Image by Hair-Flick via FlickrYesterday, a crowd of 15,000 met in Harvard's Tercentenary Theatre (outdoor, cold, and leafy) as part of Harvard's multi-day celebration of the University's commitment to sustainability. The keynote address was delivered by for Vice-President Al Gore, who was introduced by Harvard's president, Drew Gilpin Faust.
Gore said, "Universities have a powerful role to play in this 'existential crisis. They are originators and communicators of science and policy that are modeled on reason." He reminded his listeners that 2008 is the 400th anniversary of the invention of the telescope, which a year later allowed Galileo Galilei to conclude that the earth is not the center of the universe. This is an example of how scientific discovery leads to far-reaching change. Today, we rely on scientists to lead the way as we seek to make the changes necessary to live sustainable lives that, literally, will insure the future habitability of our planet.
Harvard University is committed to sustainability. Specifically, they have pledged to reduce the University's greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2016. The Harvard Center for the Environment is a "synergistic gathering" of 150 faculty members from more than 20 disciplines.
You can watach a narrated slide show of Harvard's efforts here. An article describing Gore's address is here.