Contributing opinion writer
Ariel G. Silverman
There are many complicated reasons why each of us consumes the food we do. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, vegan or meatatarian, we can agree that we have the right to maintain our diets of choice. Let’s work together to make sure that everyone has that right by ensuring that the diversity of meal offerings reflects the diverse preferences of Harvard’s student body.
If we are going to take practical steps to address the extraordinary socioeconomic inequality and environmental degradation America’s underregulated capitalist market helped produce, Americans must stop associating regulation with socialism. Unfortunately, Republicans are not going to stop utilizing this effective — albeit inaccurate — critique. At least not until Democrats do something to counter this distorted narrative.
While we can't change the past, it is our responsibility to strive towards a future where institutional outcomes match modern-day values of inclusivity, equality, and justice. We can work towards this future by listening to Indigenous students and faculty and engage in empathetic discussion about how we can collectively reflect and move forward.
It is so easy to stereotype those you disagree with and simplify complexities while studying issues as dire as climate change from an arms-length, especially in communities as politically homogeneous as Cambridge. Such generalizations fall apart when you get to know the people whose livelihoods rely on the fossil fuel industry. Many Alaskans work for the oil and gas industry, not because they deny climate change, but because they need high-paying jobs to support their families.
While everyone is entitled to purchase items with sentimental value, Harvard has a problem with quantity and quality. By the end of college, students wind up with dozens of unflattering t-shirts that do little to grow their memory bank of experiences. Instead, these clothes clutter our closets and our minds until they are thrown out.
Consumers and evolving market forces are incentivizing corporations to act consciously, as well as irresponsibly. From this, we can glean that not all corporations can be subjected to a rigid good-bad binary.
To be an environmental advocate, you don't have to purchase Birkenstocks and kiss goodbye to capitalism. You do, however, need to embrace the same relentless pursuit of change, focus on the details, and find within yourself the conviction that we all can and must do better for one another and for future generations.