Earth Day at Harvard offered a hopeful note this year, as speakers praised the University’s efforts toward sustainability, saying they reflect similar grassroots efforts around the country that are forming in response to the problem of global warming.
Robert Musil, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, said that, although global warming is a serious environmental threat, the speed with which humanity has focused its attention and taken concrete steps to fight it offers hope.
Though the United States’ reluctance to participate on the Kyoto global warming treaty is seen by some as a failure, Musil said focusing on that ignores the fact that large parts of the rest of the world have joined together to fight a serious global environmental problem.
“Humanity has identified and is moving toward a solution in global terms incredibly more quickly than in the past,” Musil said.
Even in the United States, people are taking the lead with grassroots efforts to boost renewable energy, conserve power, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
“People around the world are acting locally to solve the problem. That’s what’s happening here on the Longwood campus,” Musil said.
Musil praised Harvard’s Green Campus Initiative, begun in 1999, which promotes and facilitates a wide variety of environmentally friendly programs across the University. The Longwood branch of the Green Campus Initiative was formed in direct response to the challenges posed by the large amount of energy-hungry laboratory space on the Longwood campus, according to Green Campus Initiative Director Leith Sharp.