There’s a group called Focus the Nation that is trying to move climate change into American schools and universities. They are holding a national teach-in this week, and many institutions appear to be participating.
I’m a bit discouraged that I didn’t find out about this effort except through the university-wide events calendar; neither the departmental channels nor blog channels gave me any clue.
Still the approach here seems promising. I hope this event has been more visible to students than it was to me.
From their “About” page:
In the next few years, we as a nation will make, or fail to make, critical decisions regarding global warming pollution and clean technology investments. These decisions will have far-reaching and irreversible impacts on the lives of today’s students and the lives of their children. At this moment in time, we owe our young people at least a day of focused discussion about global warming solutions for America.
Focus the Nation is organizing a national teach-in on global warming solutions for America—creating a dialogue at over a thousand colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, places of worship, civic organizations and businesses, and directly engaging millions of students and citizens with the nation’s decision-makers. Focus the Nation will culminate January 31st, 2008 in simultaneous educational symposia held across the country. Our intent is to move America beyond fatalism to a determination to face up to this civilizational challenge, the challenge of our generation.
Focus the Nation is an educational initiative, but we also promote civic engagement. Each Focus team will invite local, state and federal political leaders and decision-makers to come to campus and participate in a non-partisan, round-table discussion of global warming solutions. US Senators and members of congress, state representatives, mayors and city councilors, all will be receiving dozens of invitations to speak about global warming, from over a thousand institutions nation-wide. Every institution will also vote on their top five national priorities for global warming action, producing a campus and citizen endorsed policy agenda for 2008.
Currently over 1000 institutions, mostly colleges and universities, have signed on to participate, and dozens of college and university Presidents have endorsed the initiative. To maximize both education and civic engagement, Focus the Nation has four key components:
NATIONAL TEACH-IN: On January 31st , thousands of students on every campus, millions of students nationwide, participate in workshops and panels, brainstorming global warming solutions. Are you with us? Are your faculty supporting you? Ask ten, twenty, fifty faculty to stand up as educators on behalf of your future. They will say yes. To make this happen, start with the sample teach-in.
Update: I hope your experience was better than mine. The UT never got the stream working.
(Younger people had much more elaborate theories than old people. Old people: “I often have trouble getting Flash to work”; young people: “for some reason it’s defaulting to Windows Media rather than Flash; there’s too many people connecting; finally (this one really doesn’t work for me but it’s the consensus process at work) it’s defaulting to Windows Media because too many people are connecting…)
Anyway, except for the hardly surprising fact gleaned from informal conversation than earnest young greenies tend to be innumerate, (there was a great deal of talk in the bull session they tried to pull together in lieu of the webcast about selling special backpacks with solar panels mounted on them; also there is some project about the 9th ward in New Orleans that “Fergie has lent her name to” that has a lot of “star power”) I have nothing to report.
I hate to say we’re doomed but if the UT experience is any indication we’re in big trouble.
The whole thing was rushed, ill-planned, and poorly promoted. I guess it’s best that it was ill-promoted; else more people would have been inconvenienced.
If a top 20 CS school can’t pull this sort of thing off, I have to wonder about the other 1399 schools. Anyone have more success than we did?
Anyway I presently have no more idea what the content of the presentation was than I did this morning.