Since Michele and I got back to Providence on Tuesday, I’ve been extremely busy, to the point that I still haven’t had a chance to catch up on the sleep I lost the night of New Year’s. We arrived in Boston on Tuesday afternoon, after a 6:00 AM wake up call to make the 8:30 AM flight. The flight itself was a little dicey, with enough turbulence to unsettle me (I kept thinking to myself “I can’t die now. . .things are going so well!).
When we checked into the hotel, and I was able to check my email, I had waiting for me an absolutely enthralling message from TH, who had just spent the last month doing surveys in the slums of Cairo for his PhD. The email was superb, both in terms of how it was written and what it was written about. TH brilliantly described the pitfalls associated with “helping the poor,” and what it really means/takes to do so. He described the destitution of the people he surveyed; his own despair and struggles; and the numerous challenges and roadblocks that individuals, groups, culture and governments place in the way of poverty alleviation (or, as I like to call it, prosperity creation). And then, after 29 (yes, 29) pages of description, he announced the fantastic news that his wife is pregnant with their first child! So congrats to TH and Sybille, two of the most amazing people I have ever met.
The reason Michele and I stayed in Boston, as opposed to coming straight home to Providence, was that the next morning (Wednesday the 3rd), I began sitting in on a class at Harvard Law School called ‘The Law of Climate Change.’ In fact, that’s why we left Los Angeles at 8:30 AM New Year’s day; otherwise, we would have been happy to relax a little longer in LA. So I awoke at 6:00 AM, took a shuttle to Harvard square, and made my way to Austin Hall. I was a little nervous about taking the class, but as things got underway, and we dove right into the science of climate change, I realized that not only am I as smart as the Harvard Law students (and they are smart, believe me), but I am also becoming an expert in my field. It can sometimes be hard to realize how much you are actually learning, but the more I listened to the other student’s questions, the better I felt about my own expertise and level of understanding.
See, it turns out that The Law of Climate change has a lot more to do with policy, science, and business, than it does with law. This is primarily due to the fact that there just isn’t a lot of law on the books relating to climate. As a result, much of the course content will overlap with things I have learned in the past. At the same time, the course will fill in gaps in my knowledge, expose me to a different perspective on the climate issue, provide me the opportunity to network with Harvard law students, and lastly, enable me to learn more about how the law is trying to catch up with climate change.
In order to get to Boston in time for the 9:00 AM class, I have to get up at 6:00 and either be on the bus by 6:40, or ride my bike directly to the train station. Yesterday, due to being rather sluggish in the morning, I missed the bus and was forced to do the latter. This would have been fine were it not for the fact that, at 6:45, it was 6 degrees F outside, and windy. Oh, and the entire ride from my apartment to the station is downhill. It actually wasn’t too bad–and I was in such a rush, I probably didn’t notice how cold I was. I did notice, however, that as I wiped my nose on my glove, the snot would instantly freeze.
Regardless of how I get to the station, once I do, I board the 7:12 commuter train to Boston, which arrives at South Station at around 8:30. From there, I take the Red Line (subway) to Harvard square, and then walk another 5 minutes to the classroom. The class goes from 9-12, and then after I have lunch, and catch the 2:00 train back to Providence.
I will be doing this for the next two weeks. The class itself if pretty good; not quite as wonderful as I had hoped, but certainly worth the time and trouble. But the real incentive for auditing the course is that I will be able to get credit for it by doing an independent study semester. Doing so means I will only have two classes next semester, enabling me to focus on all my projects, which are numerous. These include: the CCURB project (installing low-flow shower heads in the Providence community in order to low carbon emissions); the ESA project (creating, patenting, and licensing a web-based application that enables organizations to easily calculate carbon emissions from annual conferences); my thesis (looking at green job creation in Providence); possibly starting a company with Mike; and lastly, creating windtourism.com. And of course, as I do all this, I am also writing four days a week for treehugger, teaching myself web design, playing around with my new OLPC laptop, reading, blogging, and so on.
All in all, things are going great. Next time I’ll discuss how my philosophy is changing and (in my opinion) improving!