Who I am and what I do

I am a Colombian-born, bilingual, Denver-based community climate change educator and former full-time philosophy professor. Five years ago, I left my academic position to become a public educator. My work is dedicated to incubating a grassroots civic culture of climate change activism. I use an innovative approach to climate change communication, drawing on my academic research in an area of cognitive science called “embodied cognition.”

More about my approach

From an embodied cognition standpoint, we think with our bodies. In other words, it is through our everyday bodily, social activities – the stuff we do on a regular basis with other people in our immediate social environment – that our beliefs and values are formed. This means that means that fostering meaningful social interactions (where people connect and communicate with each other in a rewarding, authentic, non-hierarchical way) is an essential tool for for anyone who wants to reach others and help them shift their values.

In my work, I work to identify the stages of transformation (for both individuals and communities) that lead to courageous engagement on climate change.  I work closely with groups to create culture-specific climate change workshops that support the evolution of their members’ awareness and involvement on climate change. I draw on a wide spectrum of practices and activities, including movement, meditation, audio-visual resources, small-group work, tools and props – and sometimes even singing! – to create a positive, energizing environment that catalyzes hope, inspiration and new levels of commitment.

I am a hands-on, mindful and passionate presenter and facilitator with 15 years of experience in education. I offer leadership trainings, workshops and public speaking to non-profits, schools and communities of faith in Colorado, and I also organize a grassroots, crowd-funded film and discussion forum on climate change called Community Climate Courage (launched in Fall 2015). In my workshops and community groups, strong emphasis is placed on creating a warm and supportive social environment to ease the burden of fear and anxiety the issue of climate change can create. I am a 2014 NAAEE Community Climate Change Fellow through the EECapacity program.

Maria Talero, Ph.D.