Participating in the United Nations climate talks in Lima, Peru, it's encouraging to see the strong presence and influence of our youth across the world who are calling for strong action to protect our environment. A driving force for me in the battle against climate change is the need to leave a better world for our children. Here in Lima I've met school children from Peruvian neighborhoods and other countries, and I also was able to connect with the students in my own district back in Los Angeles.
On Wednesday, I engaged with about 100 students from the Eco Club and School for Environmental Studies at John Marshall High School in the Los Feliz community via a Skype video call. In October, I was at their campus with Governor Brown and Tom Steyer celebrating the success of Proposition 39 - the Clean Energy Jobs Act - which is investing $2.5 billion in energy retrofits at schools all across the state over five years.
We were all impressed with the students at Marshall High who had already been working with their teacher Ms. Emile Hill and Principal Patty Heideman to learn about the $1.2 million energy retrofit investments from Prop. 39 that are expected to reduce the school's electricity bill by over $100,000 every year. These students are excited to learn about how they can put science to work to benefit the environment, provide energy savings, and create jobs in the advanced economy.
My video chat conversation assured me of the bright future of our state. The students had lots of questions about the climate negotiations and the role of California in demonstrating what can be done to help clean up the air and battle global climate change. These are students who know first-hand the health impacts of smog and soot pollution, including asthma which is the leading cause of school absenteeism. They live in neighborhoods along busy freeways in the country's most air polluted basin. But these students aren't sitting back, they are taking action locally, getting informed and preparing to lead our state to a brighter future.
They also had questions about the current drought California is experiencing and actions they could take. We agreed that our efforts to tackle climate change requires that the voices of our youth are heard. We owe it to them, after all they will inherit the planet we leave them.