I trust that everyone is celebrating Earth Day in an environmentally responsible low-impact manner. Here are a friend’s photos from the Carnivale in Viareggio (Italy, in a much happier time) this year:
In one of them, Greta Thunberg says “thanks” for recycling, which raises a question about whether single-stream recycling is still practical in the Age of Corona. Are Americans still sorting through what used to be called “trash” and exporting plastic to Asia in containers? Or does what go into the recycling bin just get tossed into a landfill, a casualty of coronaplague just like the reusable shopping bag?
Update: Email received from the President of MIT, Rafael Reif…
Unfortunately, while we are preoccupied with the present wave of human suffering, the rolling devastation of Earth’s ecosystem carries on too. If this spring had unfolded according to the pre-Covid plan, today would have featured the last in a series of symposia designed to focus our community on how best to use MIT’s distinctive strengths in the fight to slow and adapt to damaging effects of climate change.
As I argue in an op-ed in the Boston Globe, the ongoing struggle to respond to Covid-19 holds important lessons about the kind of scientific advances and humane leadership it will take to succeed in the climate fight. I confess that this subject feels very close to home, because the past few weeks have showcased the finest qualities of our community, from brilliant hands-on problem solving and incomparable analysis and policymaking to an inspiring sense of adaptability, openhearted kindness, and a passion for service.
The painful challenges imposed by the virus will surely demand our attention for some time to come. But I am more convinced than ever that on climate – the defining challenge of this century – our community is also poised to do a world of good.