Focus The Nation contemplates global warming

January 28 2008

TERRE HAUTE -"From global warming solutions to a documentary on Indiana’s geological past, Indiana State University plans a variety of events as part of Focus The Nation on Wednesday and Thursday.

Focus the Nation, beginning Wednesday evening, is a national teach-in about global warming solutions that encourages faculty to address topics on global warming and solutions to the crises during classes throughout the week.

“It started on the West Coast at a small liberal arts colleges and it ballooned into asking other universities and colleges across the nation to join,” said Charles Amlaner, chair of the department of ecology and organismal biology. “Indiana State University was one of the first of the large institutions to sign up.”

Created by Eban Goodstein, author and professor of economics at Lewis & Clark College, Focus The Nation is partnering youth and baby boomers in a vision for America.

“Today’s youth are truly the greatest generation,” said Goodstein. “No other generation has had to face this kind of challenge. We would be failing as educators if we did not prepare them with the tools necessary to meet this challenge.”

Amlaner said educating students about global warming and possible solutions could lead to a high multiplication factor as those students teach others.

“They become part of the solution instead of the problem,” he said. “With students we can transform their minds from users and abusers of the environment to thinking about what they can do to stop using and abusing. Then we begin the process of healing the globe one student at a time.”

From 8 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in Science Building Room 12 there will be a national Webcast of "The 2% Solution" in which solutions to global warming will be discussed. This will feature Stanford and I.P.C.C. climate scientist Stephen Schneider, Natural Capitalism president, Hunter Lovins and environmental justice leader Van Jones, executive director of the Ella Baker Center. In addition to the movie and report there will also be a panel taking questions from the audiences at more than 1,600 colleges and universities.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday there will be a Global Warming Film Extravaganza in Science Building Room 205. Movies to be shown are: • 8 a.m. "An Inconvenient Truth: A Global Warning;" • 10 a.m. "Global Warming: What's Up With the Weather;" • noon "Rachel Carson's Silent Spring;" • 1 p.m. "World in the Balance: China Revs Up!;" • 2 p.m. "Hurricane Katrina: The Storm That Drowned a City;" • 3 p.m. "Solar Energy: Saved by the Sun;" • 4 p.m. "Rewriting the Science: Interview with NASA's Dr. James Hanson."

Thursday afternoon there also will be a series of lectures in Science Building Room 12.

At 1:45 p.m., Jennifer Latimer, assistant professor of geology, will speak on "The Climate System: Nature vs. Nurture."

“While most scientists believe future climate change is largely a result of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide, many non-scientists continue to be uncertain about the influence of fossil fuel emissions and deforestation on the climate system,” she said. “This presentation will briefly discuss the natural drivers of climate change that have kept the earth's climate system in check for most of earth history as well as why recent increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide are reason for concern.”

Latimer said they also will discuss future scenarios of global change, including worst-case scenarios, and what can be done about it.

Then at 3:15 p.m. Mike Angilletta, associate professor of ecology and organismal biology, will speak on "Understanding Biological Responses to Climate Change: The Devil is in the Details."

“Rapid changes in environmental temperatures caused by human activities have exacerbated the challenges faced by organisms worldwide,” he said.

In his speech, he will discuss research using a common-species of lizard and show how changes in temperature could affect them.

To close the day's event's there will be a campus-wide screening at 4:45 p.m. in Room 012 of "The Natural Heritage of Indiana: The Indiana That Was," which features Marion Jackson, an ISU life sciences professor emeritus. Jackson will be available to answer questions.

“I think it’s a revelation to people when they see it,” Jackson said of the PBS video which debuted in November. “I think most people’s concept of Indiana is what they see on I-70 as they drive from Ohio to Illinois.”

Yet, he said, pristine waterfalls, meadows and old growth forests exist still.

“I think it would be a surprise to most Hoosiers,” he said. “They can’t believe that a lot of these things are still around in Indiana.”

In the first installment, “The Indiana That Was,” viewers are taken from the ancient seas and coral reefs, to Ice Age glaciations while exploring the massive changes in the landscape, as well as the flora and fauna. Production on the next two parts of the series is underway. All three parts of the documentary are scheduled to be released during the fall of 2008.

“It will give residents of Indiana a better appreciation for what their state is like, what we’ve done to it and the hope for the future,” Jackson said. “The Natural Heritage of Indiana,” stems from a book of the same title edited by Jackson, who pulled together 37 authors’ essays and chapters as well as more than 400 photographs. The book’s second edition has recently been released and will be available at the screening.

For additional information on Focus The Nation, visit www.focusthenation.org

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Contact: Charles Amlaner, Indiana State University, chair of the department of ecology and organismal biology, at 812-237-2405 or camlaner@indstate.edu

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or jsicking@indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

From global warming solutions to a documentary on Indiana's geological past, Indiana State University plans a variety of events as part of Focus The Nation on Wednesday and Thursday. Focus the Nation, beginning Wednesday evening, is a national teach-in about global warming solutions that encourages faculty to address topics on global warming and solutions to the crises during classes throughout the week.

Bookmark and Share