UCSB will host a climate change conference today, inviting students, faculty and the general public to discuss the impact individuals can have on global warming.
The “Our Planet, Our Problem” conference will be held today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Corwin Pavilion and will be divided into three panels featuring influential players in the global warming debate from varying backgrounds, including grassroots leaders, authors, politicians and businesspeople. The conference is being hosted by UCSB’s Environmental Affairs Board, whose members conceptualized this symposium after their visit to Copenhagen in December for the Conference on Climate Change.
EAB co-chair Nick Allen said the disconnect between different interest groups is preventing the creation of real solutions.
“I think the message that we brought back was that there was a disconnect between the political framework, the various business agendas and the grassroots-activist perspectives,” Allen said. “Until those are brought together and synthesized there’s no way to really formulate a solution.”
Key speakers include the founder and executive chairman of Clipper Windpower Jim Dehlsen, the president of Southern California Edison John Fielder and the California State Senator Fran Pavley. Also scheduled is the CEO and executive director of the Community Environmental Council Dave Davis.
“It’s important to show that each and every one of us can make a change,” Davis said. “There is a vast movement around the world to stop climate change outside of the mainstream agendas.”
Davis has created a new agenda for Santa Barbara with his proposal to be “Fossil Free by ’33,” a plan that would eliminate the use of fossil fuels in our area by 2033.
“This region can be the leader in the world,” Davis said. “We can do it right here in Santa Barbara.”
EAB co-chair Violetta Muselli said community-based movements are fundamental to the fight against rapid global warming.
“The reason that we felt it was important to have a grassroots panel is because even when the government and businesses aren’t taking the necessary steps to solve climate problems, local people can still affect change,” Muselli said. “We feel that every student has something to gain from this conference, whether or not you feel like you are environmentally minded.”
The conference will also feature a film made by EAB students while in Copenhagen last December. The event will be followed by a reception at the MultiCultural Center from 6 to 7 p.m.