Last night, members of the Poly community had the amazing opportunity to hear Aaron Fyke speak. Fyke is the founder or co-founder of six companies that address sustainable solutions to climate change, a trained engineer, and an adjunct lecturer at USC. In his presentation, he addressed the problems stemming from climate change, solutions, and recent positive developments.
Fyke discussed the scientific side of climate change and its effects, which he acknowledged was quite depressing. He presented one shocking statistic after another; this first half of his presentation concluded that “the greatest direct cost for an average climate change greater than 2.5 degrees Celsius is the burden of excessive mortality.” In other words, if the temperature increases more than two-and-a-half degrees, we can expect a staggering loss of life. He then addressed the progress we’ve made in the right direction and prospects for the future. He talked about everything from the exponential growth of sustainable energy due to plummeting prices to the fact that electric cars are on track to be more cost-efficient than their gasoline counterparts in the next five years. His passionate excitement about the progress and innovation happening clearly had a huge impact on the entire audience. He pointed out that we do not have to wait for politicians to make changes: We can join the many organizations and companies that are moving to embrace clean energies. He inspired the students in the audience to seriously consider one of the career paths he mentioned, which ranged from journalist to engineer, and further enforced the fact that climate change is an interdisciplinary issue.
Overall Fyke's acknowledgment of both the intimidating and downright frightening aspects of climate change made for a much more productive conversation, and his extensive knowledge and passion for the subject engaged the audience. He inspired us to take action by imploring that “we are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last who have the chance to do anything about it.”