Organized by “Focus the Nation,” the teach-in — scheduled to culminate on Thursday, Jan. 31 — aims to get millions of students, teachers, people of faith and other citizens together in various locations to discuss just one topic: how Americans can start tackling climate change now.
A project of the Green House Network that’s being directed by Eban Goodstein, an economics professor at Lewis and Clark College, Focus the Nation set out to sign up 1,000 colleges and universities across the U.S. for the teach-in. Organizers have more than met that goal, with 1,600-plus organizations planning to participate as of Tuesday, Jan. 29: from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, to Western Wyoming Community College.
The event officially kicks off on Wednesday, Jan. 30, with a live, one-hour Webcast of “The 2% Solution” starting at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Earth Day Television. The interactive program will feature, among others, Stephen Schneider, a climate scientist at Stanford University; Hunter Lovins, president and founder of Natural Capitalism Inc.; and Van Jones, an attorney, green jobs pioneer and founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
Why “The 2% Solution?” Becaue keeping global warming below about 4 degrees Fahrenheit tops will take an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by developed countries by mid-century. That’s a cut of about 2 percent per year.
So what happens after Jan. 31? Following the teach-in, Focus the Nation is urging participants to set up roundtable discussions with their elected representatives to discuss solutions to climate change. Organizers are also looking ahead to what they’re calling a “critical month in human history”: February 2009, the month in which the newly elected U.S. president and Congress start setting their agenda for the nation.
Can we really expect the nation’s leaders to take a drastic turn for the better one year from now? Time will tell, but it’s certainly a goal worth focusing on.