“I am concerned about the environment, and I am really curious to see the congressman who is in charge of the situation on what is happening today,” said Euangelika Austin, an SSU freshman student learning about the climate issues before the Town Hall meeting started.
Sonoma State’s Center for Community Engagement and the Center for Environmental Inquiry co-sponsored the meeting about climate change. Over 500 people who live in Sonoma County and SSU students attended to learn and speak their voices of concerns about the recent changes in the environment. President Judy Sakaki welcomed everyone and discussed the recent changes to Sonoma State on making it environmentally friendly. She welcomed Congressman Mike Thompson, and the panel hoping changes will happen. Congressman Mike Thompson expressed the Green New Deal was a start as well a new bill to end tax provision. He discussed how Sonoma County fires were so destructive that they burned down 14,000 homes costing up to $17 million. He has also pointed out the heat in the summer has gone up 2 degrees and will continue to go up if we don’t make changes.
“In terms of raising awareness of different factors of our society that climate change effects such as our healthcare system especially. I do believe this meeting made a difference, and the variety of the panelists was a big part of that. So overall I would say the town hall made a big difference today,” said Lily O’ Toole, an SSU student who believed the town hall meeting was an eye-opening experience.
The students and the community listened to four people on the panel all of whom play a different part in addressing climate change. Congressman Mike Thompson introduced Dr. Javi Hernandez, a professor at Sonoma State, Dr. Anne Thrupp who worked with the environmental and organic movement, Dr. Joshua Weil, an ER doctor at Kaiser Hospital, and Kate Rumey whose a high school senior at Sonoma Academy working for School for Climate Action.
All four of the panel members were able to express their beliefs on how climate change was a significant issue and needed to be established. At the end of all the speeches, everyone had a chance to ask the panel questions and to express how they feel. Before the end of the meeting, Kate Rumey said, “We have to turn the hopeful side of things. The youth can’t fight on their own. They need adult help. We must do this together.”