On April 24th the Students for a Sustainable Campus committee at the CEC hosted a panel discussion titled “Climate Change in Texas: Risks and Opportunities”.
We were fortunate to have the panel moderated by the former Mayor of Austin, Will Wynn who was instrumental in turning Austin into a model for more environmentally friendly cities. The panelists ranged from academics to community and national leaders and included: Dr. Kerry Cook from UT’s Jackson School of Geosciences, Dr. Ramon Alvarez from Environmental Defense Fund, and Mr. Zach Baumer from the City of Austin.
Avoiding the typical doom-and-gloom that is often associated with talks about climate change, this panel instead focused on both the positives and negatives of climate change in Texas.
They called attention to the different economic opportunities that Texas can take advantage of if we are willing to invest more heavily in renewable energy technology, which will likely see a tremendous increase in demand as climate change progresses while at the same time also addressed the likely effects of climate change on Texas agriculture and water scarcity, including climate change’s impact on existing drought conditions.
Dr. Alvarez made a point of mentioning the fact that emissions reductions and environmental protection are not strictly about the environment, but have social equity, public health, and economic implications as well.
In the end, one of the key messages from the panel was: If we really want to build an inclusive, broad environmental movement, we have to learn to talk about the environment in a way that doesn’t alienate conservatives or climate change skeptics.
For an awesome article about the panel in the Daily Texan read here!