Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Is Harvard University destroying the environment in Argentina in addition to the Charles River?

1. General Analysis.
2. Press Release.
3. Comment from Dale F. Appel.

1. General Analysis.

Looking at the ongoing outrages on the Charles River, Harvard’s empire building on the Boston / Allston (North) side of the river is consistent with very filthy environmental hands on the part of Harvard and its friends for the benefit of Harvard.

It is a pleasure to see a group with apparent Harvard connections standing up to what looks like Harvard destructiveness of trees beyond the Charles River, in Argentina.

The most egregious immediate example is the governor’s House Bill H3332 with $26 million for projects which includes destruction of hundreds of trees between Magazine Beach and the Longfellow Bridge. This has been sold as “underpasses” under the next three bridges. The euphemism for the tree destruction is “Historical Parkways”. This destruction was previously defeated when the bureaucrats went for Obama reconstruction moneys. They are settling for a lie that describes $2 to $4 million of the funds, “underpasses” which the responsible bureaucracy, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, condemns as environmentally destructiveness.

The tree destruction would straighten out Memorial Drive to make it easier to move the I90 (Mass. Pike) exit ramp from Allston / Cambridge, to the Grand Junction Bridge under the BU Bridge. That would greatly assist moving the Harvard Medical School to the rail yards and that current exit, which Harvard purchased months after transit folks proved the rail bridge could be maneuvered into holding that traffic.

Here is what looks like a press release from concerned folks concerning Argentina. Thanks to George Despotes for providing it. It seems to have originated in Sam Wohns,

2. Press Release.

PRESS RELEASE: New Report Reveals Harvard University’s Timber Plantations in Argentine Degrade Wetlands

Responsible Investment at Harvard


Anuradha Mittal,, 510-469-5228
Sam Wohns,, 616-334-8343 New Report Reveals Harvard University's Timber Plantations in Argentina Degrade World's Second Largest Wetlands, Endanger Surrounding Communities

October 15, 2013, Oakland, CA --A report released today reveals that industrial timber plantations owned by Harvard University in the Corrientes province of Argentina have degraded the Iberá Wetlands ecosystem and endangered thousands of small-holder farmers in the region. The report is a joint publication of the Oakland Institute and the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition.

The report's findings contradict recent statements by Harvard University President Drew Faust about the university's investment practices. Two weeks ago, she wrote of Harvard's "commitment to sustainable investment" and its "distinctive responsibilities to society."

"When I saw how the plantations have invaded the wetlands, I felt sick to my stomach," said Sam Wohns, the report's author. "As a Harvard student, I shouldn't be benefiting from environmental destruction halfway across the world."

Together, Harvard's timber companies in Corrientes, Argentina--EVASA and Las Misiones--are worth $55.2 million and encompass 217,166 acres of land. Since it purchased the companies in 2007, the university has rapidly expanded the timber plantations into protected wetland areas and surrounding communities.

According to residents in nearby communities, the plantations reduce the productivity of their farms, create public health problems, and cause damage to public roads.

"Harvard's plantations are destroying our way of life," said Adrían Obregón, a member of the San Miguel Association of Small Producers, an organization of smallholder farmers who live near Harvard's plantations. "We want Harvard to stop expanding its plantations within our communities."

Despite their negative impacts, most of the plantations are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for sustainable management practices. According to FSC audits, however, Harvard has failed to fully implement sustainable management practices. Harvard has also rolled back environmentally friendly practices implemented by a previous owner.

"Harvard has repeatedly tried to hide its reckless behavior in the Iberá Wetlands under the guise of responsible investment," said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute. "This report by Harvard students is a call to maintain the integrity of the university's investments."

The Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition is calling on Harvard University President Drew Faust to implement the report's proposals, which are based on interviews conducted with community members, plantation workers, and other stakeholders.

"This student-written report is a milestone for responsible investment in higher education," said Dan Apfel, an expert on university endowments and the executive director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition. "Harvard should put a stop to the dangerous expansion of its plantations in the Iberá Wetlands and start investing its entire $32.7 billion endowment responsibly."

3. Comment from Dale F. Appel.

It is horrible because one would think there was enough brain power at Harvard for them to realize the long term problems that will result from their flagrant abuse and destruction of the forest in Argentina as well as destroying the habitat of the wild geese in Cambridge.