“Focus the Nation”
On Jan. 31, more than 1,900 institutions across America focused the nation to find solutions for global warming.
Linfield joined the trend Feb. 18, when Greenfield hosted its own “Focus the Nation” weekend full of events to provoke thought and action about climate change.
“It’s easy not to think about it,” sophomore Duncan Reid, founder and president of Greenfield, said. “But every choice you make has an impact.”
Musical group Jack Ruby kicked off the weekend with a Friday night concert. Saturday night featured a dance creatively titled, “Warmcoming,” to inspire fun and thought.
Sunday night, Greenfield hosted a screening of the Web cast “2%.” This presentation features experts discussing if and how America can cut emission levels two percent each year for the next decade. This is the amount it will take in order to minimize global warming to three or four degrees Fahrenheit.
The local citizens’ action and awareness organization Cool Mac visited campus Monday afternoon to give a presentation.
The “Focus the Nation” event focused not on debating how and why global warming began, but on solutions. Students, faculty and community members discussed how Linfield could reduce its carbon footprint and how individuals could change their lifestyles to be more environmentally friendly.
“Debating the science is interesting, but I don’t think that it should be the focus,” Associate Professor of Physics Joelle Murray said. “Everything you hope, everything you imagine will be shaped by (climate change).”
Sophomore Victoria Treadaway, who plans on joining Greenfield, attended the event to better understand the impact of global warming. As a chemistry major, she realizes she may one day be involved in solving the problem.
“Our generation as college graduates will have to find solutions,” she said.
The night began with 10 professors answering audience members’ questions. Ranging from Professor of Philosophy Marv Henberg to Professor of Chemistry Jim Diamond, the panel represented a wide range of opinions. They also reflected Reid’s emphasis on how global warming affects everything.
Associate Professor of Economics Eric Schuck explained the advantages and disadvantages of carbon taxes and cap and trade systems, two methods of reducing emission levels in countries. This is based on controlling companies’ outputs of pollution through quotas and cost systems.
Another topic addressed was consuming locally grown food to reduce the cost of transportation and putting more money in the pockets of local farmers.
Henberg noted the need for more national leadership. He also said change begins with students.
“Get involved,” Henberg said. “Then you push and you push and you push.”
Following the panel, the audience split into groups led by the professors to discuss solutions, which will be presented to the Advisory Committee on the Environment and Sustainability.
“They have a lot of say in what direction the college is going to go,” Reid said.
Greenfield is already planning its next big change, a push to convert the Green Apartments on campus into green housing where students commit to reducing their carbon footprint. Reid hopes to have solar panels put in and more.