nge demands equally big solutions. At the first Harvard Thinks Green on Thursday, six Harvard professors gathered at Sanders Theatre to provide just that kind of thinking.
The event was meant to tap into the “original fundamental reason why we are all here on campus for four years: ideas,” said Peter Davis, a senior who co-founded Harvard Thinks Big, which co-sponsored the event with the Office for Sustainability and the Center for the Environment. At Harvard, students have the opportunity “to propose them and play around with them and fight against them and to sometimes even work to implement them.”
Their ideas, which touched on corners of society from science and medicine to politics and urban planning, made it clear that reversing the declining health of the environment can’t be left to any one group.
Don’t wait for Washington
In 2009, President Barack Obama used the words “global warming” or “global climate change” in 69 public appearances. In 2010, that number rose to 73. This year, Obama has mentioned climate change once. Clearly, argued Richard Lazarus, Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, climate change has become an untouchable cause in Washington.
After years of legislative inaction on climate change, “the United States is experiencing an environmental law-making crisis,” Lazarus said. But there’s no use in pointing fingers at politicians, big business, or other power players for the climate crisis. Rather, he said, the U.S. legal and political systems simply aren’t designed to address long-term, global problems. The Constitution limits sweeping legislation, and lawmakers aren’t rewarded for it at the polls.To change the climate (no pun intended) in the capital, he recommended ending the filibuster, which empowers senators with short-term motives to reject climate change legislation, and promoting the work .............