Westminster College students discussed political activism and the outdoors with guest speaker Bill Barron at the Climate Solutions event held in Malouf 201, on Wednesday.
Barron, a veteran ski patroller and advocate for bi-partisan action on climate change, talked with students about his concerns for the environment and his experience running for office.
Barron said he has always been passionate about the outdoors and over time had become more and more concerned with climate issues. He said his primary goal was to advocate for a climate solution that matched the scale of the problem.
Barron is a member of Citizens Climate, an international grassroots environmental group that trains and supports volunteers to build relationships with their elected representatives in order to influence climate policy.
He said he saw that candidates for public office were not talking about climate change. And unable to stand by, he said he took a giant step outside his comfort zone and decided to run for federal office.
“Somebody has to take a stand,” Barron said.
In each run for office, Barron campaigned by bike riding to spread awareness.
In 2012, he rode 1,200 miles through Utah from the Idaho border to the Arizona state line. In 2014, he rode 650 miles through Utah’s 2nd District ending his ride in Capitol Reef. He road a total of 1,850 miles over the two campaigns.
“The man’s grit is incredible,” said Davis Lentz, a senior marketing major. “To bike for so long without much support behind you and still working as hard as you can for what you want is a very cool thing.”
Although he did not win those elections, Barron said success for him was using his platform to encourage the people of Utah to lead with their votes and take meaningful action.
Students at the event said it is important to remind everyone that they should care about climate change.
“If there were any time to make a change, it would be right now,” said Mike Mastromarino, a senior finance major. “Most people at this school love skiing [or] snowboarding more than anything and it would be a shame to watch that all go away.”