By Melody Parker
Don’t know much about climate change?
On Jan. 31, UC Santa Cruz is teaming up with ‘Focus the Nation’ to host its seventh annual Campus Earth Summit to help combat climate change.
Focus the Nation consists of a group of politicians, educators, and activists that lead a group of over 1,550 campuses and communities across the country, educating students about climate change.
Daniel Press, chair of the UCSC Environmental Studies Department, will speak at the upcoming Earth Summit, where he will be honoring students for all of their hard work to limit global warming pollution on campus.
“It’s a real opportunity to think about a campus community and lighten our footprint,” Press said. “It is also a learning opportunity where education turns into action.”
Press hopes that this year’s Earth Summit will put pressure on campus leadership to ensure positive changes for the environment and the future.
Tommaso Boggia, the coordinator for this year’s Earth Summit, said that the event will inspire the Santa Cruz community as well as other campuses to become involved and discuss possible solutions for the climate crisis.
“This year we want to emphasize the need for immediate action,” Boggia said. “If not enough people get involved, I’m afraid that UCSC will lack the momentum we need to become leaders in this [movement for climate change]. We need to show the other campuses what can be done.”
According to Boggia, climate change is an issue that is affecting everyone; therefore it is crucial for people to work together to help bring about change. “It’s really exciting to see that so many different people from different disciplines are finding ways to make this happen,” he said.
To spread the word about the climate crisis, Focus the Nation has recently developed a national teach-in, where students from campuses all across the country meet to discuss climate change solutions.
Other plans within Focus the Nation include the “2% Solution,” a live interactive webcast scheduled for Jan. 30 at 5 p.m., where students can chat with climate scientists and sustainability experts including actor and clean energy advocate Edward Norton.
The name “2% Solution” stems from the need to cut global warming pollution in developed countries by more than 80 percent from present levels by 2050, or by two percent per year for the next 40 years.
Aurora Winslade, UCSC’s first campus sustainability coordinator, has been working with the Campus Earth Summit for six years.
She hopes that the Summit and 2% Solution will encourage students, staff, and faculty to make a difference through the way that the university and various programs are run.
“We are bringing people together with different perspectives and priorities,” Winslade said. “Earth Summit is a place to create relationships; there are no enemies when it comes to building a sustainable campus.”
This year’s Earth Summit will start at 9:30 a.m. in the College Nine and Ten multipurpose room. The Summit will feature workshops and group sessions where participants can discuss current issues, including climate action and healthy eating. The event will also include a free organic lunch.
_For more information on the Earth Summit and to RSVP by Jan. 25 go to http://sustainability.ucsc.edu._