Thursday, January 24, 2008

Florida A&M University Participates in Focus the Nation Teach-In

On Thursday, January 31, Florida A&M University (FAMU) will participate in Focus the Nation 2008, a national teach-in engaging students with political leaders, decision makers, community members and faculty to talk about global warming solutions. FAMU President James H. Ammons and Mayor John Marks will open the program with a welcome at 8:30 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom.

Hosted by FAMU’s Environmental Sciences Student Organization and the FAMU Green Coalition, Focus the Nation is free and the general public is invited to attend.

To kick off Focus the Nation, a webcast, “The 2% Solution,” is scheduled for Wednesday, January 30, from 7:45 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. in the New College of Pharmacy Bldg., Blue Cross and Blue Shield Auditorium. This national webcast will feature Stanford climate scientist Stephen Schneider, green jobs pioneer Van Jones, sustainability expert Hunter Lovins, and actor and clean-energy advocate Edward Norton.

“We are excited to be a part of this initiative,” said Ammons. “It represents the enormous power that young people have when they use their education to create positive change in the world.”

“Today’s college students are truly the greatest generation,” said Lewis & Clark Professor of Economics Eban Goodstein, author and project director for Focus the Nation. “No other generation has ever had to face this kind of civilizational challenge. And we as educators would be failing if we did not prepare them to meet this challenge.”

Beginning at 9:30 a.m., more than 25 seminars are scheduled. Some of the seminars include: Global Warming: What’s It All About?; Public Health Implications of Global Warming; The “Greening” of Florida; Food and the Future; Water Matters; Global Warming: A Human Rights and Environmental Ethics Issue ; and Solar, Wind and Other Energy Options.

Other highlights include video presentations Kilowatt Ours, a 38-minute documentary that traces our energy use from the coal mines of West Virginia to the light switches in our homes; An Inconvenient Truth, the Academy Award-winning documentary on global warming; and a taped video of Jerome Ringo, chair of the National Wildlife Federation and President of Apollo Alliance.

Various government officials, community members and educators participating in the seminars included: Andrew Gillum, city commissioner; Cliff Thaell, county commissioner; Mike Rogers, president of Rogers Development; Will Sheftall, Leon County Extension Agent; Steve Urse, Big Bend Climate Action Team; Daniel Parker, M.S.P., assistant director, Division of Environmental Health, Florida Department of Health; several members of FAMU’s faculty; and many more.

Sponsors for Focus the Nation include the FAMU Environmental Sciences Institute, the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, the Office of Sponsored Research, the Office of Student Activities, Rogers Developments, the Phoenix Environmental Group, Environment Florida, the City of Tallahassee Utilities, the Student Conservation Association and the Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship.

FAMU’s Environmental Sciences Student Organization plans to reach out to student leaders and organizations with its first healthy environment competition titled Green Games, which is fashioned after the television show “The Amazing Race.” The games are centered on environmentally friendly initiatives such as park cleanups, recycling, beautifying the campus, etc. Student teams will “race” for points by completing activities that are designed to educate them on global warming and climate change and to get them involved in outdoor activities that will increase their campus involvement while having fun. The competition will begin on January 28 and continue for the remainder of the spring semester. The student organization with the most points will receive $5,000.

For more information regarding the Focus the Nation initiative, visit or contact the FAMU Focus the Nation program coordinators Jacqueline Hightower at (850) 561-2128 or LaRae Donnellan at (850) 561-2765.

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