OSU to host UO class on curbing global warming at home

November 14, 2008

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Registration has opened for an 11-week course offered for the first time outside Eugene that teaches individuals to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.

The 30-hour, noncredit “Climate Master” course will start Jan. 6 and be held at Oregon State University. It was developed by the University of Oregon's Climate Leadership Initiative to educate individuals on how to help curb global warming. The program made its debut last year when it was offered in Eugene.

The program encourages participants to make changes in their homes and lifestyles. Some of these changes require more effort on their part, like buying energy-efficient appliances or installing double-paned windows in their house. Others are easier, such as turning down the temperature on their water heater, installing compact fluorescent light bulbs, cleaning the dust off the coils on their refrigerator, and keeping the tires on their car properly inflated.

Two people will teach the majority of the $66 course: Theresa Brand, who helped develop it, and Viviane Simon-Brown, the director of the National Network for Sustainable Living Education. Simon-Brown is also the OSU Extension Service's specialist in sustainable living.

Guest lecturer Karen Shell, an assistant professor in OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, will speak about climate change. Gail Langellotto, the statewide coordinator for OSU Extension's Master Gardener program, and Linda McMahan, a botanist and the staff chair of OSU Extension in Yamhill County, will talk about how to improve yards so they reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The program is modeled after OSU Extension's Master Gardener and Master Recycler programs, in which participants are expected to spread their new knowledge to the public by volunteering in areas related to the subject.

In the case of Climate Masters, within a year of completing the course, graduates are expected to spend 30 hours teaching others in their community how to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases. Options for service include staffing information tables at events, giving public speeches or visiting people's homes as free personal energy consultants. With checklist and flashlight in hand, the volunteers would inspect residences, looking for things like furnace filters that need to be changed, windows that need weather stripping and furniture that blocks air vents.

After completing the course, graduates must also fill out a survey every month for a year that describes what changes they've made in their homes and lives as a result of the course.

The classes, which will end on March 17, will be held on Tuesdays from 6 to 8:45 p.m. in Peavy Hall. To register, call the OSU Extension Service in Benton County at 541-766-3556 or download a form from the Sustainable Living Project Web site. Registration is open only to residents of Benton and Linn counties, and it closes Dec. 19 or when the 25 slots are filled. Scholarships are available.

Author: Tiffany Woods