From The Crimson, to Satire V, to the Harvard Advocate, Harvard College offers a wide variety of platforms for students to write, design, and assist in publication both online and off. However, until last semester the University did not have a review focusing on issues of the environment, despite having a number of groups commitment to environmental activism. Thus, two undergraduates saw the niche, filled it, and the Harvard College Review of Environment & Society was born. As part of our ongoing profiling of students’ experiences in sustainability while at Harvard, Jahred Liddie, our Communications Intern, sat down with Harold Eyster, College '16, and Daniel Dong, College '16, to hear more about what goals they have for the new publication, as well as what they learned along the way.
What motivates your interest in the environment and sustainability?
Harold: Firstly, the environment is an extremely interesting academic topic, containing a wide range of applicable disciplines and fascinating nuances, convolutions, and complexities. Secondly, our environment faces innumerable threats and both Daniel and I have long sought to try to understand and solve these problems.
Was there anything in particular that inspired you to create the Review?
Harold: When Daniel and I came to Harvard there were many environmental activist groups, but there were no groups that really analyzed and thoughtfully considered the issues. We also noticed that the media promulgated one-sided and narrow-minded perceptions on environmental issues, and so we decided to found the Harvard College Review of Environment & Society to try and fill these gaps. From what we can tell, this is the first student-run multidisciplinary environmental publication.
On that note, what originally was your vision? Is there a guiding philosophy behind the publication?
Daniel: When we started off, we envisioned a platform where all voices, perspectives, and rationales regarding sustainability can be heard. All too often, conversations on the environment have been blinded or colored by political interest—and that makes it more difficult to make environmental issues credible and the center of attention for people. The principle behind our publication was to create a forum where different information about the same environmental concern can be brought in and discussed together.
The principle behind our publication was to create a forum where different information about the same environmental concern can be brought in and discussed together.
Tell us a little bit about the review’s goings-on last semester.
Daniel: Last semester, under the leadership of seven aspiring students here at the University, we kicked off with a print journal and the launch of our online website. Our first issue focused on building climate resilience in developing countries. We solicited research and opinions from a diverse set of students and scholars, which included Dr. Jeffrey Sachs. We've reached over 2,000 viewers in both print and our online platform.
How are you involved in sustainability otherwise on campus?
Harold: We’ve tried to take full advantage of the Harvard University Center for the Environment and the host of opportunities it offers, from attending events featuring world-renowned speakers to discussing environmental issues with the thoughtful and insightful HUCE Fellows. I also work for a temporal ecology lab at Harvard that is investigating how tree cycles are forced by climate.
In the short term: What are your plans for the publication this semester?
Harold: We’re currently focusing on ramping up our website to bring readers content from Harvard professors and guest speakers. We hope to make the knowledge and perceptions of these scholars easily accessible to the Harvard population and beyond.
We are also in the process of producing the second print issue of the Review. This issue will bring together a wide diversity of viewpoints to focus on the controversial issue of nuclear energy.
In the long term: What are your plans for the future of the publication?
Harold: We foresee a publication that produces content that readers can reliably turn to in order to gain a holistic understanding of controversial environmental issues to foster a discerning and knowledgeable public.
We foresee a publication that produces content that readers can reliably turn to in order to gain a holistic understanding of controversial environmental issues to foster a discerning and knowledgeable public.