Green is the new Crimson. Al Gore speaks at Harvard.

Thanks everyone, especially Amanda, for your helpful thoughts about how to dress for the impending New England Winter.  Keep them coming!  I implemented some of the suggestions today when I braved the chill to hear Al Gore speak in Harvard Yard.  Today Harvard University launched it's "Green is the new Crimson" campaign, with Al Gore as keynote speaker of the Student Address.  

"Green is the new Crimson" is an ambitious plan to reduce Harvard's Carbon footprint to 60% of the 2006 levels by 2015.  The plan is already in full effect and I am impressed by the zeal that the whole unversity has taken to the undertaking.  The Public Health School has a three-bin waste disposal system (compost (yes!), recycle and rubbish).  Not only that, but all take-away plates, cultery and drink containers are made from biodegradable products.  The cafeteria actively promotes students and faculty bringing their own cups and mugs for tea, coffee and cold drinks.  The cafe has also removed many bottled drinks in favour of self-serve, pour-your-own drink machines.  All our assignments are handed in via an internet "drop box".  Over at my accommodation at the start of the year I was supplied with energy efficient light globes, dish-washing powder and laundry liquid.  At a higher level the university has started a multi-disciplinary "think tank" of students and faculty which crosses all departments with the aim of generating research and innovation into ways to reduce, reuse and hopefully slow the progress of climate change.

Ironically it was about 8 degrees in Harvard Yard when Al Gore spoke to a huge crowd about the need to act on climate change now.  I can truthfully say it was an absolute honour to hear him speak.  He is clearly an incredibly intelligent man with some very bold thoughts about the future.  In a thoughtful, well-measured speach he argued strongly that there is an urgent need for the world to stand-up against politicians and policy makers altering the facts for their own short-term gains.  Using examples from throughout history including Gallieo's jailing for suggesting that the world was not the centre of the universe, to the evasion of Iraq, and most recently the evolution of the subprime lending schemes contributing to the current finanical crisis, he argued that just because we cannot see, smell, feel or touch Carbon, doesn't mean that taking it out of the earth's crust and depositing it into the atmosphere is not going to have huge consequences for the earth.  The "inconvenient truth" should not be shut away, or jailed, but be faced head on with courage and stamina.  A call to arms to which we can all contribute, whether it's turning off the light, taking 30 seconds less in the shower, converting to renewable power sources or researching the latest carbon sequestration scheme.

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