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Focus the Nation holds teach-in; I learn nothing

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):

  1. Recycle (or let hobos recycle for you)
  2. Reduce, re-use
  3. Buy green energy
  4. Replace your bulbs
  5. Ride bikes and buses (I would have suggested something classier, like “Save the earth. Ride me.”)
  6. Go vegetarian
  7. Turn things off (including other people’s computers and televisions)
  8. Use less heat (the earth’s warming up anyways, right?)
  9. Don’t use plastic (which is why I only use condoms made from sheep intestine)
  10. 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.”

  1. Michael G. says:

    What sort of professor gets to teach a class where sign making and protesting is a midterm?

    The same kind of professor that lets you get credit for class by sitting on a lawn and bitching about DoD funding of some University research.

  2. Vincent. says:

    What sort of professor gets to teach a class where sign making and protesting is a midterm?

    My question is, isn’t forcing students to take part in political activity a breach of academic ethics? What if a professor was forcing students to make up signs and demonstrate along side white power protesters at a “Jena 6” rally? Same principle.

    Actually, my real question is: doesn’t the professor who’s making these poor students do this realize just how lame and contrived these sorts of demonstrations inevitably look?

    I’m so tired of people being earnest about things. It’s just kind of embarrassing for the rest of us.

  3. Timothy says:

    Ossie: Dude, use the banhammer when you feel like it. This is a privately owned discussion area, no need to put up with bullshit. Don’t feel bad about it.

  4. Niedermeyer says:

    Oh Olly, you and your standards.

  5. Questions... says:

    Thank you for taking him off. Now, I have a question. What sort of professor gets to teach a class where sign making and protesting is a midterm? I want to take one…

    Seriously, isn’t dragging kids out of class to protest some sort of violation of the obligations that teachers have to giver their students an education; and a costly one at that?

  6. Ossie says:

    ACL: You have made me go against my morals. I am censoring you because you are gumming up the works. This is a community discussion board and I appreciate anyone

  7. Questions... says:

    Yes…and we delete stupid comments by stupid people.

  8. Questions... says:

    Everyone should just shut the heck up. Ignore this clown “A Concerned Libertarian.” You are only feeding into his games.

  9. A Concerned Libertarian says:

    yeah, it sure has been pretty boring.

  10. Vincent. says:

    Mom’s basement is in the 128.223.190.* subnet on campus.

  11. Timothy says:

    And yet you still come here to troll it. Mom’s basement that boring these days?

  12. A Concerned Libertarian says:

    And your webpage still sucks…

  13. A Concerned Libertarian says:

    You guys are pathetic…

  14. Olly says:

    Ah, trolls.

    Ted: “Oh, and Concerned Libertarian, if you think the OC is going downhill, why the hell don

  15. Vincent says:

    It’s fine. I’m already preparing to issue a complaint against Concerned Libertarian for discrimination, creating a hostile environment for me at school, and that sort of thing.

    He left his IP when he visited my blog, so it’s only a matter of time before the Bias Response Team shows up at his door to drag him away to Diversity Camp.

  16. Ossie says:

    It’s ok Vincent. I think your blog is nice.

  17. Vincent says:

    I’m really offended that Concerned Libertarian made fun of my blog.

  18. Sho says:

    Ossie: I was ripping off Nice Pete there, so it isn’t original, sadly.

  19. Ossie says:

    Sho: I think that needs to go into the next “nobody…”

  20. A Concerned Libertarian says:

    You are still one ugly son of a bitch though…

  21. Niedermeyer says:

    Sho 1, Visitor 0.

    Oh, and Concerned Libertarian, if you think the OC is going downhill, why the hell don’t you join up and help out? Oh right, because your idea of criticism is calling “our perspective” (the OC mission statement?) “shitty.” Mmm… convincing.

    Did you really expect CJ to launch into a worn out “Trade-and-Cap: a drop in the bucket or sellout by evil corporations?” debate?” Wouldn’t you agree that sometimes refusing to be pulled into asinine discussions with people who are interested only in making themselves look radi-cool is, in itself, taking a stand? Whatever, go launch permatopia with the longhairs if that’s your preference… we’ll be over here making fun of you in the meantime.

  22. Guy says:

    “I am sure they feel the same way about the members of the OC.”

    Wrong you are, good sir! All those dopes at the Survival Center, OSPIRG and MeCha are always coming by the OC office to hang out.

    They are always like “OC staffers, how do you do it? How do you get to be sooooo cool?”

    And then we’re like “Shut up, fool.”

    You shouldn’t be bitter just because you don’t have any fanboys/groupies.

    /OSPRIG groupies give the best blow jobs.

  23. A Concerned Libertarian says:

    CJ said: “Everyone at

  24. Olly says:

    Speaking of self-righteousness:

    “Most importantly, when you work for the commentator, you do a lot of talking

  25. CJ Ciaramella says:

    A Concerned Libertarian said:

    [a whole bunch of shit]

    Oh jeez, this guy again? Listen, I didn’t learn anything because I already had heard it a million times before. Don’t trash the environment. OK, I got it. Captain Planet already had me convinced about 17 years ago.

    Considering the overall inanity of the event, I would say my post was actually pretty nice. However, now I’m drunk, and you put me in a sour mood, so here it goes: Everyone at “Focus the Nation” was a complete dumbass – nothing but a group of self-righteous, patchouli-soaked D-bags with a questionable grasp on reality.

    May Cthulhu drive you insane with his unspeakable, eldritch horrors.

    P.S. You used to like the Commentator for its “sensible writing”? Now I know you’re a troll.

  26. Sho says:

    Killing a cow:
    it’s kind of like
    it’s kind of like playin’ a basketball game
    I am there
    and the cow is there
    and it’s just the two of us
    and I put the cow’s body in my van
    and I am the winner.

  27. A Concerned Libertarian says:

    Glad I can contribute to the “prestigious” writing of the OC. No wonder you guys are so popular on campus…seriously though, your magazine is a humorous read. So is “Vincent”‘s webpage.

  28. Vincent. says:

    I used to read this blog for sensible writing. Then “A Concerned Libertarian” started posting here.

    He is correct, however, in identifying that shitty writing like his is deteriorating the quality of the blog. I haven’t seen him contribute a Cthluhu joke yet.

  29. A Concerned Libertarian says:

    And I still eat meat…but it is common fucking sense. Seriously, I used to like this magazine for its sensible writing. The quality is deteriorating every single day…especially after shitty writing like this.

  30. A Concerned Libertarian says:

    *meat

  31. A Concerned Libertarian says:

    Cows = methane emissions (damage environment)

    Cows = carbon dioxide emissions (transportation of meet)

    Cows = smarter than you

  32. Jan says:

    How exactly does only eating vegetables help fight climate change? Perhaps if we stop eating those tasty cows, they will evolve into scientists, and they can then tell us how to stop global warming?

  33. A Concerned Libertarian says:

    Well…when you are an idiot, then you don’t learn anything. When you are a lazy person, you criticize others who do ANYTHING (which makes you look like shit). Most importantly, when you work for the commentator, you do a lot of talking…so much so that you don’t hear anything. At least try to say something worthwhile when you speak. Don’t sound so fucking stupid and ignorant. And for the love of God:

    DRINK!!!

    Actually, you may not want to CJ. I think your drunken adventures damaged a few too many brain cells. But if you had only a few to begin with, then go right on ahead.

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