U to join global warming education event

By By Arthur Raymond

By Arthur Raymond

The U’s Academic Senate approved a resolution Wednesday, officially endorsing involvement with Focus the Nation, a national event promoting teach-ins and discussion on issues surrounding global warming. The resolution was sponsored by the U’s Office of Sustainability and the SEED student group.

Focus the Nation is a project created by the Green House Network, a non-profit group based in Portland, Ore., that is “committed to creating the grassroots movement needed to stop global warming.”

Alexandra Parvaz, director of the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center student group Sustainable Environments and Ecological Design, said that work is underway to garner faculty and student support for a month of activities leading up to Jan. 31 when educational events about global warming will be held across the country.

Parvaz said that more than 40 U faculty members have agreed to participate in “teach-ins.” These discussions, to be held during regular class time, will focus on issues surrounding concerns on global warming, as they relate to the class topic.

Parvaz noted that U faculty have already committed to hold teach-ins representing an array of disciplines and departments including physics, history, social science, business, language, architecture and mass communication. She said this diversity reflects the wide-ranging impact of global warming and highlights that it is not just about the environment.

Craig Forster, interim director of the Office of Sustainability, said a series of events are in the planning stages for the month of January. These include discussion groups focused on alternative energy, the science behind global warming issues and a panel comprised of state and local legislators exploring how Utah, as a state, can address climate concerns.

Other U student groups that have committed to be involved with the event include the Student Government Board of Sustainability, Net Impact and Service Politics and Civic Engagement (SPACE).

Parvaz and SEED are also working on a film series to be held in January and an interfaith panel discussion focusing on people of faith and their role in addressing climate change.

Focus the Nation organizers stress the importance of taking action now to address serious climate issues.

“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,” the group’s website says. “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, we owe our young people at least a day of focused discussion about global warming solutions for America.”

Students interested in volunteering for the event can contact the Office of Sustainability through its website, www.sustainability.utah.edu.

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