Environmental Action at Harvard

EAC is one of the many environmental groups in the Harvard community. We want to showcase and promote all of the environmental activism that our peers are leading. Please take your time browsing different organizations and movements below, or pick a specific category.

Campus Action

Environmental Action Committee

The Environmental Action Committee aims to promote sustainability and environmental practices that benefit the Harvard, Cambridge, and global communities. We promote environmentalism through educational outreach, green-eating campaigns, an annual Earth Day fair, as well as our environmental art publication, The Canopy.

Current Initiatives: The Canopy, Earth Day Fair, Veguary, EnviroEd

Resource Efficiency Program

The Resource Efficiency Program (REP) is a program that empowers peer educators as environmental change and awareness agents. The goals of the program include enhancing students’ knowledge and skills to communicate sustainability to their peers, increasing overall student awareness of environmental actions and ways to effect individual and group change on campus, and institutionalizing environmental stewardship within the Harvard College student body.

Current Initiatives: Energy use minimization, climate change mitigation, water use reduction

Green Think

Green Think is a first-year think tank centered around sustainability and environmentalism on Harvard’s campus. Green Think is a decade old initiative to get first-year students involved in sustainability projects on campus, partnering with staff and faculty to enact change.

Current Initiatives: 2019 – Hydration station installation, 2020 – Rain garden installation, 2020 – Single-use plastic ban with Undergraduate Council

Harvard College Women’s Center

The Harvard College Women’s Center values environmental sustainability in our programming and office work/space/management. We acknowledge that neglect and destruction of the natural environment disproportionately affects women and people of color in low-income communities globally. Accordingly, our mission to promote gender equity by raising awareness of women’s and gender issues cannot be fulfilled without consideration of the environmental context within which these issues take place. We plan to fulfill our obligation by reducing our environmental impact on the planet as individuals and as a community. We also intend to spread this shared commitment among other units within the College. Through our activism we will hold those institutions which have disproportionately fueled climate change accountable for responding to global climate needs. We will also advocate for vulnerable populations to have equitable protection from environmental and health hazards, as well as equal access to the decision-making processes to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

Current Initiatives: We hosted a teach-in on eco-feminism and will be celebrating women’s leadership in climate justice work during our week-long celebration of women’s leadership April 20-24.

Harvard University Recycling & Waste Services

Our mission is to prevent and manage the University’s refuse and send it to best and highest end use. We recycle about 4,000 tons per year, compost or digest another 3,000, and donate for reuse about 1,000. We also discard about 8,000 tons to local trash-to-energy incinerators and landfills.

Current Initiatives: We hope to get more members of the campus community to prepare recyclable papers, bottles, cans and boxes properly, especially by flattening and recycling boxes. We manage the student Zero Waste Team Leaders, who promote recycling and other waste-cutting practices in their Houses and dorms. We recover reusables for re-sale by Harvard Habitat for Humanity’s Stuff Sale and our weekly Surplus Distribution to needy organizations and individuals. We also try to build a culture of reuse through FreeCycles and quarterly Fixit Clinics.

Zero Waste Team

The Zero Waste Team is a joint initiative between Harvard University Recycling and Waste Management and Harvard Dorm Crew. Members work to promote methods to reduce one’s waste production and practices of sustainable waste disposal. We hold events to educate our peers and the wider Harvard community on the importance of waste reduction as well as implement residential initiatives encouraging zero waste. The members are also responsible for assisting with the regular upkeep of their residence’s trash and recycling rooms and performing semi-regular waste audits.

Current Initatives: Cardboard Breakdown Challenge, Mt. Trashmore, Participation in RecycleMania

Harvard Votes Challenge

The Harvard Votes Challenge is a university-wide, non-partisan campaign working towards 100% voter registration, engagement, and turnout across Harvard University. We do this by integrating voter registration into orientation; engaging Harvard in elections through student org/faculty collaborations, inspiring communications, and events; and turning out voters through 1:1 residential organizer program. We must our ensure all of our voices are represented.

Current Initiatives: State primary mobilization, communications around election changes given the pandemic, and student organization commitment to 100% engagement. We have an open University-wide convening on Friday, April 24th that any can join to learn about our movement here.

