06 Apr 2021

Celebrate Earth Day all April with HBS Earthfest 2021!—Green Team Newsletter


This HBS Earthfest, we invite you to join our virtual sustainability scavenger hunt with activities, events, and resources focused on all five topics of the Harvard Sustainability Plan and environmental justice.

Download the HBS Earthfest checklist to get started. Make progress on your own time, both at and away from your computer, and feel free to invite family and friends to join in the fun. Each week of April, share your latest activity with photos or comments on the HBS EarthFest Teams and Slack channels, and make your Mother Earth proud! A selection of posts will be featured on social media (#HBSearthfest).

For more events, resources, and updates honoring our collective home, Earth, read on.

Upcoming Events

The Harvard Student Climate Conference presents: Legislating the Climate Crisis: A reflection on climate action during Biden's first 100 days in office and our path forward. 
Thursday, April 8, at 8 p.m. Registration required.

As we approach both Biden's first 100 days in office and Earth Day 2021, speakers from the Sunrise Movement, the Biden administration, and Los Angeles Times climate journalist, Rosanna Xia, will discuss climate change, climate justice, and our immediate path forward under the Biden administration.

2021 Planetary Health Alliance: Annual Meeting and Festival
April 25-30. Registration required.

This year's theme is “Planetary Health for All: Bridging Communities to Achieve the Great Transition.” The Conference, organized in partnership between the Planetary Health Alliance and the University of São Paulo, is in its fourth edition. We aim to bridge communities to achieve the Great Transition by highlighting collective planetary health values; showcasing change-making science, stories, solutions, and communities; and building systemic solutions across economics, governance, and civil society. 

In case you missed it

HBS Panel Discussion around ‘Dark Waters’ – The Business and Societal Impacts of Drinking Water Contamination
Watch the recording of the ‘Dark Waters’ panel discussion on March 24, featuring Harvard environmental health leaders Dr. Joseph Allen (HSPH), Dr. Elsie Sunderland (HSPH & Harvard SEAS) and Heather Henriksen (Managing Director, OFS). The event was moderated by Natalie Jackson (MBA 2021; Food, Agriculture & Water Club), in partnership with the HBS student sustainability associates Alexa Gellman (MBA 2022) and Mathilda Ayeni (MBA 2022), as well as HBS Connects. We hope the discussion helped raise awareness about the impacts of chemicals of concern, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), in our drinking water and in our indoor spaces along with how organizations can move away from the use of toxic “forever chemicals.” This topic was recently in the news due to findings of PFAS in Cape Cod’s water; read about Dr. Sunderland’s innovative testing methods to identify more types of PFAS chemicals.

Additional Resources for Reducing Exposure to PFAS chemicals:

GRCx Event Series: Building an Equitable, Healthy, Climate Resilient Future

The pandemic has affected Boston communities unequally, hitting hardest those who are also most vulnerable to climate change impacts. The data is alarming, the outcomes are unjust, and until we commit to transformative action the health disparities will worsen with increasing climate disruptions. Join Harvard, part of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRCx), for this three-part GRCx Series, “Building an Equitable, Healthy, Climate Resilient Future.”

Watch the first part of the GRCx Series: Understanding the Context Behind Today’s Climate Injustices and our Health

The health impacts of climate change are disproportionately impacting low-income and communities of color in Boston and other Massachusetts communities. These climate injustices are the outcome of decades of systemic racism—from redlining and disinvestment by elected officials, city planners, and policymakers. Learn more about the legacy of Boston’s social injustices, how the historical context has led to a climate and health crisis for low-income communities, and current efforts for a just transition to a more healthy and sustainable future for all.

Register for Part Two: Current Research and Opportunities for Progress (April 27, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)

In the News

Green Tip—Take the Harvard Sustainability Pledge: Three Actions. Three Days!

HBS has made strong progress to date exceeding the University’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goal of 30 percent by 2016, while saving the school millions of dollars. As of 2019, HBS has achieved a 47 percent reduction in GHG emissions, along with a 26 percent reduction in energy consumption (inclusive of campus growth, with a 2006 baseline). HBS also made a 70 percent reduction in waste disposed per person, a 9 percent reduction in water and we have 16 LEED certified buildings. HBS continues to be committed to Harvard’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, which includes achieving a fossil fuel-free future. HBS Sustainability strives to build a healthier, more sustainable, and inclusive community. We are committed to internalizing justice and equity in our sustainability work. Learn more about HBS sustainability leadership in campus operations and community engagement.

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