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Focus the Nation wins MySpace award for cultural impact

July 30, 2007

(Portland, Ore.)—Focus the Nation, a national project housed at Lewis & Clark, won an Impact Award from MySpace for its efforts to build community engagement around the global warming crisis. The largest online community portal nominated the Focus the Nation Web site for its positive cultural impact, and MySpace members voted it the top environmental project.

Focus the Nation (www.focusthenation.org) is building the country’s largest-ever teach-in, taking place on January 31, 2008. The project primarily involves teams of faculty and students at colleges and universities who will collaboratively engage in a nationwide discussion about global warming solutions for the United States.

While Focus the Nation is based in educational institutions, it is also engaging Americans in their churches, mosques, synagogues, businesses and civic organizations. The intent is to focus the growing concern in the country about global warming, and to create a serious, sustained and truly national discussion about clean energy solutions, linking students and citizens directly with our political leaders.

Using new media has been key to organizing the national teach-in, a model for activism and advocacy most often associated with the civil rights and anti-war movement.

“It is networks like MySpace that are making a fairly radical movement possible on such a large scale. People are connected today in a way that is enabling a new social movement in support of clean energy solutions to grow almost overnight,” said Eban Goodstein, Focus the Nation project director and professor of economics at Lewis & Clark.

More than 550 colleges, universities and community organizations have signed on to hold teach-ins. Goodstein, author of the recently released Fighting for Love in the Century of Extinction: How Passion and Politics Can Stop Global Warming (www.fightingforlove.com), expects more than 1,000 groups to participate.

The top vote earned Focus the Nation a $10,000 award that the project plans to use for greater public outreach this fall.

For more information:

Jodi Heintz
Public Relations Director
503-768-7961
jodih@lclark.edu