In a bid to face the challenges global warming poses to planet Earth, UCSB – in conjunction with over 1,000 other campuses around the country – will begin a series of events today to discuss possible solutions.

The first full day of events of Focus the Nation will commence simultaneously around the country today, kicking off on campus at 8:30 a.m. in Corwin Pavilion. The UCSB lineup includes a speech from Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum. Additionally, it will feature Wal-Mart Director of Corporate Strategy Janelle Kearsley, who will discuss how the mega-retailer is working to reduce its environmental impact.

Focus the Nation speaker and UCSB Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Donna Carpenter said she was eager for UCSB to serve as an exemplary institution in the field of climate change.

“The magnitude of the problem requires everyone to take action,” Carpenter said. “This is not only a campus issue; it is a worldwide issue. We strive to serve as a role model for others in the community as we work together to develop solutions.”

Carpenter also said that UCSB student involvement is responsible for the school’s reputation as a green institution.

“We would not be the environmental leaders that we are today without the students,” Carpenter said. “Students will continue to provide the momentum to ensure we reach our goals of eventual carbon neutrality.”

In addition to educational institutions, an array of businesses, civic groups and religious politicians – including Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., 23rd District Rep. Lois Capps and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – have declared their support for the event.

Focus the Nation public relations coordinator Alex Tinker said he believes the public must pressure the government in order to effectively combat global warming.

“The solutions to global warming – both technological and political – already exist,” Tinker said. “What’s missing is the willpower in D.C. to pass federal legislation that will support nascent industries developing green technologies and tackle carbon emissions effectively.”

Tinker said the consequences of further delaying action on global warming are irreversible.

“If we do not rise up to combat global warming, we will see a substantial increase in global mean temperatures, an increase in severe weather, sea level rise, ecosystem deterioration and widespread extinction,” Tinker said. “The effects will be felt mostly by the global poor, who live disproportionately in low-lying or coastal areas. Future generations will look back and ask, ‘Why? Why didn’t they do anything about it?'”

According to its Web site,, Focus the Nation is comprised of several components: a “National Teach-In the Day,” in which students and faculty actively discuss global warming; “Green Democracy-What’s Next?” an event intending to relay environmental solutions from students to members of congress; and “Choose your Future Vote!” in which all participating institutions determine five potential solutions to global warming.