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January 30th, 2008
Worcester’s South High School To Help Focus The Nation On Global Warming Solutions for America

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PR — On Thursday, January 31, Worcester schools and colleges will join more than 1,675 colleges, universities, and schools around the country for a climate change “teach-in” event called Focus The Nation. Throughout the day, teachers and local guest speakers at South High School and the Worcester Adult Learning Center as well as faculty at Clark University, Holy Cross College, Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester State College will present information and lead discussions about the challenge of extreme climate change. In both the schools and the colleges, the January 31 Focus The Nation events tie into other environmental and sustainability programs and lectures that are ongoing, recent or scheduled for future weeks.
Mayor Konnie Lukes praises Focus the Nation. “This climate teach-in highlights the need to educate our students about the challenges and also the opportunities they will face," she says. "Our monthly Brownfields Roundtable, the Mayor’s Clean and Green Awards, the Massachusetts Public Shade Tree Trust, Worcester Local First, and “green jobs” economic development are all aligned with the climate goals and the economic goals outlined in Worcester’s Climate Action Plan. We need to work toward those goals. A positive message and visible progress are important. Young people want to see that we’re serious about their futures.” For more information on Mayor Lukes, visit Mayor’s Office. 
 
At South High, six science classes and a history class will be dedicated to Focus The Nation. In addition, students in the "This is MY City!" program, a 21st Century after-school program, who mentor fifth graders will learn about global warming in preparation for their role in a MY City environmental-studies unit. Worcester Public School students study environmental issues as part of their course work. They also participate in the Massachusetts Envirothon. In addition, Worcester Technical High School students focus on community-based environmental issues such as vernal-pool monitoring. Furthermore, Colin McCullough of VeggiePower and Jim Dunn of WCRN/830 AM’s Energy Freedom Fighters radio show demonstrate alternative-fuel vehicles. Focus The Nation materials will also be presented and discussed at the Worcester Adult Learning Center, which offers Adult Basic Education classes and classes in English for Speakers of Other Languages.
 
The citizen organizers of these activities want Focus The Nation to spotlight Worcester’s climate-education and outreach commitment in the Worcester Climate Action Plan, which was approved in early 2007 by the City Council and has yet to be funded. The Climate Action Plan also calls for promoting the GreenUp program in which National Grid ratepayers elect to pay a few extra dollars each month on their utility bill to offset their electricity use with clean wind and hydroelectric power. GreenUp dollars will be matched by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and returned to the City of Worcester in the form of grants to fund clean-energy projects. The City will be able to use the grants to, among other things, hire a manager to implement its Climate Action Plan. GreenUp sign-up forms will be distributed at Focus The Nation events in Worcester.
 
Here is a listing of other Focus The Nation Events in Worcester:

  • On Wednesday, January 30 at 8 p.m. at Holy Cross College, the Focus The Nation live, interactive webcast will be shown, and it will be viewable by all at  It will be one of 15 environmental events at Holy Cross, most of which will be open to the public. These events are scheduled for January through April. See www.holycross.edu/departments/CISS/website/environmental_studies/enviro_co_curricular.htm for a complete listing of events.
  • On Wednesday,  January 30 at 8 p.m. at Worcester State College, the Focus The Nation live, interactive webcast will be shown, and it will be viewable by all at FocusTheNation.org.
  • On Thursday, January 31 at Worcester State College, Colin McCullough will show his veggie-powered diesel Volkswagen Beetle in the morning, and throughout the morning, afternoon and evening there will be lectures, a film series, and discussions. See wwwfac.worcester.edu/pr/documents/TeachIn.htm for a complete listing of events. 
  • On Thursday, January 31 at 7 p.m. at Assumption College, there will be a showing of the Al Gore movie, “An Inconvenient, Truth” in the Alden Trust Auditorium.
  • On Thursday, January 31 at Clark University, an all-day Focus The Nation teach-in marathon will be open to the public. Sessions will explore a wide array of topics related to climate change, including teaching practices, AIDS, food choices, green design, emissions, survival of indigenous peoples, suburban sprawl, and many others. Clark is also broadcasting the national webcast on Wednesday night, and this is open to all. The event is part of Clark’s Difficult Dialogues project and is one of the first events of a semester-long Difficult Dialogues symposium on climate change. See www.clarku.edu/difficultdialogues for a complete listing of events.
  • On Thursday, January 31 at Quinsigamond Community College, two classes taught by adjunct professor Deirdre Healy will be dedicated to the Focus The Nation agenda.

The Focus The Nation citizen organizers in Worcester, Peter Cutting, Deirdre Healy, Steve Jones-D’Agostino, Suzanne LePage, Amy Mosher, Chris Noonan, Lance McKee and Grace Ross, thank the administrators and teachers in the Worcester Public Schools for their cooperation and participation. They also thank Colin McCullough and Jim Dunn as well as Peggy Middaugh, executive director of the Regional Environmental Council, and Lilah Glick of Clean Water Action for their guidance and support.
 
Focus The Nation is an unprecedented educational initiative on global-warming solutions for America occurring on January 31 at more than 1,500 campuses, faith and civic organizations and in all 50 states. As the largest teach-in in U.S. history, Focus The Nation is preparing millions of students to become leaders in the largest civilizational challenge any generation has faced. For more information, visit Focus The Nation.org.

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