Global warming activists visit UM

Singers and entertainers emphasize local, worldwide impact during presentation

April 22, 2007|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,Sun Reporter

COLLEGE PARK --The speakers came from different corners of pop culture with a common message: End global warming.

Grammy award-winning musician Sheryl Crow, film producer Laurie David and her husband, Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, spoke and performed yesterday at the University of Maryland College Park's Cole Student Activities Building as part of the Stop Global Warming College Tour. Hundreds of students and fans gave them standing ovations.

"We can solve this," said Laurie David, who produced Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

"But we all better start acting like global warming activists. All the solutions to this problem already exist. The only thing missing is the will of all of us to face it and make solving it a personal and national priority," said David, whose husband is a Maryland alumnus.

The tour ends its two-week run today in Washington, where the participants will present a digital petition endorsed by more than 700,000 people demanding government action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Laurie David began the 90-minute presentation with a speech on the national and local effects of global warming.

"Here in Maryland, you're in danger of losing your state bird, the Baltimore oriole," she said. "Guess you're going to have to find a new mascot. The 3,100 miles of Maryland's shoreline are being threatened by sea level rise, and water levels in the Chesapeake Bay are already rising twice as fast as the world average."

Crow took the stage afterward and played a short set of three songs with acoustic guitarist Tim Smith. For one, a cover of the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out," they invited a student on stage to play tambourine.

Students such as Deborah Felsenthal, a sophomore psychology major, said that while they care about global warming, Crow -- the winner of nine Grammys -- was the main reason they came.

"Sheryl Crow helped draw a lot of people," Felsenthal said. "If you don't deal with [global warming] now, it's going to get worse and worse. It's crucial, and I think it's an emergency."

At a news conference before the presentation, university President C. D. "Dan" Mote Jr. highlighted the campus' green initiatives. The college's shuttle bus fleet runs on bio-diesel fuel manufactured from cooking oil used in the dining halls, and its rooms are lit with energy-efficient bulbs, he said.

"The whole idea of this tour is a remarkable one," Mote said. "We are honored that the University of Maryland is part of this."

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