Alumni Embrace the Spirit of Earth Day
The world celebrates Earth Day on April 22, but many alumni have made a commitment to sustainability through the work that they do every day. The Harvard Office of Sustainability recently spoke with five alumni about their professional endeavors as they relate to the environment. All can connect their passion for sustainability to their Harvard experience.
Andreas Birnik, ALM '12
“I was frustrated by the fact that various online carbon footprint calculators provided vastly different results,” says Andreas Birnik ALM '12, co-founder of CarbonStory—a new social start-up that provides users with a fun, informative, and constructive way to be part of the solution to climate change. The calculation tool, based on Birnik's capstone project at Harvard, responds to specific countries and lifestyles, incorporates the newest data and evidence, and keeps a history of your impact over time. Read more.
Molly Bales, AB '10
“I believe in the power of the private sector to solve problems,” says Molly Bales AB '10, who has applied lessons she learned working on sustainability as an undergraduate to her current career in alternative energy. During her time at the College, Molly was actively involved in the campaign to push Harvard to adopt a greenhouse gas reduction goal. As an eco-REP in Mather House, she led education and outreach campaigns to engage her fellow students in environmental action. Molly now works for a company called Harvest Power, which owns and operates organics processing facilities.
Allison Rogers, AB '04, EdM '08
For alumna Allison Rogers AB '04, EdM '08, it was her experience with Harvard's Environmental Action Committee and student eco-REP program that opened her eyes to the fact that “there's so much we need to be doing in terms of creating a sustainable future.” Since graduating from Harvard College and the Graduate School of Education, Allison has gone on to lead former House speaker Nancy Pelosi's Green the Capitol initiative and is now director of policy for the Rhode Island Department of Administration.
Edward Hseih, AB ‘02
“Environmentalism can also be entrepreneurialism,” said Edward Hsieh AB '02, reflecting on his involvement in sustainability at Harvard. Hsieh, who now works as executive director of the nonprofit MassRecycle, was an environmental science and public policy student at Harvard who took advantage of a variety of sustainability-related internships. He encourages current students to do the same by taking advantage of the opportunities before them.
Mina Makarious, AB '06, JD '09
“Institutions like Harvard and other universities can do a lot a good for sustainability by being part of the building of their communities,” says Mina Makarious AB '06, JD '09, who as a law student was involved in the Harvard Environmental Law Society, where he learned “how much of [working on sustainability issues] is the little things.” He now practices municipal and environmental law at the firm Anderson & Kreiger.
*Bales, Rogers, Hsieh, and Makarious are four of the seven alumni interviewed by the Office for Sustainability after they participated in the 2013 Public Interested conference, organized as part of January's Wintersession activities. The event included a breakout session on green careers at which the alumni—ranging in age and experience—spoke with a packed room of Harvard College students interested in the environment, energy, and sustainability. Visit the Green Alumni Perspectives video playlist for interviews with all seven alumni.