Kerry, Schwartzenegger and Kasich on stage

Climate change is real, and it has had devastating effects. Antarctica reached record high temperatures in the 60s earlier in 2020. Pakistan reached a record high temperature of 125 degrees in 2019. These are some of the devastating effects in our climate.

“The Climate Issue has changed the way of life.” That is what actress and activist Erika Alexander said in her opening remarks as the moderator of the World War Zero Town Hall Discussion on Climate Change on March 8 at Otterbein University in Westerville.

World War Zero was brought to Otterbein on March 8, in partnership with Otterbein University and the Columbus Metropolitan Club. World War Zero, according to the official website, is “a coalition of people from all walks of life that are committed to addressing the climate crisis.”

Some of the big names that have enlisted in this initiative include billionaires, actors, politicians, and the three men who spoke about climate change at Otterbein – former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Ohio Governor John Kasich, and the man who launched this initiative, former Secretary of State John Kerry.

World War Zero’s message is simple: “The World must mobilize. We are at War for our future. And there is Zero time to waste.” The main goal of World War Zero is “to hold more than ten million “climate conversations” in 2020 with citizens across the political spectrum.”

“I am really thrilled to be joining the effort,” Kerry said.  When Kerry polled the audience and asked them if “Science is certain and the facts are there,” nearly every hand in the packed Cowan Hall Theatre was raised. The same audience, however, believed that government, businesses, and individuals were not doing enough to combat climate change.

“We have not had a far conservation (on climate change) in this country,” Kerry added. “We have 16-year-olds standing up for climate change.” Kerry referred to teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who launched a climate change revolution, who spoke out at World Political Leaders and the United Nations for not doing enough to combat climate change. “The deniers have declared a war on science, facts, and evidence,” Kerry said.

In the first two years of the Paris Agreement, signed by 196 countries in 2015, more money went to renewable alternative energy. Once President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement, Kerry said, “We weren’t able to get a mandatory agreement.” Other countries did not follow through in climate policies after the United States pulled out of the Agreement.

“The conversations (on climate policy) are just not happening today,” said former Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is currently a fellow at Otterbein University.

“I’m a believer that all policy change comes from the bottom up.” Kasich cited such movements as the Women’s Suffrage and Civil Rights Movements as examples of policy changes that began by the people. In his closing remarks at the end of the Town Hall, Kerry said, “Every great movement has had young people involved with idealism holding people accountable.”

Kerry added that the since the first efforts by the United Nations after the 1992 World Summit, there has not been follow through.

“In the last year, there has been an assault on reason, and a re-writing of laws by executive order,” Kerry said, adding that the Trump Administration has been fighting California’s environmental laws and putting more coal sludge into stream water. Kerry added, “Emissions are going up and this is going to be an emergency for the entire world.”

Climate change is not a political issue, but a non-partisan one, as all three men echoed. “There is no Republican or Democratic air, we all breathe the same air,” Schwarzenegger said. “There is no Republican or Democratic water, we all drink the same water.”

“Nothing gets done if both parties don’t get it done together,” Schwarzenegger added, citing the climate change policies that were implemented in California while he was California’s Governor, because Schwarzenegger made environmental issues a “non-political issue. “We’ve got to come together,” Schwarzenegger said.

“Our brains are wired for today. There aren’t wired for five years, ten years, twenty years from now,” Schwarzenegger added, acknowledging that temperatures will continue to rise if climate change is not addressed in an urgent and timely manner.

The roots of the current battle for climate change have gone back to the first celebration of Earth Day back in 1970. Kerry was involved in the first protests of Earth Day in 1970 when two million Americans protested over the quality of air. Kerry explained that there were twelve U.S. Congressmen that were labeled “The Dirty Dozen.” These were twelve Congressmen that were ranked as the worst when it came to environmental protection. “Four of the twelve (Members of “The Dirty Dozen”) were defeated in the next election.” Kerry added that both the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were created due to the accountability that was needed in Washington at that time.

For more information on World War Zero, go to