Nation's youth speak out during Campus Climate Event

Largest Teach-in in U.S. History Tackles Global Warming Solutions 1,100 Campuses Nationwide Join Forces to Educate and Demand Change

01-16-2008 // Julian Keniry

PORTLAND, OR and RESTON, VA -- On Jan. 31, more than 1100 colleges and universities from all 50 states will participate in Focus the Nation--an unprecedented teach-in on solutions to global warming that will simultaneously educate and energize close to 1 million young adults. A live web cast produced by the National Wildlife Federation from the University of Central Florida on Jan. 30 will launch Focus the Nation as the largest teach-in in U.S. history, galvanizing an inter-generational partnership for the first time since the civil rights movement of the 1960's.

According to Dr. Eban Goodstein, founder and director of Focus the Nation and professor of economics at Lewis & Clark College in Oregon, no other generation has had to face a threat as significant as global warming. "We would be failing as educators if we did not prepare them with the tools necessary to meet this challenge," said Goodstein.

Organizers for Focus the Nation at Missouri State will truck 15 tons of coal onto their campus to demonstrate what one hour of power looks like. California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo already has 125 faculty signed up who will address solutions to global warming in their classes and at campus symposiums. More than 50 members of Congress will video-dialogue with campuses during the day in a carbon-zero conversation with young voters, including Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), chair of Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

"We are at a critical time when decisions need to be made on tackling the threats imposed by global warming," says Gus Speth, Dean of Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. "Today's youth who are inheriting this crisis need serious education on the issue and Focus the Nation has created a forum for learning and interaction with law makers."

The 2% Solution web cast on Jan. 30 will focus on the need to decrease carbon emissions by two percent each year for the next 40 years to reach the goal scientists advocate of 80 percent reduction by 2050. It will feature segments from actor and activist Edward Norton, Florida Governor Charlie Crist (pending availability) and Stanford University and international climate scientist Stephen Schneider.

A live panel discussion during the web cast will feature Hunter Lovins, chief executive of Natural Capitalism; Van Jones, green jobs pioneer and president of the Ella Baker Center in Oakland; Dr. Penelope Canaan, professor of sociology at the University of Central Florida; and Praween Dayanada with the Energy Action Coalition and a recent graduate of Pomona College.

"Focus the Nation's teach-in and the preceding web cast will provide the opportunity for our nation's youth to become leaders in the battle against the most significant threat of our time." said Julian Keniry, Director of Campus Leadership for the National Wildlife Federation. "These events will challenge young people to develop solutions to protect the world from the devastating impact of global warming."

During the web cast, participants will be able to send in cell phone text messages on how they would spend $100 billion in a clean energy revolution. Messages will be visible on the Earthday Network TV, who will broadcast The 2% Solution web cast. The teach-in on Jan. 31 will culminate with round-table discussions between students and elected officials before asking all participants to vote on their top five solutions on the Choose Your Future ballot.

"As traditional hubs of innovation, colleges and universities have always helped our country move forward," says Kevin Coyle, Vice President of Education for the National Wildlife Federation. "Focus the Nation is providing a nationwide campus forum that brings young innovative minds together to seek solutions and demand change for a cleaner energy future."

For more information on Focus the Nation, please visit www.focusthenation.org

Press Contact:
Garett Reiss Brennan--Focus the Nation--503-768-7990, garett@focusthenation.org

Julian Keniry--National Wildlife Federation-- 703-438-6322, Keniry@nwf.org

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Focus The Nation is an unprecedented educational initiative on global warming solutions for America occurring at more than 1,000 universities and colleges and in all 50 states on Jan. 31, 2008. As the largest teach-in in U.S. history, Focus The Nation is preparing millions of students to become leaders in the largest civilizational challenge any generation has faced. For more information, please visit www.focusthenation.org.

National Wildlife Federation's Campus Ecology Program was established in 1989 to work with college and university campuses (students, faculty, administrators, and managers) to promote sustainability and climate-positive action both on campus and in the surrounding community.

The National Wildlife Federation is the nation's largest member-supported conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.

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