Police are discriminating against people of color, black and brown are getting stopped, frisked and killed. April 14 was Stop Mass Incarceration Day: police cannot continue to kill innocent citizens. This week is also Heat Week at Harvard U. Today students have closed with a blockade 2 administrative buildings on Harvard Yard asking the richest University in the world to divest from fossil fuels. And I filed my tax form, while refusing to pay taxes for war.
The shoots of spring grass are cropping up, looking like small green antennae above ground. Students slowly ambled to class. Boys with a hair knot above their neck. Girls with sweat shirts and laptops pulled close to the hip. Forty students at Harvard this morning blocked the 9 entrances to 2 huge buildings. Harvard alumni refused to leave the alumni office at 5 pm and were locked in by security. Community groups joined in at Harvard encircling University Hall on April 16th. These groups are asking for more negotiation and dialogue with Drew Faust and Trustees.
There is a different approach to divesting from the fuel industry than MIT, down the street from Harvard. The MIT president, Rafael Reif’s approach was to open the debate discussing the pros and cons of divestment. Faust, at Harvard, was nowhere to be found as students clapped and cheered among visitors with Sony cameras. With huge banners floating from the ivy and stone walls, students’ chants echoed from granite walls, “Divest, Divest. Put fossil fuels to rest.” The high school prospective students seemed more interested in the Harvard protesters than in the august stories of famous alumni and freshman dorms.
Harvard has the largest endowment of any university in the world, at $36.4 billion. What if that endowment invested in the cleaner energy of wind farms and solar buildings? Harvard, like most responsible people, is building greener buildings with labs and offices with more efficient energy. But what about investing in building the infrastructure of wind, solar and geo-thermal energy? Harvard, the buck starts here before the buck stops here.
I witnessed the young grass, crocuses and students bust out this week. Boston has a cold spring, but the sun gave a blush to our cheeks, and torbid blood coursed through veins. I feel warmed by the Heat Week, as I wrestled with uneasiness in my heart. How do we make a seismic change of lifestyle? For each change of behavior marching away excess energy use, how do I make a compassionate step forward? My discomfort comes from a lack of vision. Yes, to shedding our dependence on oil and gas. And what else? We are not trying to stop climate change: we are in the middle of the climate change. I am roiling in the throes of catastrophe of the California drought and the contamination of our water and food. Help!