Focus the Nation is a national educational event that will take place on or about 31 January 2008 at over 1000 colleges, universities, high schools, and middle schools across the country.  Many other organizations, including a large number of churches and synagogues, is taking part as well.  The goal of Focus the Nation is for us to educate ourselves about climate change, and especially to speak honestly with one another about our collective response to it.  The organizer's hope is that we can better understand our responsibilities and options, so that we can work through our own educational institutions as well as the political system to effect change.

"In the next few years, we as a nation will make, or fail to make, critical decisions regarding global warming pollution and clean technology investments. These decisions will have far-reaching and irreversible impacts on the lives of today’s students and the lives of their children. At this moment in time, we owe our young people at least a day of focused discussion about global warming solutions for America." (from the Focus The Nation website)

Hope College will sponsor a number of events for Focus The Nation, starting on Tuesday, 29 January.  All of them, with the exception of the breakfast meeting on campus sustainability on 31 January, are open to the public as well as to the entire campus community.  Revisit this site often for other events and more information on times and locations.  For more information, please contact Dr. K. Greg Murray (, or 616-395-7716).

For more information about Focus The Nation, see

*** Click on the names below for brief biographic sketches of the participants and for links to additional information on their topics***

Focus The Nation Events at Hope College

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

  1. "How should we react to global climate change?"

    An "Inquiring Minds" discussion organized by Jack Mulder (Dept. of Philosophy) and open to all.  4:30 pm, in the Kletz (DeWitt Center basement).


Wednesday, 30 January 2008

  1. "The 2% Solution"

    A nationwide, interactive webcast discussion of global warming solutions with Stanford University climate scientist Stephen Schneider, sustainability expert Hunter Lovins, green jobs pioneer Van Jones, and youth climate leaders.  Audiences can weigh in with cell phone voting!  8:00 pm, Schaap Science Center 1000.


Thursday, 31 January 2008

  1. "Sustainability of the Hope College Campus"

    A discussion between students, faculty, senior administrative staff, and department heads (breakfast meeting; by invitation only).

  1. "The Role of Nuclear Energy in Combating Climate Change"

A lecture and discussion led by Dr. Donald Williams, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Hope College.  9:30 - 10:30 am, Schaap Science Center 1019.

  1. "Think Global, Eat Local" 

Food production has a huge impact on the earth's carbon budget, and shipping foods over long distances incurs even greater carbon emissions.  One way to reduce one's "carbon footprint" is to rely more on locally-produced foods.  Lunch today in the Phelps dining hall will focus on Michigan foods, and the Creative Dining Services staff will highlight other initiatives to increase the college's reliance on local products.  11:00 am - 1:30 pm, Phelps Dining Hall.

  1. "What's my Ecological Footprint?"

An ecological footprint is a way of measuring one's impact on the natural world, in terms of the land area needed to produce the resources we use and absorb the wastes (including CO2) that we make.  Instead of asking ‘How many people can the earth support?’, footprinting asks ‘How much land do people require to support themselves?’ In this interactive workshop we'll explore the consequences of the choices we make (e.g., what kind of car we drive, how big a house we live in, and even whether we eat fresh fruit in winter) for the size of our ecological footprint, concentrating on those choices that effect carbon emissions.  Dr. K. Greg Murray, Professor of Biology.  1:30 - 2:50 pm; Schaap Science Center 3046.

  1. "Global Climate Change and its Consequences for Wildlife Populations"

 A lecture and discussion led by Dr. Eldon Greij, Professor Emeritus of Biology.  4:00 - 4:50 pm, Schaap Science Center 1019.

  1. "Wind power: reality and potential in Holland, Michigan"

A panel discussion about the prospects for wind-generated electric power in the Holland area.   Participants will include:

- 7:00 - 8:30 pm, VanderWerf 102.