Gov. Jay Inslee joined students at the University of Washington - and several other campuses around the state via videoconference - for a conversation on climate change this week.
The event, which allowed students to pose questions to the governor, was hosted by the College of the Environment and Dean Lisa Graumlich. Inslee had recently returned from the COP21 Climate Change talks in Paris, which led to an international agreement to combat climate change.
"What happened in Paris is a chance for us to succeed. It's not a done deal. It's set the stage for what we have to accomplish," Inslee said.
Students from UW Seattle, UW Tacoma, Western Washington University, WSU Vancouver, WSU Spokane and Evergreen State College were able to ask questions of the governor. Topics included plans around export terminals and fossil fuel infrastructure, how to work to increase the state's solar power, what current students can do to fight climate change, and how to make sure any solutions don't increase the burden on disadvantaged and low income populations.
Inslee had his own question for the students. The governor wanted to know what their generation thinks older generations might be missing when it comes to climate change. Students pointed out differences in ecological mindsets and media messages.
In the forefront of the discussion was the importance of addressing climate change now.
"Climate change is not something in the future, it's something in our present," Inslee said. "We're experiencing it today."