On October 2-3, Cal Poly’s Initiative for Climate Leadership and Resilience (ICLR) held its inaugural public event, a virtual conference called Climate Solutions Now. The event featured over 110 speakers in 12 different parallel tracks, including Agriculture, Alternative Energy, Transportation, and many others. Over 600 attendees joined the event. Most were from Cal Poly and the San Luis Obispo area, but there were also folks from other campuses and from local governments around the state, the eastern seaboard, and even a few from the Caribbean, Europe, Brazil, and southern and southeastern Asia.
Keynote speakers were:
- Heidi Harmon, former San Luis mayor and current member of the Romero Institute;
- Joel Rogers, the Noam Chomsky Professor of Law, Political Science, Public Affairs, and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison;
- Tianyi Sun, Climate Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund
- Lorenzo Kristov, Principal Market Architect at CA ISO and research fellow at Rocky Mountain Institute.
Other organizations represented at the conference included technical experts from Vistra, ThorCon, CalCAN, Carbon Farming Institute, Ecdysis Foundation, and SDG&E’s electric vehicle team. Many speakers from industry and local government discussed challenges and successes of working toward sustainability goals inside existing business structures and emphasized the importance of bringing climate mitigation and adaptation into daily operating procedure, regardless of industry sector or original job description. There was also a strong presence from local groups (Cal Poly and the SLO community) showcasing their achievements and opportunities for new engagement in action, activism, or advocacy.
The event generated sufficient funding to support the 2nd annual Climate Solutions Now, which will be held in mid-October 2022. In addition to being a fundraiser for ICLR, the conference will continue to elevate the good climate work being done in the region, to inspire other communities around the country, and to demonstrate to students that they can become a climate champion, regardless of training or career path.
Associate Professor, Mathematics Dept.
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo