Outside the Santa Barbara Courthouse Wednesday, 50 University of California students raised a 12-foot homemade wind turbine before recognizing Rep. Lois Capps as a “hero” for her leadership in working to solve climate change. The students, clad in bright orange T-shirts inscribed with the words “climate heroes,” are traveling the state during their spring break to garner support for the passage of national global warming legislation during President Obama’s first 100 days of office and to talk to local elected officials about the issue.
Appropriately enough, the group stopped in Santa Barbara on an unusually warm day to present Capps with a mini-green cape encased in a black frame. “Like you, I want to focus America’s energy policy on innovation and clean energy technology,” said Capps in a statement read by Jonathon Saur, district field rep., who accepted the green cape on behalf of Capps. “This change will put America on a path to solving global warming, creating jobs, and stimulating economic growth through new ways of thinking.”
John Haberstroh, a freshman at UCSB, said he decided to join the 2009 Climate Hero Tour organized by advocacy group CalPIRG to see different parts of the state and to try to educate people about climate change. The students are trying to generate support for a bill authored by California Rep. Henry Waxman, chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, that would make California’s landmark global warming standard on emissions a national standard. “I see no reason to be against it. Just foolishness and lack of information,” Haberstroh said.
UCSB Earth Science professor Ed Keller and Nobel Prize-winning Chemistry and Biochemistry professor Walter Kohn also spoke at the gathering about the importance and urgency of addressing global warming. “We have time to stop global warming,” said Keller, “but we can’t wait 50 years to do it.”