Karen Talentino certified as ‘Climate Reality Leader’

Training through former VP Gore's organization leads to broad outreach and activism for St. Mike's biologist and onetime VPAA

January 14, 2021
Faculty/staff report

Karen Talentino, professor of biology/environmental science and the former vice president for academic affairs at Saint Michael’s College, this past summer completed a two-week training session to become certified as a Climate Reality Leader, as part of the Climate Reality Project (CRP).


Karen Talentino

CRP was founded and chaired by Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and is dedicated to catalyzing a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every level of society.

Following is language from CRP website (climatereality.org) explaining that mission in more detail: “With glaciers melting, seas rising, and 16 of the 17 hottest years on record coming this century, we know humanity must change and act boldly to solve the climate crisis. The good news is that we know we can. Solar, wind, and other renewable solutions are becoming more affordable every year. And all around the world, countries from China to Chile are seizing the moment, working to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement and create a safe, sustainable, and prosperous future powered by clean energy.”

The Climate Reality Leadership Corps, of which Talentino is now a member, is a group of more than 15,000 people throughout the world who are advocates and influencers in more than 100 countries.

“Following our training, which was led by VP Gore and many climate experts, our leadership commitment is to mobilize communities for action by spreading the facts of climate change, and confronting denial everywhere from street corners to the White House,” Talentino said. “We are trained to speak truth to power and fight for climate solutions at every level. For my own commitment, I have communicated with local and federal politicians about the need for strong climate change action, and made over 10 presentations to various groups, including as part of our new Faculty Speaker Series at Saint Michael’s.”

As a biologist for over 50 years, Talentino has spent a great deal of time engaging with nature. “Over that time I have observed the significant impacts of climate change on our natural environment,” she said. “It was my observations in one of my favorite places, the Everglades, which convinced me that I needed to become more active in efforts to educate people about the impacts of climate change.”

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She said she has been visiting the Everglades, which she describes as “a truly unique habitat,” regularly since the late 1980’s, often with students. “Sadly, the Everglades of 2020 is a mere shadow of what it was in 1988, due to the impacts of climate change, as well as other human activities that introduce pollution, invasive species, for example,” she said. “You can still see alligators and beautiful wading birds, but in much smaller numbers and diversity. Because of sea level rise, many of the coastal wetlands are being inundated by the rising waters, and freshwater habitats are being polluted with seawater.”

As a climate reality leader, Talentino said, she hopes “to make more people aware of this and other consequences of climate change, and to discuss the changes we need to make in our own lives and in the governing of our country, in order to mitigate and adapt to our changing climate.”


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