Teach-in addresses climate change
Winter coats, mittens and scarves aren't a comment about people's thoughts on global warming in the Twin Ports. Although students and community members bundled up in the 10-degree weather Thursday while heading to the University of Wisconsin-Supe...
Winter coats, mittens and scarves aren't a comment about people's thoughts on global warming in the Twin Ports.
Although students and community members bundled up in the 10-degree weather Thursday while heading to the University of Wisconsin-Superior's first teach-in on global warming, it was the Earth's health that was on people's minds.
UWS joined more than 1,750 institutions nationwide in hosting events for "Focus the Nation: Global Warming Solutions for America."
Community organizations, schools and businesses nationwide held educational events Thursday to teach students and community members about global warming.
The UWS event focused on what local individuals can do in their everyday lives to help the environment. UWS professors and community members gave presentations on everything from sustainability in curriculum and vegetable oil-run cars to gardening.
The cafeteria offered a green lunch featuring foods produced locally. The event also featured an eco-fair, keynote address by author Barry Hanson and a panel discussion on global warming issues by local political leaders.
UWS freshman Emily Haala stopped by the eco-fair Thursday.
The event shows people saving the environment is not just about recycling; they can use recycled materials when building a house, she said.
The booths at the fair have good information about what people can do that they may not think about on a daily basis, she said.
To help the environment Haala recycles and refrains from running the water while she brushes her teeth, she said.
"It's (small) things, like, that you don't think about, but it saves a lot in the long run," she said.
Students from the Students for Wise and Accountable Resource Management helped run the event by manning the information booth and directing visitors to the campus.
The group is active with environmental initiatives on campus. the organization plans an Earth Day event each year, and is promoting recycling events on campus this school year. For its Recycling Awareness Project, group members collect the day's garbage from Old Main and dig out everything that should have been recycled. Tally the numbers and distribute the information around campus. The group is also beginning an initiative to collect old electronics and similar garbage items for art students to use for collages and sculptures, said junior Graham Palmer, Students for Wise and Accountable Resource Management member.
"If we're gonna fix things we need to change the way people think ... nothing is disposable," he said.
Attitudes about the environment have been changing rapidly. A teach-in wouldn't have happened at UWS three years ago when Palmer started classes, he said.
Not enough people were interested in global warming then. They didn't care or didn't think it was a problem. Now people are beginning to pay attention, he said.
People are either in denial about global warming or depressed about it because they don't know what to do -- participation in Focus the Nation motivates people and educates them about what they can do to help, said Janice Crede, campus sustainability coordinator.
"I just wanted us to be part of that ... it's such an important issue," she said.
University of Minnesota Duluth graduate student Christina Hoeker came to the teach-in to learn about implementing sustainability in curriculum.
She studies graphic design and is interested to work sustainability into curriculum for a profession that usually designs products that end up eventually in the garbage. Sustainability is not part of a lot of graphic design programs, but they'd benefit from it, she said.
Both students and members of the Twin Ports community participated in Thursday's events.
Cathi Austin of Superior took the day off of work to attend the teach-in.
"I wanted to see what is being offered and what I can do," she said.
Austin attended several teach-in talks to learn about presidential candidates' political platforms on the environment and how to garden using pots because she doesn't have much space to garden. The talks were enlightening, she said.
Using a vacation day to learn how to help the environment was worth it, she said.
"I think it's wonderful," she said. "There are just little things you can do to protect the environment."
Anna Kurth covers education. Call her at (715) 395-5019 or e-mail email@example.com .