Climate change was the core topic of conversation on Wednesday night when Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and City Council candidate Kshama Sawant spoke to students in Miller Hall. Councilmember Mike O’Brien also made a short appearance.
Divest UW and Confronting Climate Change, co-sponsors of the event, endorse both candidates and sought their support for their five-part climate change initiative, which they recently proposed to the Board of Regents in October.
Divest UW strives to encourage institutions to adopt greener finance and is calling for the university to divest from fossil fuel companies. The group asked McGinn to write a letter to the Board of Regents asking them to divest. McGinn instead suggested he express his support for divestment vocally, at Wednesday’s forum.
The Student Association for Green Environments and the UW Earth Club also sponsored the event.
McGinn was sure to clarify to the audience that the city does not rely on coal power and that economic efficiency does not correlate with increased energy use. McGinn said our economy can thrive without increasing our energy output.
Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative Party, is running against 16-year incumbent Richard Conlin for city council. Upon arrival, she thanked the Divest UW students for organizing the forum, telling the students to never doubt what they can do.
“That is what leadership is, being willing to make time for an issue you are really passionate about,” Sawant said.