The A.S. Environmental Affairs Board hosted a conference on Friday exploring climate change.
The event — titled “Our Planet, Our Problem: Approaches to a Climate Solution” — allowed students, faculty and community members to discuss issues such as green businesses and the government’s involvement with climate change. Panels covered topics such as youth contributions to sustainability and the role of green business in modern economic interactions.
The symposium emanated from EAB’s trip to Copenhagen in December for the U N Climate Change Conference. According to EAB member Natasha Weidner, the UCSB student delegation that attended the UN event came back disappointed by the inability of politicians to address the climate change problem.
“We realized that perhaps the best approach to climate change is to take matters into our own hands,” Weidner said. “[Working with] the community is the best way to address this problem.”
The day’s first panel featured discussion about approaching climate change at the local level from 15 year-old youth activist Alec Loorz — who founded the nonprofit organization Kids vs. Global Warming — and Jason Mark, author of Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grassroots.
Executive Chairman of Clipper Windpower Jim Dehlson said at a panel on business that college students’ enthusiasm for sustainability is transforming economies at an accelerated rate.
A final panel focused on recent opposition toward legislative solutions to climate change.
California Sen. Fran Pavley spoke about state proposition AB1493, which focuses on the negative impact of carbon emissions from gas-powered automobiles, and AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 that will return California’s carbon emissions to 1990 levels in 2020.
In particular, Sen. Pavley spoke against an effort deemed the “California Jobs Initiative,” which aims to place a measure on the ballot that would delay the implementation of AB32 until unemployment is at 5.5 percent.
“[The initiative is] absolutely wrong,” Pavley said. “AB32, has become synonymous with [this idea] … [and is a] target of the perceived cost of rolling back jobs.”
The panel concluded with a discussion by Pavley, EAB co-chairs Violetta Muselli and Nick Allen, environmental studies professor William Freudenburg and CEO Dave Davis, executive director of Community Environmental Council, about reframing understanding of environmental concerns.
Frankie Tong, a second-year environmental studies major, said she enjoyed listening to the speakers discuss such a crucial topic.
“I like the conversation on reframing,” Tong said. “It brought [my attention] to just the way we talk about issues … a lot of people do not think about it.”