Santa Monica College participated in a national Teach-In on global warming solutions by hosting a day-long series of consecutive 10-minute presentations made by educators, students, nonprofit organization representatives, and local politicians.
During the opening ceremonies at the school’s amphitheater, SMC President Dr. Chui Tsang announced that he had just signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. Tsang emphasized, “Today’s action is not just symbolic. It holds SMC to an action plan with measurable outcomes. For example, within one year we must complete an inventory of our greenhouse gas emissions including emissions from electricity, heating, commuting, and air travel.”
Tsang also mentioned at the January 31 Teach-In that tackling the global warming issue “is important for us as a country, a people, and to our participation in the global village we all live in.” The college “has a strong record on the environment” and has worked hard at getting hundreds of students and employees to ride Big Blue Bus everyday, which has resulted in “reduced vehicle trips to the campus by 6,000 every day.”
Prior to Tsang’s announcement, SMC Academic Senate President Dr. Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswien told the crowd that SMC “is engaged in crafting of a global citizenship initiative so we as educators and life-long learners and students can commit ourselves to a better understanding of what it means to share one planet together.” He called global warming “a problem that needs to be solved at the grassroots level.”
Associated Student President Heidi Hoeck declared that the focusing of a nation on global warming will be “only as grand as its foundation – and that’s you – and success depends on your individual motivation to focus. Then we can talk about communities, cities, states, and…a nation.” She pointed out, “Organic resources from Mother Earth are being sacrificed at an exponential rate to feed the demand of consumerism…that’s why we’re here today. So, what can we do? We can demand what type of consumerism we will tolerate. You can make your stand for what you believe is right when you make a purchase because you must purchase with a conscience.”
Radina Valova, chair of the planning committee for the event, told the Mirror that SMC “instructors brought their classes to the event throughout the day.” The Teach-In also included an SMC student production of Dr. Seuss’s environmental classic, The Lorax, which was attended by about 300 local kindergarten students.
The Teach-In was sponsored by SMC’s Associated Students, SMC’s Academic Senate, SMC’s Eco-Action Club, and the nonprofit Sustainable Works.