The Cal State Long Beach Office of Sustainability, with support from the President’s Commission on Sustainability, is at the helm of the CSU-wide recognition of Sustainability Month this October. From learning how to reduce food waste to hearing from leading sustainability experts, the virtual events will focus on the intersection of social, racial and environmental justice.
This year’s theme is particularly relevant as the nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, reckoning with racial injustice and the impacts of climate change, said CSULB Sustainability Coordinator Holli Fajack.
“We wanted to add something meaningful to the conversations about issues that are at the front of so many of our minds right now,” Fajack said. “Our goal is to facilitate a dialogue that can hopefully help our students better understand how these issues overlap, introduce them to inspiring leaders on the front lines of change, and empower them to make a difference in their own lives and communities through personal action and civic engagement.”
Sustainability officers across the CSU have put together a shared calendar of events throughout the month. For its part, the CSULB Sustainability Office has taken the lead on an Oct. 20 virtual event, “Why Your Vote Matters,” featuring Secretary of State Alex Padilla, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Melissa Romero, ‘15, who is the legislative manager for the California League of Conservation Voters.
The live Q&A panel discussion will focus on the importance of civic and community engagement and will educate participants about 2020 ballot initiatives that will have an impact in their communities and on the environment.
“What’s possible for climate policy has everything to do with who shows up to vote and who has access to voting to decide who represents them in elected office,” Romero said. “From the federal level, to the state level, to the local level, voters have an incredible opportunity to elect the leaders who will be in office over the next decade who have a responsibility to boldly and swiftly address the climate and the many systemic inequalities like racism which have caused this crisis.”
The Sustainability Month line-up also gives students, faculty and staff the opportunity to hear three activists speak during the “Climate Justice = Social Justice” events, which explore the intersection of people, the planet and power.
Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate and Community Revitalization for the National Wildlife Foundation, will present a live keynote address and Q&A session to kick off the series from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5. There will also be a live panel discussion moderated by CSU Chico AS President Breanna “Bre” Holbert, featuring environmental activists Leah Thomas and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14.