Local Leaders Inspire Community at CSUN Envisioning California Conference

  • Envisioning California panel.

    Nancy Steele, Patt Morrison, Kristy Michaud, Senator Fran Pavley and Alex Hall were among the featured guests at the Envisioning California event at CSUN. Photo credit to Rosalba Gonzalez.

The ongoing drought and the health and stability of California’s water supply have been headline grabbers for quite some time, especially during the past month. What better time to gather and discuss ways to address the impacts of climate change on Southern California?

That is exactly what the 2015 Envisioning California Lecture accomplished. California State University, Northridge’s Center for Southern California Studies hosted the event at the Grand Salon of the University Student Union.

The health and conservation of Southern California’s dwindling water supply should be a top priority for residents, city executives and lawmakers, according to the panelists: Alex Hall, a UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic studies; state Sen. Fran Pavley; and Nancy Steele, executive director of the Council for Watershed Health. Patt Morrison, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Los Angeles Times, led the panel discussion.

The conversation opened with an introduction by Morrison that included the current state of Southern California water health and information on typical methods of residential conservation. She then directed questions toward the panelists regarding their particular areas of expertise. Topics ranged from climate data and subsequent consequences of climate change — focusing on the ongoing Southern California drought — to legislative actions meant to address urban resilience, the theme of the conference.

“It was a very informative discussion filled with practical advice that audience members can use, and I am pleased with the positive and inspiring tone of the conversation,” said CSUN political science professor Kristy Michaud, director of the Center for Southern California Studies.

Each panelist offered substantial information on how to achieve these lofty goals, and they invited questions from the audience. Concerned community members did not hesitate to raise their concerns, which mirrored the concerns of many Los Angeles residents and were met with enthusiasm by the panelists.

“We received such a positive response from audience members, and the panelists were delighted to address a packed room full of engaged people,” said Michaud. “I’ve spoken to several people who shared with me some of what they took away from the event. One person has already contacted a landscape architect to remove their lawn and replace it with drought-tolerant landscaping.

“All of the panelists have offered to return to CSUN to continue the conversation, so we may schedule a follow-up event.”

For more information about the lecture or future events, go to http://www.csun.edu/center-for-southern-california-studies.

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