this year, this looks like a major push.
“The take-home message”, Evan emphasises, “is that there’s lots of stuff for lots of people to do – what they can do for themselves and how to influence other people to do the same.”
So, when is Al Gore coming to Europe then, Evan ? Could be within the year, but he might bypass London altogether. Watch this space…
I put it to Evan that if my London posse could put him in touch with 12 star celebrities (spelled “sleb”), I was sure he could get volunteers to organise a “Charity Auction Supper”.
“Jo”, said Evan, “it’s a great idea but not my top priority just yet, honest”. Shucks. I’m being too enthusastic again.
But when it is time to party, I’ll be asking all of you to dust down your Rolodexes, and your mobile phone books, ladies and gents. So be ready.
For the original American project :-