December 14, 2016

Dr. G’s #AGU16 Spotlight – a science pep rally by Gov. Jerry Brown

Posted by Laura Guertin

This doesn’t happen every day…. the California Governor’s office contacted AGU yesterday. The Governor wanted to come to speak to AGU scientists – tomorrow. There wasn’t much time to get the word out, but by 9:30AM this morning (Wednesday), Hall E in Moscone North was filled with a curious audience. It was also a very tired audience, being “hump day” of a Fall Meeting week filled with concerned conversations of “what’s next” with science, scientific data, presidential nominees, etc.

In walks Governor Jerry Brown. He is greeted by a standing ovation. He immediate begins speaking with such honest passion and determination for climate science “sanity, sustainability, and truth.” There were cheers, there was more applause… and some classic lines:

  • It is up to you [scientists] to fight back as truth tellers and truth seekers.
  • In California, we have scientists, we have lawyers, and we’re ready to fight
  • Whatever Washington thinks they are doing, California is the future
  • This is about real people, real life… we will stay the course, and the truth will prevail

The news of Governor Brown’s speech and its content has traveled fast. The Governor’s Press Office and EOS already have summaries of his speech online. ABC7 News Bay Area was there to cover the event and included it on the evening news.

But please – I encourage you to take the 20 minutes to watch this speech. (be sure to listen for the satellite comment….probably the statement most tweeted/retweeted)

Gov. Brown’s most memorable line for me…. “Some people need a heart attack to stop smoking… maybe we just had our heart attack to fight climate.”

Gov. Brown entered a room of tired/sad/angry/confused scientists and left the room with energized/excited/empowered/ready-to-fight (yet still concerned) scientists. This was the pep rally our entire community needed, and a voice that said what we already knew but needed to hear – “keep writing your papers and doing your research…join with others, work boldly and work together, and don’t underestimate who you are and what you can do.”

So the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting will be held in New Orleans next year…. OK, Governor John Bel Edwards, you have 20,000+ Earth and space scientists “knocking on your door” when we come to Louisiana in December 2017. What message do you have for us? You will find us very receptive to hearing about what Louisiana is doing currently and how Louisiana is preparing for future climate change.