SOU gives its 2 (per)cents on global warming debate

As the debate over global warming heats up, Southern Oregon University is joining a nationwide effort to encourage Congress to take action.

Next week, SOU's Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group will be fronting a two-day event presented through the organizational group, Focus the Nation.

A live interactive webcast presented Wednesday called "The 2 Percent Solution" kicks off the event.

The one-hour program, showing in Stevenson Union Room 306 at 5 p.m., will present global warming ideas by sustainability expert Hunter Lovins, Stanford University climate scientist Stephen Schneider, "green jobs" pioneer Van Jones and other climate leaders.

The reason for the webcast is to address how the many experts believe the world needs to shed nearly 2 percent of all emission levels every year for the next 40 years to prevent impacts of global warming.

"We use the privilege of our education to better the world around us and SOU students have once again led the way," said Monique Teal, Associated Students of Southern Oregon University president.

On Thursday teachers on campus will devote part of their class time for the national teach-in day presented to thousands of students throughout the nation.

"Many significant changes in American policy throughout history have grass-roots beginnings on college campuses," said Jonathan Eldridge, vice president of student affairs. "This is another opportunity for students to shape an agenda around a progressing issue affecting our generation."

Focus the Nation, based in Lake Oswego, is established around principles implemented throughout the year.

One principle called "green democracy" will send global warming responses from students to the desks of local legislators.

"Students can present the change to Congress, the policymakers are the ones who need to implement them," said Sayla Eisner-Mix, OSPIRG campus organizer.

Focus the Nation is also collaborating with the House of Representatives and the Senate to initiate this "greener" Congress.

"SOU made history last year by passing the green tags initiative and becoming the first public Oregon university to offset 100 percent of our energy," said Teal.

This initiative was passed in light of President Mary Cullinan signing the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment last September. The commitment required SOU to pledge its effort toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating an educational platform for its students.

Another principle called "Choose your future" lets students vote on the best five solutions for global warming. After the results are tallied, they are sent to local congressional leaders.

"It's up to us as students and citizens to make the difference," said Eisner-Mix. "We need to change our daily habits and push this issue hard at Congress."

An upcoming event regarding global warming will be the Cascade POWER SHIFT summit in Eugene on Feb. 8-11. Students are encouraged to attend the weekend full of workshops, climate campaigns and keynote speakers.

If you have any questions regarding the issue, OSPIRG will have a table in the student union on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., or call 552-8514.

Reach Southern Oregon University intern Jake Williky at 776-8791 or at intern

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