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  • Thinking green, and thinking big

    first_img <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE1PaFncoOA” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/EE1PaFncoOA/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> A problem as complex and potentially intractable as climate change demands equally big solutions. At the first Harvard Thinks Green on Thursday, six Harvard professors gathered at Sanders Theatre to provide just that kind of thinking.The event was meant to tap into the “original fundamental reason why we are all here on campus for four years: ideas,” said Peter Davis, a senior who co-founded Harvard Thinks Big, which co-sponsored the event with the Office for Sustainability and the Center for the Environment. At Harvard, students have the opportunity “to propose them and play around with them and fight against them and to sometimes even work to implement them.”Their ideas, which touched on corners of society from science and medicine to politics and urban planning, made it clear that reversing the declining health of the environment can’t be left to any one group.Peter Davis ’12, co-founded Harvard Thinks Big, which co-sponsored the event with the Office for Sustainability and the Center for the Environment.Don’t wait for WashingtonIn 2009, President Barack Obama used the words “global warming” or “global climate change” in 69 public appearances. In 2010, that number rose to 73. This year, Obama has mentioned climate change once. Clearly, argued Richard Lazarus, Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, climate change has become an untouchable cause in Washington.After years of legislative inaction on climate change, “the United States is experiencing an environmental law-making crisis,” Lazarus said. But there’s no use in pointing fingers at politicians, big business, or other power players for the climate crisis. Rather, he said, the U.S. legal and political systems simply aren’t designed to address long-term, global problems. The Constitution limits sweeping legislation, and lawmakers aren’t rewarded for it at the polls.To change the climate (no pun intended) in the capital, he recommended ending the filibuster, which empowers senators with short-term motives to reject climate change legislation, and promoting the work of individual states such as California that are experimenting with their environmental laws.If anyone has the power to shake things up in Washington, it may be the military. “They care about real facts, real science, and real risks,” Lazarus said. As oil demand increases worldwide and as drought and famine ravage continents, the military must prepare for potential resource wars or mass migrations. “Occupy the military,” Lazarus suggested to the audience.Change the dialogue“We must help educate people about what’s really happening to the environment in language that they can relate to and understand,” said Eric Chivian, director of the Center for Health & the Global Environment and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS). “There’s no more compelling way to do this than to talk about human health.”Chivian should know. In 1985, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a group he co-founded in 1980 to convince the public of nuclear war’s potential human toll. The same kind of practical, health-oriented outreach can and should be done to mitigate climate change, he argued.“Global climate changes can be very hard to see,” he said, and “we have no Hiroshimas or Nagasakis to serve as models.” But the loss of biodiversity, for example, could have great costs for medicine. For instance, if polar bears become extinct by 2100 as predicted, scientists will never unlock the mysteries of their hibernation — why don’t polar bears lose bone mass when they’re immobile for six months at a time? — that could hold beneficial knowledge for suffers of osteoporosis.Medicine also provides useful metaphors for why people must act now against climate change. When treating an infant for a fever, for example, “one doesn’t wait until the cultures come back two days later before starting [antibiotic] treatment,” he said. Although the vast majority of fevers are not caused by bacterial infections, the risk is too great to ignore.A doctor “can’t afford to wait,” Chivian said, and neither should leaders who must address climate change.“Global climate changes can be very hard to see,” said Eric Chivian, and “we have no Hiroshimas or Nagasakis to serve as models.” But the loss of biodiversity, for example, could have great costs for medicine.Look to businessAt its best, business can improve the human condition by bringing technology to the masses; at its worst, it can inspire greed that leads to poverty, pollution, and other ills. But no one should doubt that business will be a powerful ally in the fight against climate change, said Rebecca Henderson, John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard Business School (HBS).