McKibben, who leads Step It Up and is author of "End of Nature," is now in Antarctica with former chairman of the federal reserve John Volcker witnessing changes brought on by the climate crisis.
McKibben and Isham -- and the students they have inspired -- are working with Focus the Nation, an educational initiative involving 1,000 colleges, to stage a one-day national symposium -- "Global Warming Solutions for America" -- in 2008.
"This issue is going to affect us," said Leland Davis, 21, who is making a documentary on the project. "You can rationalize that Katrina and this warm winter aren't global warming, but the science is irrefutable. Even one voice can make a difference."
"Jon is so passionate and has a way of motivating people," says Davis of his teacher. But, said Isham, who is optimistic the U.S. will find solutions to the carbon problem in the next decade, it is the students who are the driving force for change.
"It's one of the oldest stories -- the marches from Selma to Montgomery, Ghandi and Mandella -- all these movements were energized by socially conscious youth," said Isham. "It's a groundswell that politicians cannot ignore."