Students Participate in Global Webcast

By Amberly Richardson

Educators and professionals were encouraged to substitute class
and work for an interactive Webcast, which addressed global warming
and how its course can be slowed through architecture and building
design standards.

Individual efforts to make design green are not enough according
to Susan Szenasy, Webcast moderator and editor of Metropolis
magazine. All speakers agreed there needs to be a national
standard.

“We are here because we believe that action must be taken
immediately and decisively to change the course of design and
design education and bring it into harmony with the earth that
gives us life,” said Szenasy.

Forty-seven countries tuned in to the “2010 Imperative: Global
Emergency Teach-In” and heard a simple solution to a complex
problem.

The key to a changed planet is the addition of one sentence to
school curriculums, according to Webcast speaker Edward Mazria,
founder of Architecture 2030, a nonprofit group who presented the
Webcast.

The sentence, “All projects be designed to engage the
environment in a way that dramatically reduces or eliminates the
need for fossil fuels.”

Third-year architecture student Don Bui said Cal Poly
incorporates this strategy. In his design class, students are
taught to design greener architecture and agreed with Webcast
speakers that it is not too late to reduce global warming.

“I think there is time, but there needs to be an overwhelming
effort,” said Bui. “Today is just one small step in creating a
community to promote change.”

There are other ways Cal Poly has committed itself to the
reduction of climate change.

“The President will be pulling a team from across campus to
address our green issues collectively and collaboratively,” said
Dr. Ron Fremont, associate vice president of University Relations,
in an email.

The university has moved toward its formal announcement of
President Michael J. Ortiz’s pledge to the American College and
University Presidents Climate Commitment.

Once the initiative is signed, Cal Poly agrees to cut the
campus’ carbon emissions to zero, over an amount of time to be set
by the university.

“It is not a gloom and doom story, but an action story,” said
Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space
Studies and Webcast speaker.

Global warming is predicted to be a major issue in the 2008
election. Green Team President Jason Selwitz explained why:

“It is unlike any other issue; this is an issue that threatens
the very fabric of life,” said Selwitz, who encourages people to
influence their peers.

“For those of us that are part of the choir, those of us who
know what we can do, can’t hold that information for ourselves,”
said Selwitz.

“We need to tell our family and friends not just what’s going
on, but how to make changes.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists published a list of 10
personal solutions that can have an impact on global climate
change. For example, number nine is planting a tree in your own
backyard. Trees store carbon and can provide shade in the summer,
reducing energy bills and fossil fuel use, according to the group’s
Web site.

“There is a lot we can do, but if we do nothing, then certainly
life as we know it will not be able to continue,” said Selwitz.

Webcast speaker Chris Luebkeman encouraged attendees to start a
ripple effect. He wanted viewers to influence four people to make a
difference, who will influence four more, who will influence four
others.

“Pretty soon we will have created the parade that all
politicians will want to stand in front of,” said Luebkeman.

Hansen said the best hope is action from the young
generation.

“I think that young people should become more informed and more
involved because they’re the ones who will be dealing with the
consequences,” said Hansen.

Amberly Richardson can be reached by e-mail at
news@thepolypost.com or by phone at (909) 869-3747.

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