“In the long run, there is no better hope for human progress than business,” she said, “because business is about innovation and scale. Business has learned how to motivate people in ways we’ve never seen before.”After spending 20 years studying large companies undergoing dramatic shifts, Henderson said, she knows that big changes — for example, committing to reducing emissions from factories or investing heavily in the development of new, noncarbon energy sources — will be painful for the industries that undertake them. But if Americans can restructure the ways we do business to place more value on long-term results, the payoffs of combatting climate change could be huge.“Building an enterprise that opens a whole new market, getting really rich, and making a difference … is a high like almost no other high,” she said. “This transition we face as an economy, as a world, is ripe for the taking. It is going to hit every major industry: agriculture, energy, construction, consumer goods, textiles, services.“It’s coming down the pike. It can make us all rich,” she continued. “But it will require commitment, vision, hard-headed realism, and the creativity to unite those to make it happen.”Target cities, building by buildingBuildings are an often overlooked culprit in global warming, said Christoph Reinhart, associate professor of architectural technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). They account for 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, and unlike other climate offenders — say, gas-guzzling old cars — most won’t be replaced by new state-of-the-art structures anytime soon.“One can make mistakes but should not build them,” he mused, quoting Goethe.What we can do, Reinhart insisted, is empower architects and urban planners to develop sustainable neighborhoods by giving them more sophisticated tools for measuring buildings’ impacts on the environment.Working with one of his GSD classes, Reinhart has already designed a model that combines predicted climate changes with future price scenarios to show what a building is likely to cost its owner over the years in energy bills. Such models make the effects of climate change measurable, and can help to justify the cost of energy-efficient upgrades to old buildings.“Working on the design, construction, and maintenance of energy-efficient and comfortable cities is a defining task of our time,” he said.Leaders wantedTackling climate change will require true leaders — people with strong convictions and the courage to act on them, said Robert Kaplan, an HBS professor of management practice.For a good example of strong leadership on sustainability, Kaplan looked not to Washington or the global community but to Harvard itself. The University’s 2008 plan to model sustainability through both research and campus activities — and its specific goal of reducing Harvard’s carbon emissions by 30 percent over a decade — “was and is an ambitious goal.” By creating specific priorities and action plans, and by bringing Harvard’s disparate Schools together in the process, Harvard is well on its way to achieving its reduction target under President Drew Faust’s watch, he said.“A lot of people think leadership is about charisma,” Kaplan said. “But we’re learning here at Harvard through sustainability that it’s about articulating a clear vision,” creating a detailed plan, and following through on the specifics. “Just think if we followed this template in our government,” he added.Think small, too2010 saw the single largest jump in carbon dioxide emissions worldwide (5.9 percent) of any year on record, according to figures released earlier this month by the Global Carbon Project. Thanks to rapid industrialization in China and India (and increasing demand for those countries’ products in the United States and Europe), it’s more pertinent than ever that we change our ways, said James McCarthy, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography.“The later we start this, the more difficult it will be,” he said.The good news is that introducing a host of small, “painless” changes to the way people use energy can make a marked difference, McCarthy said. He cited Harvard and the city of Boston, which hopes to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Both organizations have identified many small areas for improvement that add up to a larger environmental goal.“By the time you leave in four years, you will have seen real progress,” McCarthy told students in the audience. “Those small differences really do add up.”last_img read more

