19 Dec 2011

Richly Green

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Yale’s Kroon Hall, a recently built, fantabulously expensive ecological Taj Mahal proves that Harvard is not unique. In that building in order to reduce tapwater usage, “Stormwater is collected from the roof and grounds and filtered through native aquatic plants. Wastewater collected from sinks and showers is added to the stormwater and used for all non-potable needs such as toilets and irrigation. Water demand is further reduced by the installation of low-flow plumbing and irrigation fixtures.”

James Delingpole referred recently to the immense difficulty sane people face in trying to resist an unstoppable bandwagon of do-gooders and reformers, brainwashed kids, powerful NGOs, sanctimonious corporations, and politicians all pushing the party-line of Enviromentalist stupidity. At American Thinker, Peter Wilson admires the colossal scale of resources the other side has at its disposal, and notes just how deeply entrenched the green priesthood is at one of our most prestigious universities.

Australian science writer Jo Nova estimates that since 1989 the U.S. government has spent $79 billion on global warming-friendly climate research. Nova notes that the “figure does not include money from other western governments, private industry, [or universities] and is not adjusted for inflation,” and yet even this partial sum is 3,500 times the $23 million spent by Exxon in the same period. Global warming alarmists however continue to accuse skeptics of being duped by disinformation from well-funded carbon polluters, while they seem incapable of recognizing the far greater funding that supports their own efforts.

Case in point: I attended a “Harvard Thinks Green” program last week, which promised “6 all-star environmental faculty, 6 big green ideas.” (According to the flyer, “Green is the new crimson.”) The most polemical of the six speakers was medical doctor Eric Chivian, a founder of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the nuclear freeze group that won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. One of Chivian’s big green ideas: “legal restrictions on oil consumption.” Dr. Chivian lashed out at the evil Koch brothers, enunciating their middle initials as further evidence of their perfidy: “Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch,” who together with “vested interests” like Exxon-Mobil, have spent “tens of millions of dollars” on a “disinformation campaign,” aided by the likes of Rush Limbaugh.

Vested interests? Take a look in the mirror, Dr. Chivian. His speech came from the podium in Saunders Theatre, a sumptuous wood-paneled auditorium in H.H. Richardson’s Memorial Hall, a clubhouse for the 1% at Harvard University. Dr. Chivian earns his generous salary as Founder/Director of the Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, which is “designated an official ‘Collaborating Center’ of the United Nations Environment Programme.” The Center’s Corporate Council includes 3M, Baxter (pharmaceuticals & medical devices), Johnson & Johnson, and Siemens. These are some deep pockets and vested interests.

Looking further: The sponsor of the evening was the Harvard Office for Sustainability, which is staffed by fifteen full-time employees, holding graduate degrees in things like Public Administration and the Sociology of Religion/Gender Studies. They hold titles like: Manager, Sustainability Communications; Manager, Sustainability Engagement; Coordinator, Business and Finance Sustainability Engagement Program; or Coordinator, FAS Green Resource Efficiency Program.

A separate department called Green Building Services employs seven full-time employees and manages student volunteer teams at Harvard College, the Business School and the Law School.

Harvard students can apply for the following 10-hour-a-week internships: Sustainability Innovation Challenge Engagement Assistant, OFS Events and Sustainability Engagement Intern, Housing and Real Estate Design Internship, Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program Research Assistant, Green Skillet Team Leader, Green Skillet Assessor, Green Office Liaison and the Green Ribbon Commission Internship.

Over at the Graduate School of Design there’s the Sustainable Design program G(SD)2. And Harvard Business School has a Green Living Program, “a peer-to-peer education program” that…well, you get the idea.

These various activities are supported by the Harvard University Task Force on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions, commissioned by President Drew Faust, which is committed to reduce the University’s GHGs through 2016. In other words, these people will not be losing their jobs any time soon, no matter what happens at COP-18.

Reading this, I was reflecting that, if Jonathan Edwards and the other “New Light” enthusiasts of the mid-18th century Great Awakening had only taken care to arrange for the construction of exceptionally architecturally distinguished buildings to serve as centers for the study the personal experience of religious revelation and the penning of passionate sermons, and taken care to establish well-paid corps of special managers, communicators, coordinators, deans and interns, all devoted to intensifying man’s consciousness of his sinfulness, unworthiness, and dependence of Divine restraint, why, the emotionalist version of Congregationalism and Sunday hell-fire sermons about sinners in the hands of an angry God might never have gone out of fashion at Harvard and Yale at all.


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