Consulting

Harvard Undergraduate Consulting on Business and the Environment

Harvard CBE was founded on the fundamental principle that community and impact matter. CBE considers sustainability to be a core pillar of our organization’s mission, and we make it a priority to integrate sustainability across our work and programs. We work with a wide range of organizations (including Fortune 500 companies, startups, and international NGOs) on sustainability consulting projects, distribute $10,000 in sustainability grants to fund campus sustainability initiatives, host a sustainability speaker series to engage the Harvard community on sustainability topics, and are actively working to create a database of academic and career opportunities in sustainability.

Current Initiatives: Harvard CBE COVID-19 Action Team, environmental consulting for a wide range of organizations (including Fortune 500 companies, startups, NGOs), sustainability grants (distributing $10,000 each year towards campus sustainability initiatives), sustainability speaker series, sustainability academic and career opportunities database

Community & Service

Harvard College Conservation Society

The Harvard College Conservation Society is a club that is equal parts pre-professional and public service, with a mission to unite education and profession, and to give back to the communities and ecosystems that have helped us. Our mission is to assist conservation-related NGO’s worldwide in advocating, publicizing, and working on both international and local projects that focus on sustainable development, wildlife protection, ecotourism, and environmental conservation. We are committed to pursuing paths to increase the accessibility, diversity, inclusivity, and equity of conservation both at Harvard and in the broader community to ensure that all decisions are made consistent with principles of environmental justice. We aim to bring issues, both local and abroad, to the forefront of our peers’ minds through active campaigning to increase general awareness. By creating tight-knit relationships with NGO’s around the world, our members will become a resource for any interest or desire for information concerning worldwide conservation on campus or in locally within Boston. We aim to prove that conservation is a universal movement for anyone invested in the betterment of both human society and the health of the planet, and seek to incorporate all relevant voices to dialogues surrounding conservation, fully recognizing the historic lack of representation in conservation with regard to gender and culture. The purpose is to unite undergraduate students, Harvard professors, PhD researchers, and actively campaigning scientists to pool resources and ability in an effort to make a difference in the environmental movement. With the help of these pooled resources, our student members will become qualified enough to enter the conservation field after college and make immediate impact.

Current Initiatives: Projects with Kaminando – Habitat Connectivity Initiative, the Kasiisi Project, the New England Aquarium, the World Wildlife Fund, and Harvard Forest; formerly Conservation International Suriname and The Nature Conservancy

Harvard First-Year Outdoor Program

The mission of FOP is to provide group adventure-based experiences that promote the development of social support and self-awareness for first-year students, and leadership development for members of the Harvard community. In order to facilitate these goals, FOP makes responsible use and care of the lands we use a priority. One of our 2020 Steering Committee’s primary strategic priorities is to provide educational opportunities that promote responsible stewardship of the public lands that FOP uses as a medium for programming and community-building. We hope that through responsible use and attention to environmental conservation, we can continue to preserve public lands as a valuable resource for all.

Current Initiatives: The First-Year Outdoor Program organizes student-led outdoor pre-orientation trips for incoming first-years. Currently, we are focusing on adapting our programming to best serve the Harvard community under the current complex circumstances.

Harvard Undergraduates for Environmental Justice

Harvard Undergraduates for Environmental Justice (HUEJ) works alongside the Harvard and Greater Boston communities to fight systems of injustice that disproportionately place environmental burdens on vulnerable and marginalized communities. We run multiple community-oriented projects throughout the year that raise awareness for and promote environmental justice through educational outreach and political engagement.

Current Initiatives: Climate Justice Education Project – developing a climate justice orientation program for first-years; The Levee has Broken: Songs of the Climate Crisis – working with local community artists and songwriters to create an album highlighting environmental justice experiences; Harvard NaTURE program – facilitating hands-on environmental science lessons for K-8 classes to address environmental justice at its roots; Massachusetts Environmental Justice Database – creating a network of environmental justice activism efforts to better connect, inform and mobilize activists across Massachusetts; Narratives of the Climate Crisis – a publication for Harvard students to share and learn about our peers’ first-hand experiences with the climate crisis.