  • Why credit unions can’t take member trust for granted

    first_imgThere’s an old saying in business, often attributed to Warren Buffett: It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to destroy that same hard-earned reputation.We’ll use that Buffett-ism as a jumping-off point to reflect on the fact that credit unions (CUs) have built strong reputations over decades. However, CUs — which now number roughly 5,300 in the U.S. — face pressure to step up technological advances, where inexorable movement toward digital and consumer-focused services can foster a disconnect that, left unaddressed, will turn loyalists fickle.Consider the fact that 49 percent of members want their financial institutions (FIs) to focus on loyalty and rewards programs, yet only 29 percent of CUs said they had focused on loyalty and rewards in the past few years.In the latest Data Drivers, PSCU CEO Charles E. (Chuck) Fagan weighed in on the sense of community CUs wield as a competitive advantage. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

  • Asia stocks set to fall on Fed’s dour outlook

    first_imgAustralian S&P/ASX 200 futures were down 1.08 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures fell 1.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were 0.31 percent lower.The S&P 500 and Dow Jones benchmarks both moved between gains and losses after the Fed statement, which was the first projections from the US central bank on the economy since the coronavirus outbreak.An S&P index of bank shares, which tend to benefit from rising rates, fell 5.8 percent in its biggest daily percentage decline since April 15, and the S&P 500 financial index was the biggest drag on the benchmark index.“The broad downgrade in banking stocks came as the market wasn’t sure what the extent of their loan loss provisions would be,” Cox said. Asian stocks were set to fall on Thursday after gloomy economic projections from the US Federal Reserve sent the greenback and most Wall Street shares lower.Fed officials at their policy meeting on Wednesday said US gross domestic product is expected to decline 6.5 percent this year. They also flagged the need to keep the key interest rate near zero through at least 2022.“The Fed is basically saying they’re going to keep the system solvent and at the macro level there’s no room for failures but at the micro level there’d be some businesses that won’t survive,” said Jamie Cox, Managing Partner at Harris Financial Group. The Nasdaq benchmark, however, continued its record-breaking rally for the third consecutive session helped by gains in shares of Microsoft and Apple, with investors viewing technology as a defensive sector with massive growth opportunities, Cox added.On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.04 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.53 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.67 percent.The dollar fell to a three-month trough against the euro, sterling and Swiss franc after the Fed’s pledge to keep monetary policy loose until the US economy is back on track.The greenback fell about 0.4 percent against a basket of major currencies to 95.882 after earlier sliding to 95.714, a level not seen since mid-March.The euro rose as high as US$1.1422 and sterling reached $1.2812, with the dollar hitting a three-month low of 0.9425 franc versus the Swiss currency.US Treasury yields fell as the Fed promised to maintain monthly bond purchases at “the current pace” of about $80 billion in Treasuries and $40 billion in agency and mortgage-backed securities.Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields fell 9 basis points to 0.744 percent. Two-year yields, which are the most sensitive to rate changes, fell 3 basis points to 0.177 percent.Oil rebounded from earlier losses, even as US data showed crude inventories rose to a record high, reviving worries of a persistent glut due to weak demand.Crude stocks rose by 5.7 million barrels in the week to June 5 to 538.1 million barrels, according to a US Energy Information Administration report. [EIA/S]Brent crude settled up 55 cents to $41.73 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose 66 cents to $39.60 after falling more than 2 percent in the session.Topics :last_img read more

  • French Open: Nadal, Djokovic, Sharapova through to next round

    first_imgDefending champion Rafael Nadal beat Robby Ginepri with ease on a rain-interrupted day at the French OpenNovak Djokovic also completed a comfortable straight-sets victory of his own, over Joao Sousa to move into the second round at Roland Garros.Britain’s James Ward went ahead against Tommy Robredo before losing to the Spanish number 17 seed in four sets.The 2012 women’s champion Maria Sharapova demolished fellow Russian Ksenia Pervak.Nadal was in no mood to hang around after being forced to wait until late afternoon to face the American, who he beat 6-0 6-3 6-0 in 102 minutes.Six-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic, who has never won the title at Roland Garros, beat his Portuguese opponent in just under two hours to set up a meeting with France’s Jeremy Chardy.Seventh seed Sharapova had few problems dealing with Pervak after play began more than an hour late because of rain.last_img read more

  • England vs Pakistan: Shoaib Malik given 10-day leave due to personal reasons

    first_imgPakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik has been given a leave of 10 days due to ‘a domestic issue’. Malik, who was in England with the Pakistan cricket team will now miss the one-off T20I and the 1st ODI against the hosts.It should be noted that Pakistan are set to play one T20I on May 5 and 5 ODIs from May 8 versus England as part of their preparations for the upcoming 2019 World Cup.The Pakistan cricket team management has given leave to Shoaib Malik so that he can return home to deal with a personal issue. He is expected to rejoin the team in 10 days’ time. Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) April 29, 2019The PCB will not be making any further comments and fully expects all concerned to respect Shoaib’s privacy. Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) April 29, 2019″The Pakistan cricket team management has given leave to Shoaib Malik so that he can return home to deal with a domestic issue. He is expected to rejoin the team in 10 days’ time.,” read a release from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).”The PCB will not be making any further comments and fully expects all concerned to respect Shoaib’s privacy.”What this means is that Malik who was part of squads for both the series will now only be able to join the team on May 11 for the 2nd ODI to be played in Edgbaston.Also Read | India vs Pakistan at 2019 World Cup is not ‘war’ but just another game: Shoaib MalikAlso Read | BCCI removes Pakistan cricket related memorabilia from its headquartersadvertisementlast_img read more