Vermont Students Lead National Teach-In on Climate Change


Focus the Nation, set for Thursday, promises to be the largest teach-in in U.S. history. It has mobilized students at more than 1,300 colleges in all 50 states, where classes and workshops will explore solutions to global warming.


Students at the University of Vermont, with support from many faculty and staff, have developed one of the country’s most ambitious agendas, expanding the campaign to a six-day event with dozens of programs.

“We’re standing up to say to the whole nation, ‘Now is the time for action; climate change is the issue of our generation—and we can solve it,’ ” says UVM graduate and event organizer Valerie Esposito. “We can’t afford to wait.”

Classes, a film festival, a citywide green design workshop, art displays, an interactive webcast, concerts and training sessions will be held this week to call attention to the latest scientific findings and new ideas for slowing climate change.

“We have more than 70 faculty signed up,” says Samir Doshi, a PhD student and another event organizer. “They’ll each draw attention to climate change through their own disciplines, from English to physics. But we want many more. We’re confident we can have at least 100 faculty on board soon.”

All events are free and open to the public. The week’s highlights include:

Today: Panel on the fast-changing world of carbon markets, followed by a “carbon farming” workshop.

Tuesday: Symposium on ecological economics and climate change; panel on the connections between biofuels and climate change in Vermont; concert by Junkman (aka Donald Knack), jamming on reclaimed trash.

Wednesday: The Sustainable Burlington Design Charrette, a five-hour public meeting to help imagine and sketch new environmentally sound practices for the city of Burlington; tours of UVM’s state-of-the-art central heating and cooling plant; “Emerging Green Technologies” plenary.

Thursday: Focus the Nation webcast at four campus locations; keynote lecture on how the coal-mining practice of mountaintop removal is ravaging many regions of the Appalachians; film festival presentation of “Black Diamonds: Mountaintop Removal and the Fight for Coalfield Justice”; Town Hall Meeting on climate change, followed by a performance of “The Boycott,” an acclaimed one-woman play by Kathryn Blume.

Friday: Several workshops on advocacy, climate policy and outreach; a 3 p.m. “Focus the Nation Speak Out” and rally.

For more information on campus events, please click here.

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