Moravian to Bring Climate Change into Focus

It's clearer than ever that global warming is a serious problem. So what do we do about it? Find out later this month as Moravian College participates in Focus The Nation, a national effort to foster a dialog on solutions to global climate change. The two-day event will kick off with a live webcast, "The 2% Solution," shown at Dana Lecture Hall on January 30 (8:30 p.m.). Viewers will be able to weigh in on the discussion by using their cell phones to vote on various topics. On January 31, faculty at Moravian and over 1,000 other schools across the nation will host a national teach-in, discussing global warming topics in their individual classes. At the end of the day (4:00 p.m., Prosser Auditorium), Moravian will host a panel discussion featuring local experts and politicians discussing conservation efforts in the Lehigh Valley. Panelists will include Bethlehem Mayor Callahan and representatives of Clean Water Action and the Sierra Club.

The teach-in is an opportunity for all academic disciplines to address global climate change, not just science-related classes, says Hilde Binford, assistant professor of music, who along with professor of biology Diane Husic is coordinating efforts by Moravian's faculty, Environmental Coalition and Sustainability Task Force for the event. "I'll be teaching about the Gaian Variations, which is an oratorio based on scientific theory," she says. "We'll be comparing it to oratorios written by Bach, and discussing what makes an oratorio." Other examples:

  • Assistant professor of chemistry Steve Dunham and his seminar students are planning a series of demonstrations of global warming chemistry, to be held in Collier hall prior to the January 30 webcast.
  • Students in associate professor of psychology Robert Brill's Survey of Social Psychology class will discuss social psychology and sustainability.
  • Students in professor of English Martha Reid's western literature course will review creation and flood stories from Hebrew and classical Greek sources, and write and share their own contemporary versions.
  • Professor of religion Don St. John plans to devote a class to the effects of climate change on the native peoples of the arctic. "Climate change is not a distant event for the Inuit people, it has arrived. They're witnessing ice packs receding, coastlines collapsing along with houses, fish and wildlife disappearing, swarms of mosquitoes attacking people and driving caribou away, their unique culture now on the brink of extinction," he says.
  • Students in professor Husic's biochemistry class will review research on the impact of climate change on living systems, particularly at the molecular level.  They'll also discuss ways in which organisms play into the complex feedback loops of the environment, including climate. In professor's Husic's diet and disease class, students will discuss how climate change is likely to impact food production and disease.

Planning to incorporate climate change themes into your classes on the 31st? Please send details to professor Binford.