Greener BeeGreen LivingSustainable Pacific Grove’s connection to one of Al Gore’s climate champions.

Heidi Zamzow is the communications director and outreach coordinator for Sustainable Pacific Grove, acting as a liaison on legislative issues, hearings, media and official statements. She’s been with the organization for its decade-long incarnation.

Sustainable Pacific Grove (there are similar groups in Marina, Salinas, Carmel and elsewhere, under the Sustainable Monterey County umbrella) claims its mission is to “help our communities transition to sustainable practices to meet the challenge of declining resources and climate change.”

As part of that mission, they conduct green living tours so people can see what their neighbors are doing to reduce, reuse or recycle. They supported Measure Z, a 2016 ballot measure to ban fracking in Monterey County. They promote things like solar panels, bicycling and local shopping.

On occasion they show films.

This Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 7pm, is one of those occasions. The film is An Inconvenient Sequel, Al Gore’s follow-up to his landmark 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

Oddly enough, Heidi Zamzow is reticent to talk about her own impressions of the film, demurring that she doesn’t want to influence anyone else’s experience of it. But, as any good liaison is liable to do, she directs inquiries to another person who she thinks can provide insight to the film: her sister.

Erin Zamzow is a veterinarian who lives in small town outside of Seattle. Although she won’t be in Pacific Grove for the screening, Erin has unique credentials; she recently went though Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps training, the former vice president’s cultivation of armies of climate change activists featured in the film.

“You know our climate is changing. You want to make a difference. We’ll show you how,” touts the Climate Reality Project website.

Erin offered up insights from this frontline in the political battlefield over climate change.

Weekly: What was the training like?

Erin Zamzow: I did [the training] in Bellevue, Washington, with Al Gore. There were maybe 900 people. He’s done many of them over the years around the country. People [come] from all over the world. There are several speakers, climate reality leaders. [They teach you] how to speak statistics, they show slideshows, [teach how to] counter doubts and questions. They have mentors there.

What did they teach you is causing the resistance to climate change?

Lack of appropriate information. It’s a political issue and it shouldn’t be. For me, personally, some of the people I know who don’t buy into AGW [anthropogenic global warming, caused by humans], are religious. God has a plan.

What else did you learn?

There were sessions on how to present information in a way that’s less combative, finding common ground. How to work with the science as well as the emotion…[There was] not enough discussion of reducing animal farming. It’s something every single person can do. If I can’t afford solar panels or an electric vehicle, I can choose what I buy at the grocery store and what I put in my mouth. Some people can’t, and I would never food-shame.

What are some good discussion points to draw out of the film?

Why animal agriculture is not in the movie is a big one. We discussed in my group how capitalism has driven a lot of this, and how we need to question all of that. The idea of economic growth is ruining the planet. It’s great [that] big business is investing in solar energy—solar panels should be everywhere. But we need to do what’s right for the planet and not for business.

People say, “You’re going to be socialists.” But we’re trying to save the planet here. Get over it. Our current political situation in this country is particularly frightening and needs to be met with full resistance. People all over the world will be impacted. There are countries going under water.

How was the food at the training?

It’s great. The food was mostly vegan, low on animal products—that’s a super important part of climate change—no plastic water bottles, everything compostable, reusable. You go to some environmental things and people are drinking out of plastic water bottles and eating burgers.

Sustainable Pacific Grove is screening An Inconvenient Sequel 7pm Wednesday, Jan. 10, at Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. Free.

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