On October 30th Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was made an honorary forest ranger at a ceremony hosted by U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington DC. Before presenting Governor Schwarzenegger with a U.S. Forest Ranger jacket Chief Tidwell thanked Governor Schwarzenegger for his long and continued leadership on climate change and thanked the Governor for signing and implementing AB 32: Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Chief Tidwell noted that this law, combined with the Governor’s support for the low carbon fuel standard, a renewable energy portfolio and a cap and trade program put California at the forefront of the fight against climate change.
Additionally, Chief Tidwell spoke of working with the Governor on forestry and forest fire related issues and noted that Schwarzenegger was one of the first major politicians in America to recognize a correlation between climate change and the vulnerability of our nation’s forests.
“The Governor understands that climate change is already having devastating impacts on our nation’s forests via drought, longer and more severe wildfire seasons, and pests and disease. I know that you saw all of these issues playing out firsthand during your time as Governor, having overseen numerous catastrophic wildfires up and down the state during your time in office. The Esperanza and Aurora fires, in particular, come to mind” Tidwell said.
Before turning the program over to the Governor Chief Tidwell also pointed out that Governor Schwarzenegger founded the USC Schwarzenegger Institute with the duel goal of educating people and advocating for for issues that better out nation and the world.
“In August 2012, the University of Southern California Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy launched to provide students an opportunity to focus on the responsibility of leaders to transcend partisanship in order to implement policies that most benefit the people they serve. Earlier this year, the Institute brought together some of the nation’s most prominent scientists to discuss the National Climate Assessment, a sobering look at the impacts projected to result from climate change” said Chief Tidwell.
Governor Schwarzenegger responded by saying that he was honored to join the U.S. Forest Service as an honorary ranger. The Governor mentioned that the State of California couldn’t have had a better ally than the U.S. Forest Service when it was battling wild fires throughout the state in 2007 and 2008. The Governor noted that without the Service’s help many more Californians would have been hurt, killed or displaced by those fires. The Governor closed by saying that he looks forward to continuing his work on climate change and is excited to continue his partnership with the Chief Tidwell, the U.S. Forest Service and his fellow forest rangers.