On Jan. 31, more than 1,100 colleges and universities from all 50 states will participate in Focus the Nation, an unprecedented teach-in on global-warming solutions that will educate and energize close to 1 million young adults.

“We would be failing as educators if we did not prepare them with the tools necessary to meet this challenge,” says project director Eban Goodstein, PhD, a professor of economics at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Organizers at Missouri State University will truck 15 tons of coal onto their campus to demonstrate what 1 hour of power looks like. At California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, more than 125 faculty members will address global-warming solutions in their classes and at campus symposiums. And more than 50 members of Congress will video-dialogue with campuses in a carbon-zero conversation, including Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), chair of The Select Committee for 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, JD, dean of Yale’s School of Forestry & 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 lawmakers.”

A live webcast on Jan. 30, produced by the National Wildlife Federation from the University of Central Florida, will launch the event. It will focus on the need to decrease carbon emissions by 2% each year for the next 40 years to reach the goal scientists advocate: an 80% reduction by 2050. Segments will feature actor/activist Edward Norton, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (pending availability) and international climate scientist Stephen Schneider.

A live panel discussion during the webcast will feature Hunter Lovins, chief executive of Natural Capitalism; Van Jones, green jobs pioneer and president of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland; Penelope Canan, PhD, a professor of sociology at the University of Central Florida; and Praween Dayananda of the Energy Action Coalition and a recent graduate of Pomona College.

During the webcast, participants can send cell-phone text messages on how they would spend $100 billion in a clean energy revolution.  Messages will be visible on the Earth Day Network, which will broadcast the webcast.

“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.”

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