To the Editors of The Crimson:
I write you to explain my views on the crucial debate on Black Rock Forest. I believe much is at stake here: not only the beauty of the Hudson Highlands, the threats to the New York fisheries, the possible contamination of the Catskill Aqueduct, the air pollution caused by power plants working to bring water up Storm King, the possibility of the town of Cornwall being flooded by a break in the reservoir: besides all this, I fear that Harvard's reputation is at stake as well.
I may be presumptuous to say this, but I wished to be a student at Harvard because I believed Harvard represented a humanistic philosophy that stressed a quality of life whose traditions reach back to the Graeco-Roman and Christian ethics, where life, peace and beauty were held sacred. From my conversations with other students and faculty members here, I find this tradition is still strongly rooted. Certainly you are in a far better position than I to determine this. In the matter of Storm King, I feel Harvard's philosophy is definitely threatened. Certainly there is a demand for more "energy," yet at what cost will we be indulged in our dehumanizing electrical apparatus, our television sets, air conditioners, appliances that make us weak and mechanized? When does it all stop? Or do we say all our hopes on technology? After Storm King goes, what next follows? Is there any way to stop this consumption that as yet hasn't relieved the conditions of the depressed, oppressed members of our society?
Electricity, too, makes hospitals, universities, and other beneficial institutions run. But it is also gravely threatening our environment that nurtures us, gives us spiritual pleasure, makes us at one with the miracle of life. I believe, and I know many students, professors and alumni believe, that we must reconsider where we are going. I know this letter is full of perhaps simplistic idealism that Con Edison cannot take into account if it wishes to continue profitably. And perhaps Harvard feels that the remuneration it will receive from selling part of Black Rock Forest will help it continue. But continue to do what? Create more scientists that destroy the framework of our existence? Perhaps I have taken too much to heart the words of my professors, who warn me of the very policies that Harvard seems to pursue. I only ask that Harvard stand up for its ideals, honor the spirit of the Stillman will, and encourage its students to seek alternatives.
These are my opinions, and with humble respect I ask you to consider them, and save Storm King. Mark C. Stillman '76