Teach-in will raise awareness on global climate change
Gov. Bill Ritter and Chancellor Bud Peterson will speak about their plans to make Colorado and CU more environmentally friendly at a national teach-in on global climate change and solutions hosted by CU on Wednesday, Jan. 30 and Thursday Jan 31.
The goal of the nation-wide Focus the Nation event, officials said, is to allow for every student on campus to get involved with climate change awareness and the methods that could help slow carbon emissions immediately.
“The most critical things our peers underestimate are the time scale and immediacy,” Galen Brown, coordinator for Focus the Nation, said. “I want students to be open-minded about climate change and take away something about it they didn’t know before.”
Focus the Nation will have a variety of events from concerts to lectures and classroom discussions to encourage peer-to-peer debate. These events will not only concentrate on the facts already known but also the social and economic impacts CU students may face in the near future.
Ritter will kickoff Focus the Nation with his plans to localize the direction of Colorado’s energy resource money. Along with Ritter, Chancellor G.P. “Bud” Peterson will also speak on plans to make CU completely carbon neutral within the next 50 years at 9 a.m. in Old Main Chapel on Thursday.
“The most exciting part of this event is probably the solution aspect of it,” UCSU environmental board co-chair Vinnie Nappo said. “But we will also talk about things like renewable energy efficiencies, public transportation and sustainable buildings.”
One of events includes a performance by “Debajo Del Agua a Latin hip-hop group who will perform along side of a slide-show of facts and photos of those indigenous cultures that are most threatened by climate change.
“Island states that are low lined at nearly 15 feet above sea level are at the highest risk of loosing their entire cultures; some are literally melting into the oceans,” Nappo said.
UCSU Environment Sustainability Director Amy Harris added that poorer nations don’t have the capability to deal with climate change as the U.S. does.
“Places like Malasia, India, Africa; these countries will experience heavy (consequences) which will heavily impact the poor cultures of these nations first and foremost,” Harris said. “The US has the resources to deal with climate change to a certain extent, but what about those who are already displaced, or those who will be infected by disease?”
The economic impact of climate change will also be addressed at the “2 Percent Solution” event that will discuss the need to establish green jobs for the future.
“Now we don’t need coal or other sustainable types of industries, we want to create ‘green collar jobs’ to take the place of previous blue-collar jobs,” Nappo said.
Other events include a full-day screening of the “Planet Earth” series in the Fiske Planetarium, a Congressional debate between two candidates running for the Congressional District 2 race that will concentrate on climate change, as well as many other informational events around campus.
Because Focus the Nation is a teach-in, teachers from any department on campus are allowed to participate in any way they see fit for their particular class.
“Most who show up to events like these voluntarily are those students who are actively involved in an environmental group, but this event is a teach- in,” Brown said. “Students are already in class, so and audience is set up already.”
Nappo said he is optimistic about potential student response.
“I have heard so much of how everyone wants to know about a solution, I hope this provides people with a way to satisfy their curiosity to prevent or curve climate change and take advantage of the opportunity to discover specific actions students can take,” Nappo said.
To see the full list of events, visit the CU Focus the Nation Web site.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Alison Mesinger at Alison.firstname.lastname@example.org