It was standing room only at USC’s Bovard Auditorium last night, as more than 500 students, faculty and university guests packed the house to hear Governor Schwarzenegger deliver remarks on how environmentalism must be a bi-partisan priority to protect our health, jobs and security. The event was co-sponsored by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, the USC Environmental Student Assembly and the USC Speakers Committee.
“The environment isn’t a political issue. It’s a people issue. There isn’t conservative or liberal air and water – we all breathe the same air and drink the same water,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Environmental stewardship promotes public health, supports employment, and strengthens national security. Politicians on both sides of the aisle need to keep climate change front and center.”
In his remarks, Gov. Schwarzenegger highlighted tough facts about the environment:
– In 2015 communities globally will dump 40 billion tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
– Scientists at Lawrence Livermore Lab recently announced that we have underestimated the warming of our oceans by 24 to 58 percent.
– Air pollution causes over 7 million premature deaths every year, according to the World Health Organization.
More than 100,000 people die every year in the United States alone from pollution-related illness. Globally that number is 7 million.
Gov. Schwarzenegger was joined onstage by his Institute's Global Director Bonnie Reiss and R20 Advisor Terry Tamminen to discuss groundbreaking actions in California that have revolutionized environmental policy, including the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32), tailpipe emissions standards, Million Solar Roofs initiatives, and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
As an example of how environmentalism can be a bi-partisan issue, Governor Schwarzenegger talked about the September Climate Symposium where Governor Brown and the Chair of the Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols, joined him in highlighting California's long and proud history of providing leadership on this important issue.
“California is one of the world’s largest markets, so what we do here has global ramifications. Real power is the power to power ourselves, through solar and wind. We must keep finding and promoting new, clean energy solutions," said Governor Schwarzenegger.
Environmental Student Assembly Executive Director Shawn Rhoads moderated the final section of the program where students in the audience had the opportunity to ask Governor Schwarzenegger questions. During the Q&A, the Governor urged the USC students to use their power and voice to educate others about climate change and to "take the word 'impossible' out of their vocabulary."
"Never listen to people who tell you that your actions don't matter. This is the defining issue of your generation. You must keep speaking out and taking action – every single day – to fight for our environment."