Focus the Nation: a campus-wide conversation about climate change

focus the nationFocus the Nation at Tulane was a campus-wide, interdisciplinary discussion of global warming & global warming solutions held January 30-31, 2008. Programs & panels featuring Tulane faculty and students ran during class periods throughout the day. Tulane's event was part of a national day seeking to "Focus the Nation" on climate change; over one thousand schools and universities across the country held similar events. Focus the Nation at Tulane was the culminating event of the Tulane University 2007 Reading Project. Over 20 faculty from 15 different departments spoke; the event's audience of over 550 people included students from 30 different courses. With this broad participation by faculty and students, the day's presentations and discussions included new findings, previously unconsidered perspectives, and insights into emerging trends. This website attempts to archive the day's wide-ranging discussions, largely through session reports written by Tulane students.

Session Reports

These session summaries were reported by students of Rick Duque, Department of Sociology. They are freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors from Prof. Duque’s Environmental Sociology, Global Social Change and Sociology of Science classes.

1. Chris Mooney, “Science at High Speeds: Hurricanes, Politics and the Battle Over Global Warming”

2. “The 2% Solution.” The national Focus the Nation webcast

3. Opening Plenary: Global Warming – The Physical, Biological and Human Dimensions
     View the presentation slides:
     Torbjörn Törnqvist, Global Warming -- The Physical Dimension
     Tom Sherry, Global Warming -- The Biological Dimension
     William Balée, Global Warming -- The Human Dimension

4. Biodiversity and Climate Change
     View the presentation slides:
     Lee Dyer, Biodiversity and Climate Change

5. Global Warming Politics & Policy (and speakers from Student Advocacy and Youth Leadership)

6. Ancient and Modern Indigenous Responses to Climate Change and Weather Events
     View the presentation slides:
     Grant McCall, Pleistocene Climate Change and Modern Human Origins
     Kit Nelson, The Big Squeeze: Human adaptation to the desertification of Egypt
     William Balée, Modern Indigenous Responses to Extreme Weather Events

7. Alternative and Renewable Energy

8. Public Service and Career Opportunities in Climate Change

9. Global &Health
     View the presentation slides:
     Kevin Caillouet, Global Warming and Health

10. Rebuilding in the Face of Global Warming
     View the video on YouTube

11. Religious & Ethical Perspectives

Media Coverage

Click here for the event's program, which includes speaker information and resources for getting involved.

For more information on Tulane's Focus the Nation event, contact Liz Davey at or 504-865-5145.
For more information on the national teach-in, visit the Focus the Nation website.