Let’s talk climate change

Harvard to host week of events, discussions on ways to tackle problem

April 3, 2015 | Editor’s Pick Popular
By Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer

In a speech on climate change delivered during her visit to China last month, Harvard President Drew Faust described the problem as “a struggle, not with nature, but with ourselves.”

During Climate Week April 6-10, Harvard will take a long look at the ongoing struggle to find man-made solutions to this man-made problem. Spearheaded by the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE), next week’s events will feature everything from informal breakfasts with climate scientists to more traditional lectures by prominent experts to social and literary gatherings inspired by the Earth’s biggest environmental conundrum.

HUCE Director Daniel Schrag, the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and professor of environmental science and engineering, said the week presents an opportunity for members of the Harvard community to engage on the issue, discuss, and learn.

…(read more)

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As they say in late-night TV ads:
“But wait! There’s more…!
There is, perhaps, something more at stake in the next few weeks.  As Harvard President Drew Faust described the problem as “a struggle, not with nature, but with ourselves.”  This is absolutely correct.

“The game’s afoot…”

The Struggle to
“Tackle” Climate
Action at Harvard

For there is none of you so mean and base
That hath not noble luster in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot.
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry “God for Harry, England, and Saint George!”
 Henry V, 3, 1

* * *

A significant debate may now be enjoined.   There are so many important questions before the human community concerning climate change,  but locally one key question is this:

Who will control the discussion
of climate issues at Harvard?

Why has the President been reluctant to “talk” with concerned students or faculty in the past?   Who is encouraged, privileged, and authorized to speak in this newly found interest to “talk?”  Where are the “Arts” in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences?  Where is the Divinity School?  The School of Public Health?  Where are the historians and archaeologists who could tell us of  climate history and the collapse of past civilizations from climate catastrophes?   Will they be encouraged, privileged, authorized or even allowed to “talk” in these proceedings?  If so, will their voices be heard over the managerial, financial and policy rhetoric of official Harvard?


* * *

* * *

Some of Harvard’s Alumni have characterized our circumstance most succinctly concerning the current administration:


“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well beyond the Harvard campus, other distinguished alumni have spoken of the common plight of the human community:


In the current struggle over who can “talk”  at Harvard, to Harvard and for Harvard on climate issues, perhaps Harvard itself should pay attention to the larger dimensions of the problem at hand that their most eloquent alumni have voiced to the world.

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