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Reality. It’s not an opinion.

July 11, 2011 | 11:23 am | , President & CEO, The Climate Reality Project

Our world is changing. Rivers are overflowing their boundaries. Carefully tended crops have failed due to drought and severe storms. Forests are turning into tinder.  Massive glaciers are melting at an alarming rate.

We have known about climate change for decades. Yet now, we are seeing and experiencing the extreme weather that scientists have long told us to expect in a warming world. Floods. Heat waves. Droughts. Historic storms. These cataclysmic events are occurring all over the world with increasing frequency. This is not normal. A “new normal” is emerging. And these events will only become more frequent and severe if we continue to pollute our air.

Despite the overwhelming number of severe weather events occurring all over the globe, this new reality is too often denied or ignored. The public receives confusing messages from the media about climate change and how we can solve it. Much as tobacco companies once brazenly denied that smoking causes cancer, powerful fossil fuel interests are creating their own, self-serving “reality” by claiming the burning of oil and coal is not changing our climate.

Many of those who are most affected by our changing climate already understand this reality. And there are groups and individuals emerging around the globe who are stepping up to the challenge and opportunity that climate change presents. Military leaders, people of faith, the mayors of some of the world’s major cities, and even some leading corporations are all taking important steps to confront the climate crisis. But the voices of denial and confusion will not give up without a fight.

A global movement is building to take action to solve this crisis. We need to bring reality into the conversation. That is why we are launching The Climate Reality Project.

We are starting this campaign without any illusions about the difficulties ahead. For years, despite calls to action by millions of committed citizens around the world, many of our leaders have stubbornly refused to confront this crisis. But we have one critical advantage: Reality. There is no hiding the fact that the ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998. It is a fact that severe droughts threaten the livelihoods of millions; that 100-year floods and 1000-year floods are occurring around the world year after year; that island nations are going underwater; that rising seas are already washing away beaches and impacting entire communities.

These facts must be heard. It’s time to connect the dots.

On Sept. 14, we will host a global gathering to create 24 Hours of Reality — an event that will focus the world’s attention on the full truth, scope , scale and impact of the climate crisis. 24 Hours of Reality will remove the doubt, reveal the deniers and catalyze urgency and commitment. This event will be streamed live online and will take place over 24 hours in 24 time zones around the globe. Citizen activists from The Climate Reality Project will broadcast a new multimedia presentation from our Chairman, Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore. I invite you to learn more about the event here.

The reality of climate change can seem overwhelming. But facing this new reality is empowering — we already know how to solve the climate crisis. By making a transition away from oil and coal and using the renewable energy technology that is available now, we will reduce the pollution that is warming our climate.

I look forward to working with you and all our allies and supporters as we launch The Climate Reality Project.

Maggie L. Fox, President and CEO

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