Science & Tech

Climate Collaborative’s report suggests culture change

2 min read

Last year, Harvard University pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2016. That ambitious goal raised a single big question: How?

In a first-time report released last month (April 27), the Harvard Climate Collaborative (HCC) offered two broad answers: Improve communication and inspire culture change.

HCC is a network of students and administrators inspired to action by the pledge. Representatives come from all 12 Schools, in addition to Harvard College.

According to the report, better communication means Harvard, faculty, and staff know more so they can do more — implement novel ways to reduce personal energy consumption, for instance, or cut back on waste. Knowing more also means getting updates on the progress of the emissions pledge.

Culture change, the report suggests, could mean new interdisciplinary research on sustainability or new ways to draw on student expertise, energy, and ambition. Two ideas floated: inter-School weekly charettes and sustainability innovation competitions.

Recommendations are just part of the HCC report. It also includes summaries of 2008-09 sustainability actions by its member groups. And it includes an overview of HCC monthly meetings, which began last October.

HCC, in its first year, received support from the Harvard University Center for the Environment. Its 2008-2009 co-coordinators are Aron Chang ’09 (Harvard Graduate School of Design) and Spring Greeney ’09.