What led an actor, a author and an investor to dedicate their lives to combatting local weather change? Jane Fonda, Tom Steyer and Invoice McKibben shared private insights from their diverging backgrounds in a Monday speak that emphasised the significance of local weather activism and the financial advantages of fresh power.
The audio system gathered for the climate-focused installment of adjunct professor James Steyer’s one-unit speaker sequence, EDUC 64: “Shaping America’s Future: Exploring the Key Points on Our Path to the 2024 Elections.”
The audio system made frequent reference to Stanford’s position in local weather change. McKibben criticized the College’s refusal to divest from fossil fuels: “It’s a shame that Stanford continues to attempt to revenue from the tip of the world.”
A journalist and activist, McKibben was born in Palo Alto and now teaches at Middlebury School. He wrote “The Finish of Nature,” a landmark e-book on local weather change, in 1989. He additionally based 350.org, the primary world grassroots local weather marketing campaign, and Third Act, a company that encourages individuals over 60 to take part in local weather activism.
McKibben additionally criticized the Stanford Pure Gasoline Initiative for “greenwashing” the world’s “most harmful” business.
McKibben additionally known as on tenured professors to place their place “to good use,” calling them “essentially the most bulletproof individuals in your complete world.”
Fonda, who has a protracted historical past of political engagement and wrote the 2020 e-book “What Can I Do? The Path From Local weather Despair to Motion,” was optimistic concerning the energy of scholar activism at Stanford. She inspired college students to “stand up” for divestment and “paved the way” in opposing an upcoming California referendum. The 2024 referendum would reverse SB 1137, a regulation that forestalls oil and gasoline drilling close to properties, hospitals and colleges.
The audio system disagreed on the Biden administration’s response to local weather change. Whereas Fonda stated that Biden’s local weather response has been missing in comparison with his marketing campaign guarantees, Tom Steyer felt “way more optimistic,” citing the 2022 Inflation Discount Act (IRA) as an “wonderful” step for US local weather management.
McKibben stated Biden’s approval of an oil drilling undertaking in Willow, Alaska was “brutal and silly.”
The audio system additionally highlighted the significance of voting, citing Stanford’s low voter participation within the 2016 election. Fonda emphasised the necessity to vote out local weather deniers and put “local weather champions” on the poll, a objective that she helps by way of the Jane Fonda Local weather PAC.
Tom Steyer, James Steyer’s brother, targeted extra on the economics of combating local weather change. Tom Steyer labored as an investor earlier than transferring to philanthropy and local weather advocacy, along with a short presidential marketing campaign in 2020.
Whereas local weather statistics are “shockingly horrible,” Tom Steyer stated, “We truly are able to win this.” He pointed to scientific advances and the present adoption of fresh power and electrical autos.
Tom Steyer stated that clear power should “win within the market” by offering higher, cheaper merchandise. He argued that fossil fuels look low cost because of subsidies, however clear power is extra reasonably priced in the long term.
Each Tom Steyer and McKibben championed the potential of photo voltaic panels, which McKibben known as a “water into wine miracle” for reasonably priced clear power. They see photo voltaic panels as the apparent front-runner to produce the world’s power, impeded solely by fossil gas corporations which might be lobbying authorities officers.
“Don’t sleep with any guys who don’t hate fossil fuels,” Fonda stated.
Evan Engel J.D. ’24, one of many course’s TA’s, recommended Fonda’s “unimaginable power.” Whereas most of the course’s talks are about high-level, conceptual concepts, Monday’s speak felt “tangible” and “instantly impactful,” Engel stated.
A number of viewers members discovered the speak related to their work.
“One of many issues that was an ‘aha’ second for me was once they had been speaking about how one can speak to individuals about local weather,” stated Kim Sponem, CEO of Summit Credit score Union and member of International Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), referring to Tom Steyer’s feedback on speaking with local weather deniers. Tom Steyer really helpful emphasizing the financial prices of digging extra fossil fuels every month versus a long-lasting photo voltaic panel.
“I feel what we heard immediately is clearly an urgency” for local weather motion, stated Martin Rohner, GABV’s government director. “If we’re not capable of reveal that there’s a enterprise mannequin in it, or that it’s reasonably priced to the typical client, we’re not going to have the ability to obtain change and on the pace that we want it.”