Today from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Focus the Nation, a “national teach-in on climate change,” was held on the UO campus, mainly focused in and around the EMU. There were a multitude of panels, lectures and booths to help assuage your horrible, consumer guilt … I mean, uh, ecological footprint. Lectures were held every hour on the hour by university professors, and a sustainability fair was set up on the first floor of the EMU.
Here’s ten ways you can fight climate change, according to a poster board at the sustainability fair (and some helpful additions from me):
- Recycle (or let hobos recycle for you)
- Reduce, re-use
- Buy green energy
- Replace your bulbs
- Ride bikes and buses (I would have suggested something classier, like “Save the earth. Ride me.”)
- Go vegetarian
- Turn things off (including other people’s computers and televisions)
- Use less heat (the earth’s warming up anyways, right?)
- Don’t use plastic (which is why I only use condoms made from sheep intestine)
- Shop eco-friendly (as opposed to eco-ambivalent)
More of my experiences in sustainability land after the jump.
Snark aside, I wasn’t completely opposed to the event. I even tried to get in to the spirit a little bit by scoring some fair-trade coffee in my re-usable mug (thank you, Cafe Mam). It was just, well, a little over the top at times.
For example, a rally for sustainability was held at noon in the EMU amphitheater. I seriously heard one of the speakers say that “all of the world’s problems – hunger, war, disease – pale in comparison to global warming.” So the gradual loss of the icecaps is more pressing than hundreds of thousands of people dying in Darfur? Wow. There was also the inexplicable appearance of someone in a frog costume and a local samba percussion ensemble.
According to a guest commentary in today’s ODE, the rally was held by a Soc 304 class. Here’s an excerpt:
The sociology 304 class of professor Rebecca Clausen will host a rally in the EMU Amphitheater at noon. Clausen’s sociology class has organized a demonstration to educate the student population about the dangers of global warming.
Was this actually part of the required curriculum for the class? Are you telling me that students pay tuition to set up 6th grade-style poster boards in the EMU Amphitheater about the dangers of global warming? And they have the nerve to call Sociology a soft science! Although, I guess if you sign up for a class called “Community, Environment and Society” you already know what you’re getting into.
The sustainability fair in the EMU was put on by the usual suspects (Survival Center, OSPIRG, etc.), but it was entertaining enough, despite the lack of percussion ensembles and frog costumes. It was especially enjoyable if you liked lots of free crap. There were plenty of bumper stickers, energy-efficient light bulbs and “re-usable bags” to be had by all.
However, while poking around, I discovered some significant dissent within the ranks. It turns out the sustainability fair in the EMU was completely independent from the series of lectures and panels being held throughout the day. Tara Burke, a student involved in the sustainability fair, said the university administration had nothing to do with the fair, nor was anybody from the fair invited to participate in the panels. The split, according to Burke, is primarily due to difference in opinion on several issues, such as carbon trading.
“All that carbon trading bullshit that the administration is pushing is a false solution,” Burke said.
Burke then directed me to a presentation to be held Feb. 8, 1 p.m. in Lawrence 115 titled “Carbon Trading: Solution to Climate Change or Corporate Resource Grab?”
All in all, it was an enchanting day. I really didn’t learn anything, but I am the proud, new owner of a “re-usable bag.”