‘Climate Change. Like World Naked Bike Ride: If you see it, you can’t unsee it’

“Climate Change is like the World Naked Bike Ride. Once you see it, you cannot unsee it.” – KB Mercer, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) volunteer from Portland, Oregon.

June 12, 2018, I was in Washington D.C. as part of Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s 2018 International Conference and Lobby Day. Over 1,200 volunteers from across the United States and other parts of the world gathered in Washington D.C. for two days previously for a conference to prepare for lobbying over 500 Congressional offices that day. CCL’s goal for every lobby meeting is to train its volunteers to effectively ask members of Congress to support CCL’s carbon fee & dividend proposal. During the conference, all of us met in practice meetings to have plans of actions for effective meetings with each of these Congressional offices.

KB Mercer was the designated leader of this meeting with staff of Rep. Earl Blumenauer. 5 CCL volunteers, including me, were assigned to this meeting to assist KB. By the time the Tuesday lobby day had arrived, KB had a detailed organized plan for everyone’s role in the meeting and exactly everything we were going to say. The only thing I was not anticipating was KB’s opening statement at the start of this lobby meeting.

It was obvious before the meeting with her touch of nervousness and steel determination that KB planned a big attention grabber. She knew beforehand she wanted to start off the meeting with humor and a metaphor that would hook the attention of this Congressional staff, even if Rep. Earl Blumenauer is known to take a very strong position to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Combating Climate Change.

Caught totally off guard, I nearly fell off my chair laughing, when she started off the meeting with her quote:

“Climate Change is like the World Naked Bike Ride. Once you see it, you cannot unsee it.”

Since October 2011, I had collected and contributed over 200 humorous and sticky messaging soundbites and metaphors to the website Climatebites.org. I must say I had never never a funnier climate change soundbite and metaphor than what KB just stated. As a side note, I tried to turn KB’s quote into a Climatebite, but I could not get past technical glitches on the website to save my a post I created to capture KB’s quote. Therefore, I decided to put it here on my blog instead.

KB’s hilarious metaphor of connecting the searing image of climate change to being unable to unsee the World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) was certainly a sticky and unshakeable image. Full disclosure: I have never been to this event, which was held in Portland on June 23, 2018. According to Portland WNBR’s website, “Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is just one of nearly 100 documented Naked Bike Rides that happen all over the globe.”

Thus, it appears from KB’s observation that seeing the WNBR is an image that you will never forget. Very similar for me, climate change is an image that I just cannot unsee. From personally seeing it from sea level rise in Everglades National Park, reduced snowpack at Crater Lake National Park, and flooding in my hometown of St. Louis MO, climate change is an image that I cannot shake out of my mind. Therefore, I must act.

Because my personally experience of seeing negative impacts on climate change in our national parks and my hometown, I have volunteered with CCL since May 2012 to do what I can to have break throughs in my personal political power.

Since then, I have traveled to Washington D.C. 5 separate times to meet with numerous Congressional offices to lobby them for climate action. One of the highlights for me with my involvement with CCL is all of the friends I made over the years, such as KB Mercer. I can easily say that I have learned so much from their actions and words, including this quote KB made at the start of the Rep. Earl Blumenauer meeting that I still can’t get out of my mind!

Hopefully, your own personal climate change experiences you have witnessed or stories you have heard from others or from the media are something that you cannot unsee will inspire you to act on climate change. Even more, I hope it will inspire you to contact your member of Congress to ask them to act on climate change.

Finally, do consider joining us with Citizens’ Climate Lobby to lobby Congressional offices in Washington D.C. or a Congressional District office by your home. Our dress code for lobbying is strictly professional business clothes. Yes, please do not wear what you might dream of wearing or not wearing to a World Naked Bike Ride! However, as you can tell by KB’s creative quote, we do have a lot of fun when we lobby for climate action.