Seeking to raise awareness about Harvard’s sustainability efforts, schools and programs across the University have hosted events since Thursday celebrating Earth Day.
The activities, which will continue through the end of the month, range from panels with Harvard affiliates working in climate and sustainability to a clean-up of the Charles River and an Earth Day Festival.
On Thursday, the Harvard University Center for the Environment and the Office of the Vice Provost for Climate and Sustainability jointly hosted a virtual discussion between Harvard experts about challenges in confronting environmental issues.
Kennedy School professor John P. Holdren and Divinity School writer-in-residence Terry T. Williams discussed the intersection between social justice and environmental issues during the event.
“The people within our country and around the world who have done the least to create the problem with their greenhouse gas emissions are experiencing the most severe impacts,” Holdren said.
Vice Provost for Climate and Sustainability James H. Stock pointed to Harvard’s “really strong contributions” in combating climate change.
“We’re not on the right track as a society,” he said. “We need to do more, so that’s what Harvard is doing. We’re stepping up, and we’re going to ramp up our activities in climate across the board in terms of research, in terms of education, in terms of engagement and outreach.”
Early Friday morning, Harvard affiliates and their families gathered along the Charles River for a river clean-up run by a host of Harvard programs, including the Office for Sustainability, and the Charles River Conservancy.
Emily Flynn-Pesquera, a senior sustainability manager at the Harvard Kennedy School who helped organize the event, said volunteers picked up 50 bags of trash during the two hours. She described it as a “sobering experience.”
Flynn-Pesquera added that the cleanup event takes place annually for Earth Day.
“We try to get Harvard to connect our longer-term sustainability goals with just more engagement activity outside in our neighborhood,” she said.
Harvard Art Museums staff member Stephen Deane, who participated in the clean-up, said he chose to take part because he wanted to “keep what’s left of the planet in good shape” for his children.