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CleanTech Incubator CEO Matt Petersen encourages sustainability at LBSU

October is a month filled with fun frights, pumpkin spice and potentially – sustainability. Long Beach State’s Office of Sustainability is providing students with free, environmentally-aware programs all month long.

“The Future of Higher Education’s Role in Saving the Planet” was the first event to kick-off “Sustainability Month” held in the University Student Union Ballroom Tuesday. Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator CEO Matt Peterson spoke to a crowd of 55 people, the majority of whom were students, to share his views on what direction the university can head toward in terms of becoming more eco-friendly.

This event, sponsored by The Beach Pride Center and Beach 2030, was held in preparation for the university’s “Imagine Beach 2030” — an upcoming online event aiming to create a conversation about the university’s future 11 years from now. Part of this conversation includes getting students and faculty members to speak about issues such as water conservation, solar energy and electrical vehicle use among other topics regarding sustainability.

“We cannot live on this planet and thrive, and have a healthy economy, a good job and make decent wages, and buy a home, unless we’ve got a thriving planet,” Peterson said. “Unless it’s providing all those amazing things that the planet Earth provides to us.”

During the two-hour event, Peterson walked the audience through his achievements in providing sustainable environmental solutions, as a way of inspiring students to become involved in the way LBSU deals with environmental issues. He aimed to embolden students to create new solutions for the planet’s countless environmental issues, which include climate change and air pollution caused by diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles.

Peterson encouraged students to draw inspiration from his award-winning “Sustainable City pLAn.” The plan, which serves as a thorough roadmap for the future of Los Angeles’ overall sustainability, aims to help LA become more environmentally friendly, economically-successful and socially equitable over the next 20 years. According to the Sustainable City pLAn’s official website, “L.A. reduced its city-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 11 percent, equivalent to taking 737,000 cars off the road.” The plan also provided environmental justice for low-income communities. For instance, The City of Watts was awarded $35 million in funding for revitalization projects which include affordable housing and clean energy projects.

“The mayor of LA, and other mayors, have made the joke [that] there should be an award for whoever’s done the best job of stealing someone else’s idea. Because that’s really what we should all be doing. We should be taking other campus’ ideas, other cities’ ideas,” Peterson said. “There are hopefully ideas in The Sustainable City pLAn you could draw from for Beach 2030 [and] other universities that might inspire you. You adopt it, adapt it and make it work for this campus and for the future of this great university.”

According to the Office of Sustainability’s website, sustainability is more than simply providing environmental solutions. It includes social structures, economic systems and “consideration of the future.” This involves matters such as solar energy, biodiversity and chemical cycling.

“I really liked this event as whole,” said Eddie Rangel, first year mechanical engineering major. “The speaker was very helpful. I definitely got exposed more to different things happening around campus — things I can do personally.”

The event ended with a call to action for students to become more involved in LBSU’s efforts to become more sustainable. “Imagine Beach 2030” will take place from 8:00 a.m. on Nov. 14 to 11:59 p.m. Nov. 15 at www.csulb.edu/imagine.

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