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by Natalie Rooks, staff writer

 

Since the opening of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, an Academy Award winning documentary, last year, global warming awareness has been growing around the world. On Oct. 20, HPU freshmen in First-Year Seminars participated in the Global Citizenship Student Symposium at the windward campus, which featured two speakers who were trained by Al Gore.

Eighty-seven students and 20 faculty members participated in this year’s event, which began with a PowerPoint presentation called “The Climate Crisis” led by Stuart Scott and Rob Kinslow.

Both Scott and Kinslow were trained by former Vice President Al Gore in giving this presentation across the country to promote awareness of global warming and encourage change in everyday lives.
“ There is very little controversy that this is happening and that we are the cause,” said Scott. “Our kids are going to have to live with the effects of what we are doing right now,” he added as he showed charts of CO2 levels and global temperatures increasing dramatically.

Included in the slides were pictures of ice melted almost completely to water level at Mt. Kiliminjaro, Glacier National Park, and Upsala Glacier in Argentina. Students stirred in their seats as graphically enhanced pictures of the Hawaiian islands showed Waikiki disappearing under water and the Ala Wai canal flooding Honolulu.

“ It’s up to you, to analyze what’s going on and make changes for yourself and your children,” said Scott.

At the end of the presentations both speakers offered ideas about small things people can do in their everyday lives, simple things, such as not using elevators or electronically operated doors.
“ I saw the movie,” said Chelsea Christensen, a freshman nursing major who added that the seminar was a lot to review.

Jon Luongo, a freshman marine biology major, described the presentation as “really depressing.”
“I still want to ride the elevator,” said Tanya Atkins, freshman physical therapy major.

After the presentations, the students participated in brainstorming sessions led by First-Year Seminar instructors to express concerns and ask questions.

Among other topics, students discussed the presence of “waste” in their everyday lives, such as taking long showers, leaving lights on in empty rooms, keeping the water running while brushing teeth, driving SUVs, and using elevators.

Although the students at first described depressed feelings about global warming, they also were open to the idea that things could still change if enough people did simple things such as not wasting electricity and changing light bulbs to compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

“ There are opportunities; there are things we can do,” said Carlos Juarez, Dean of College of International Studies, who also participated in one of the brainstorming sessions.

At the end of the sessions, students asked Scott and Kinslow such questions as: how do you move a world to one value and in a short amount of time? What is the international progress? What is the role of government? And how can students build awareness of these current issues?

“ Network, start in school, start in the classroom,” Kinslow said.

“ What you do today will hopefully be the start of something,” said Scott.

HPU’s Global Learning First-Year Seminars are regular freshman courses that have been organized to emphasize global learning opportunities. The seminars offer small classes limited to freshmen.

“ This is what we do in a college environment, said Gabriela Artigas, a computer science instructor who also leads two freshman seminars. “We expose ourselves to different perspectives.”

 

 

 

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