Op Eds

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor,

Along with other members of the Harvard Community, I read President Faust’s recent letter about climate change with great interest.Bravo! Every single university, college, school and organization will have to make climate its top priority if our species is to survive on this planet.

Climate catastrophe is happening much faster than the scientific community has predicted. Scientists are by nature doubters and must certainly and necessarilycompromise in order to find the broadest possible consensus.Consequently, many of the leading scientific organizations have overestimated the amount of time left to fix the problem and equivocated far too much about the impact of climate on specific events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and drought.

The Harvard community would do well to reflect on this and decide whether the time has come to chain ourselves to the White House fence.

Ecological apocalypse is happening now.Even here in our island paradise of Hawaii we see it every day.Our coral reefs are under assault from a bacterial disease that seemtohave been unleashed either by rising temperatures or increased ocean acidity.I work with the Fish and Wildlife Service in an effort to save the rare and endangered Koloa Duck, a native Hawaiian species, from extinction at the hands of a virulent strain of avian botulism.


We all need to ask ourselves what more we can do.

How many professors and administrators could cut back on their travel and confer with distant colleagues via the web? And how many students could reduce their air travel.And every single one of us could do better using public transportation.Should all car traffic be banned in Cambridge? Should the parking rates be quadrupled or parking eliminated altogether? London and Berlin and other cities are doing just these kinds of things.

These are just a few thoughts. But, Harvard does on this issue will havean outsized impact on the world. Let us hope it not too little and too late.

Thomas P. Southwick ’71 is a former news executive of The Crimson.