Ecophilic Initiatives

The winning entry in Harvard’s 2008 environmental cartoon contest, created by Matt Smith, a staff member at the Fine Arts Library
At the Science Center, solar panels provide energy for Cabot Science Library and exterior lights.

The University will cut its net greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent during the next eight years, President Drew Faust vowed in a July 8 announcement. This is Harvard's first-ever commitment to bring emissions below a specific level, but during the past several years, the University and its constituent parts have been going green in other ways. For example:

  1. Discussions of climate change and air pollution often take on a somber and even apocalyptic tone—but the Harvard Green Campus Initiative has brought some levity to the conversation with an environmental cartoon contest. The contest—heading into its sixth year—is open to students and staff members in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. View more entries from the 2008 contest here.

  2. Harvard has already begun factoring conservation concerns into its plans for new construction and renovations to old buildings; it will need to do much more of this to meet its new greenhouse-gas emissions goal even as the University expands significantly with development in Allston. At the Harvard Green Campus Initiative website, a "green tour" of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences takes you to the bio labs, where wastewater from reverse osmosis and deionization is reused in urinals; to William James Hall, where the emergency-exit signs are now illuminated with light-emitting diodes that last more than 20 years; and elsewhere.

Read more about the greenhouse-gas emissions pledge in "Environmental Action," September-October 2008.

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