The Harvard College Environmental Action Committee hosted the annual Earth Day Festival on Saturday afternoon, attracting crowds of students and prefrosh with freebies in an effort to promote environmental awareness.
The festival, held in the Malkin Athletic Center Quad, featured educational booths run by environmentally concerned Harvard students and citizens of the greater Cambridge community, along with free b.good burgers, musical performances, and clothing sales. Students from a variety of organizations, such as the Harvard College Vegetarian Society and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Green Labs Program, presented their cause and their goals for the year.
“Earth Day is just a big celebration. It’s mainly for everyone to get out and have fun and enjoy the earth,” said Lila G. Brown ’11, president of the EAC. “We’re trying to educate people but we’re not trying to send anybody home with a political message.”
But the campaign against Facebook’s fuel usage policies attracted the attention of many students, as University of North Carolina Wilmington student Brinkley Hutchings strolled around the grassy expanse dressed as a Facebook profile page.
In January, the social networking site announced that its new data center in Prineville, Ore.—which the company has described as one of the most energy-efficient in the world—would run on coal instead of cleaner energy sources, drawing criticism from environmental activism groups such as Greenpeace.
“What people don’t know is that the amount of energy to just do one search on Google, for instance, is quite a bit. It really adds up,” said Sophia Wen ’12, environmental justice chair for the EAC and a Crimson photography editor.
In recent years, the University has taken steps to reduce its environmental footprint on many different levels.
In July 2008, University President Drew G. Faust challenged Harvard to cut all greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from 2006 levels within 10 years. The Office for Sustainability was founded to oversee this effort and has also coordinated other initiatives such as increasing the amount of locally grown food in undergraduate dining halls and generating more electricity from renewable sources.
Brown said she hopes that Harvard will continue to make progress toward its green goals, though she acknowledged that it is a long-term endeavor.
“One day, we could completely change the entire school and make it completely carbon-neutral,” Brown said. “But that would take lots and lots of money and wouldn’t happen any time soon.”