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Coming to a campus near you: focus the nation joins schools in climate change collaboration.

LuAnne Thompson is in an ideal position to champion a grassroots global warming global warming, the gradual increase of the temperature of the earth's lower atmosphere as a result of the increase in greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution.  initiative. A professor of oceanography oceanography, study of the seas and oceans. The major divisions of oceanography include the geological study of the ocean floor (see plate tectonics) and features; physical oceanography, which is concerned with the physical attributes of the ocean water, such as  at the University of Washington, Thompson teaches a graduate class on climate dynamics Climate Dynamics is an international academic journal for the publication of research on the dynamics of the global climate system. First published in 1986, it has long provided a forum for the discussion of global warming, climate modeling, and the behavior of the biomass.  and works for an institution that has chosen Elizabeth Kolbert's climate change classic, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, as its 2007 "common book," which every incoming freshman is required to read.


Now Thompson is embarking on another global warming-related challenge. She is one of hundreds of faculty members around the country participating in Focus the Nation, an ambitious organizing project that is coordinating teams of teachers and students at more than 1,000 educational institutions to engage in a collaborative discussion about solutions to global warming. A year-long event, Focus the Nation will culminate culminate, in astronomy, the maximum height in the sky reached by a celestial body on a given day. At the culminate the body is crossing the observer's celestial meridian and is said to be in upper transit.  in a January 31 symposium next year at colleges nationwide.

Universities have "a huge role" to play in raising public awareness about climate change, says Thompson. Colleges not only have the credibility to discuss the complex set of issues linked to global warming, she says, they also provide direct access to the young people poised to inherit a radically changing environment. "We created this problem," Thompson says. "It's theirs to fix."

Focus the Nation will allow universities around the country to pool resources to inspire students--and the public at large--to take direct political action.

Over the past few years, grassroots climate change initiatives have proliferated. These include the nationwide rallying effort, Step it Up, which took place last April;, a Hollywood-sponsored virtual march; and the Campus Climate Challenge, which organizes students on college campuses and high schools to promote clean energy policies at their schools. Add to that dozens of local efforts sponsored by Sierra Club Sierra Club, national organization in the United States dedicated to the preservation and expansion of the world's parks, wildlife, and wilderness areas. Founded (1892) in California by a group led by the Scottish-American conservationist John Muir, the Sierra Club  chapters, churches and Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), and the picture that emerges is of a diffuse but expanding 21st century social movement.

Focus the Nation, says Eban Goodstein, the executive director of the organizing project, "is the teach-in of a social movement."

An economics professor at Lewis & Clark College Clark College: see Atlanta Univ. Center.  in Portland, Oregon, Goodstein also ran the Greenhouse Network in the 1990s, a nonprofit that trained people to educate their communities about climate change. Goodstein says his sense of personal urgency--he has two daughters---coupled with increasingly alarming scientific reports, motivated him to launch the Focus the Nation initiative during his 2006/07 sabbatical year sabbatical year
1. A leave of absence, often with pay, usually granted every seventh year, as to a college professor, for travel, research, or rest.


"Focus the Nation isn't just education--it's civic education," Goodstein says. Timed to coincide with the 2008 presidential campaign, the January symposium will culminate in a campus-endorsed agenda and a student roundtable with national political leaders.

"We want to mobilize large numbers of people to put national legislation--a Climate Act--at the forefront of American politics," Goodstein says.

As of June 2007, more than 500 colleges and high schools had signed on to Focus the Nation--about halfway to the intended goal of 1,000. The initiative also includes business, church and civic organizations and aims to move beyond the science to include the diverse human impacts linked to global warming.

At the University of Washington event, for example, two plenary plenary adj. full, complete, covering all matters, usually referring to an order, hearing or trial.

PLENARY. Full, complete.
 talks will address both the science and policy dimensions of climate change. There will be panel discussions on climate solutions, a town meeting with political leaders and an exhibition space featuring art, music and student work. "We have a lot of intellectual resources at the UW," says Thompson. "It's an opportunity for us to build relations with--and influence--the community"

At Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, organizers have confirmed several keynote speakers for the January symposium, including climate change researcher Richard Alley Dr. Richard B. Alley (1957-present) is an American geologist and Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University. He has authored more than 170 refereed scientific publications about the relationships between Earth's cryosphere and global climate change and  and New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Times environmental correspondent Andrew Revkin. There will be a presentation by artist and environmental activist Sara Steele, and Ursinus students will partner with a local high school in drafting legislation to present to policy makers. Senators Arlen Spector and Robert Casey are among the politicians who have been invited to the roundtable.

"There is a lot of moral support at the college for engaging climate change issues" says Rich Wallace, a professor of environmental issues and co-chair of the event. "Our goal is to show students how to tackle these issues practically."

Carlos Rymer, an undergraduate member of a Focus the Nation group at Cornell, says the university already has an active "Beyond Kyoto" student organization. The group claimed a major success last year when Cornell's president signed the American College American College is the name of:
  • American College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  • The American College in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • The American College of the Immaculate Conception, Leuven (also known as Louvain), Belgium
 and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which requires institutions to analyze their carbon footprint A carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases emitted over the full life cycle of a product or service.  within two years,

The advantage of Focus the Nation, Rymer says, is that "it lets us go outside of campus to influence policy at a national level." The Cornell team is now working with other Ivy League Ivy League

Group of eight universities in the northeastern U.S., high in academic and social prestige, that are members of an athletic conference for intercollegiate gridiron football dating to the 1870s.
 schools to sponsor a presidential candidate's forum. Participants will be asked to approve a set of climate change policy recommendations.

Goodstein, who recently completed a memoir titled Fighting for Love in the Century of Extinction (University Press of New England The University Press of New England (or UPNE), founded in 1970, is a university press that is supported by Brandeis University, Dartmouth College (where it is located), the University of New Hampshire, Northeastern University, Tufts University and the University of Vermont. ), has spent the year traveling the country to raise support for Focus the Nation. "He's done a terrific job of transforming a very diffuse group of universities, organizations and individuals from a cacophony of noise toward a more coherent ensemble comprising more than the sum of its parts," says Brian Smoliak, a graduate student in atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.


Smoliak has attended two Focus the Nation organizing conferences--one in Portland and one in Las Vegas Las Vegas (läs vā`gəs), city (1990 pop. 258,295), seat of Clark co., S Nev.; inc. 1911. It is the largest city in Nevada and the center of one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the United States. . A veteran of Step it Up and Campus Climate Challenge actions, he says that because of its emphasis on political dialogue, Focus the Nation has the capacity to bridge the gap between existing, disparate global warming activist efforts.

Goodstein says faculty can be notoriously territorial about their academic disciplines. "This issue has the potential to break down silos and have educators own up to their very explicit responsibility in terms of preparing kids for this new future," he says.

"In 2100, the world could be 10.5 degrees hotter than it is now" Goodstein says. It's a post-peak oil, postwater shortage world, it's tribalistic politics, and it's not a place that we want for our children or grandchildren GRANDCHILDREN, domestic relations. The children of one's children. Sometimes these may claim bequests given in a will to children, though in general they can make no such claim. 6 Co. 16. ." But he says a second world is possible, one in which "we rewire re·wire  
v. re·wired, re·wir·ing, re·wires
To provide with new wiring: rewired the old house.

To install new wiring.
 the planet with clean energy solutions and create millions of jobs and lay the foundation for a just and sustainable society."

CONTACT: Focus the Nation, (503) 342-6863, Baker
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Title Annotation:CURRENTS
Author:Baker, Linda
Date:Sep 1, 2007
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