Harvard students share their thoughts on environmental challenges – Harvard Gazette


Liu is part of the Harvard Climate Leaders program for professional students. Healy attends the Harvard Student Climate Change Conference. Both are students at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

HEALY: As a public health student, I see so many environmental challenges, whether it’s the 90% of the world breathing unhealthy air, or the disproportionate effects of extreme heat on communities of color, or the world’s environmental disruption. natural and zoonotic disease that humans are increasingly exposed to. But the central commonality at the heart of all these crises is the climate crisis. Climate change, from greenhouse gas emissions to the physical warming of the Earth, is making all of these environmental crises worse. This is why I call the climate crisis the great exacerbator. While we will all feel the effects of climate change, it will not be felt in the same way. Whether it’s racial inequalities or wealth inequalities, the climate crisis is widening these already gaping divides.

Solutions may need to step outside of our current roadmaps to deal with crises. I have seen the success of individual efforts and private innovation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, from individuals wearing masks and social distancing to huge strides in vaccine development. But for climate change, individual efforts and innovation will not be enough. I would be in favor of policy reform and the formation of coalitions between new actors. As supervisor of the Harvard Student Climate Change Conference and the Harvard Climate Leaders Program, my goal was to help mobilize the diverse Harvard community to fight climate change. I’m also researching how climate change is making American temperatures more variable and how this is reducing the life expectancy of Medicare beneficiaries. The objective of this research, with Professor Joel Schwartz, will be to understand the effects of climate change on vulnerable communities. I certainly hope to develop these themes in my future work.

SU LIU: A climate solution will need to be a joint effort of all of society, not just people in environmental or climate circles. In addition to cross-sectoral cooperation, addressing climate change will require much stronger international cooperation so that technologies, projects and resources can be developed and shared globally. As a Chinese-Brazilian student currently studying in the United States, I find it very useful to know the challenges and climate solutions of each of these countries, and how these may or may not be applied in other contexts. . Sino-US relations are currently strained, but I hope that climate talks can continue since we have a lot to learn from each other.

Personally, as an environmental health student at [the Harvard Chan School], I think my contribution to tackling this challenge so far has been to do research, learn more about the effects of climate change on health, and most importantly, learn how to communicate climate issues to outsiders. to climatic circles. Each week there are several climate change events at Harvard, where a different perspective on climate change is discussed. It has been very inspiring for me and I think I could learn more about climate change in a more holistic way.

Recently, I started an internship at FXB Village, where I work on the development and integration of climate resilience indicators into their program to fight poverty in rural communities in Puebla, Mexico. It has been very rewarding to introduce topics on climate change and climate resilience to people working on poverty reduction and to see how everything is interconnected. When we address climate resilience, we also address access to basic services, livelihoods, health, equity and quality of life in general. This is where climate justice comes in, and it’s a very powerful idea.

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