Energy

Harvard Undergraduate Clean Energy Group

Decarbonization of our energy systems is essential to tackling the climate crisis. Our mission is to promote student awareness and engagement with topics related to clean energy. We provide tools and opportunities for undergraduate students to make an impact within the industry, focusing on technology, public policy, and economics.

Current Projects: Speaker events; hands-on tours of local clean energy facilities and companies; faculty and alumni conversations; clean energy blog; workshops; inter-college networking

Food & Agriculture

Food Literacy Project

The Food Literacy Project (FLP), is HUDS’ food education initiative. With focuses on sustainability, nutrition, food preparation and community, the FLP seeks to empower everyone to make informed food choices. FLP hosts events and opportunities throughout the year that are open to the Harvard and broader Cambridge-area communities.

Current Initiatives: FLP hosts events and opportunities throughout the year that are open to the Harvard and broader Cambridge-area communities.

Medicine & Health

Green Medicine Initiative

Green Medicine Initiative is a student-run organization that combines medicine, sustainability, and global health to draw attention to the effects of climate change on human health and promote greener practices in healthcare.

Current Initiatives: Working with MGH’s Sustainable Steering Committees to advise on hospital waste management, facilities/energy/transportation, purchasing, research & education, and communications & engagement; hosting speaker panels and events on campus; partnering with HUHS to transition away from plastic packaging in pharmacy operations, and more!

Political Action

Harvard College Democrats

The Harvard College Democrats is an independent student-run organization and Harvard’s largest partisan political group. We campaign for candidates that promote progressive values at every level of government, from School Committee Member to President of the United States. Each semester we choose a handful of bills, travel to the Massachusetts State House, and lobby legislators on a wide swath of issues. In the past few years, our efforts on campaigns, in the State House, and on campus have consistently worked to promote environmentalism and expand legal protections for communities vulnerable to the climate crisis.

Current Projects: Campaigning, Lobby Day, Service Projects, Fundraising

Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard

Divest Harvard is a coalition of students, alumni, and faculty fighting for a just and stable future. Our campaign has 3 demands: DISCLOSE: We recognize transparency as a necessary prerequisite to ensure that Harvard’s endowment meets the goals of the university and the communities it serves. Harvard must publicly disclose all current direct and indirect investments in the fossil fuel industry in an annual document. DIVEST: We condemn investment in the fossil fuel industry for its role in actively perpetuating the climate crisis. Harvard must release a statement declaring a commitment to total divestment of the endowment from direct and indirect holdings in the fossil fuel industry, along with a comprehensive plan to achieve this. REINVEST: We call for Harvard to leverage its financial power for reparative justice by supporting environmentally sustainable, socially responsible, and community-based investment. We call on Harvard to work with the students, alumni, and faculty of Divest Harvard to establish new reinvestment principles.

Current Initiatives: We are fighting for fossil fuel divestment and climate justice on campus and beyond through community organizing, political action, coalition-building, education, artwork and more!

Students for Carbon Dividends

Students for Carbon Dividends (S4CD) is a student-led movement that aims to catapult a market-driven climate solution—specifically the Carbon Dividends framework—into the national spotlight and open the door to a bipartisan climate breakthrough. S4CD was co-founded in 2018 by more than 100 student groups from across the country, including 50+ conservative groups and 50+ liberal/environmental groups; this was the first time that a bipartisan student coalition has ever united around a national climate solution. Since then, S4CD has continued to expand its operations to campuses across the country. It also helped to organize the 2019 “Economists’ Statement on Carbon Dividends”—the largest statement of economists in the history of the profession.

Current Initiatives: Growing National Network of Student Leader Supporters, Organizing Student-Sponsored Virtual Events, Engaging with Economics Faculty at top College and Universities, Expanding Campus Directors Program

Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends

Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends (YCCD) is a 501c4 advocacy organization that aims to mobilize young conservative leaders in support of the pro-growth, pro-innovation Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan, renew the GOP’s proud legacy of environmental leadership, and lay the groundwork for a free-market climate breakthrough.

Current Initiatives: We are organizing on the ground across the country to lobby Congress. We also run an internship program that can be completed in-district, remotely, or in Washington, DC.


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