A coalition of Gulf States organizations in collaboration with the Climate Reality Project will host the Gulf Coast Restoration Conference “Rebuilding Our Earth and Our Communities” on Saturday.
The conference will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Island View Resort Hotel. An Earth Blessing ceremony will be 8:30 to 9 a.m. on the beachfront on the west side of the hotel. The family-friendly event is open to the public and includes licensed, professional childcare, registration, breakfast and lunch at no cost. Advance registration is required at http://climatespeakers.org/training-gulfport.php.
“The Gulf region is a frontline climate change community, with Gulfport at its geographical epicenter,” said Ruth Story, executive director of Education, Economics, Environmental Climate and Health Organization, one of the organizations that will be at the conference. “We need to better understand why we are experiencing record weather conditions and what we can do to better prepare and mitigate them.”
The goal of the conference is to provide an understanding of why extreme climate events are becoming more frequent and what residents can do about it. A variety of community-oriented workshops will feature cross-sector conversations and training with a diverse group of partners united under a common banner of social, environmental and climate justice.
The conference will offer English to Vietnamese and Spanish headset translations.
Conference organizations include Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise, Center for Earth Ethics, Climate Speakers Network, Education, Economics, Environmental Climate and Health Organization, Hidra House, Mississippi Center for Justice, Mississippi Coalition for Vietnamese-American Fisher Folks and Family, NAACP, North Gulfport Land Trust, STEPS Coalition and Turkey Creek Watershed Committee.
Presenters include Catherine Coleman Flowers, Doug Glancy, Derrick Johnson, Jill Leaness and Jacqui Patterson.
Catherine Coleman Flowers, a native of Lowndes County, Alabama, is a senior fellow at the Center for Earth Ethics, the rural development manager for the Equal Justice Initiative and the founder of the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise. She taught high school in Detroit and Washington.
Doug Glancy is responsible for the management of the Climate Speakers Network. He has worked for a variety of organizations on climate at the intersection of the corporate, nonprofit and policy worlds. He was also a contributing author to the book for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change Change (now C2ES) entitled “Corporate Strategies to Address Climate Change.”
Derrick Johnson is state president for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP and executive director of One Voice, Inc. He recently served as a Mel King Community Fellow with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Johnson serves on the NAACP national board of directors.
Jill Leaness is the Climate Speakers Network associate at the Climate Reality Project. She has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama, where she helped her community deal with various environmental problems. In December 2015 she attended COP21 in Paris as a student delegate to the American Chemical Society.
Jacqui Patterson is the director of NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program and co-founder of Women of Color United, serves on the boards of directors for U.S. Climate Action Network, GRID Alternatives, Center for Story Based Strategy, and Interfaith Moral Action on Climate Change, as well as on the Leadership Body for the Climate Justice Alliance and Steering Committee of Center for Earth Ethics.