Eco campaigner takes message across America

By Kevin Unitt Thursday 17 January 2013 Updated: 22/01 08:16

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Chris Philpott outside the United Nations Church Center in New York. (s)

A CLIMATE change campaigner from Leamington took his green message across the pond.

Chris Philpott, a teacher at Campion School and author of climate change-themed book Green Spirituality, spent three months giving talks across North American and Canada from September to December.

He said: "I could not go via plane if I was to talk about climate change so chose a voyage there and back across the Atlantic by ship and thereafter I deliberately travelled by buses and trains.

"I felt I needed to share my ideas with a North American audience especially since the Americans produce twice as much CO2 as we do. I have surmised that if North Americans do not change their consumer habits then they will put the whole planet in peril."

Mr Philpott gave a total of 25 talks - to a variety of audiences in universities, religious centres and libraries - and said he had a generally warm reception, his personal highlight being a talk given in the official United Nations Church opposite the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

His winding route took him from New York and Boston up to the Canadian cities of Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, down to Niagra, Washington DC, Atlanta, and New Orleans then up again to Chicago, Seattle and Vancouver before finishing in Los Angeles.

With the helping of a 'couch surfing' website he managed to avoid paying for any accommodation throughout the tour.

While in Virginia he was invited to record a television programme on his beliefs which reached an audience of about 250,000.

At each stop he also made sure to promote Leamington's own green efforts, adding: "There was a real interest in me talking about the achievements of Transition Town Leamington as an example of how some of the values of Green Spirituality can be put into practice. Montreal, Vancouver and Los Angeles have transition towns in action.

"I was determined not to be judgemental about Americans and staying with them I found the people friendly, generous and intelligent. Many knew their country had a broken political system and caused climate change but felt frustrated that corporate controlled politics did not allow them to change it.

"I found the trip gave me greater inspiration to carry on my work as an environmentalist."

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