Several events were held in Amherst Massachusetts over the weekend to mark the inauguration of Jonathan Lash as the sixth president of Hampshire College. The highlight was a formal inauguration ceremony featuring a keynote address by former Vice President Al Gore. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.
Gore spoke forcefully on his signature issue, global warming, saying policies and practices must change and critics who deny the scientific evidence must be refuted.
Gore said the vast majority…97 to 98 percent of the world’s scientists and leading research institutions agree that global warming is an urgent problem that must be urgently addressed
The former US Vice President who in 2007 was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work to educate people about global warming spoke to an audience of two thousand people in a large tent erected in the center of the college campus.. He called on students of the small liberal arts college to breath life into the college’s motto: To Know Is Not Enough.
Gore recalled how young people played a key role in the lunch counter boycotts during the civil rights movements and how Hampshire College had been the first in the country to divest its portfolio of investments in South Africa during the campaign against apartheid.
Gore said that are policies and practices by companies and corporations that must change. And, he said the challenges will present opportunities that must be acted on.
The former US Vice President and the president of Hampshire College are long time friends who have both worked for decades on environmental issues.
Lash came to Hampshire College from World Resources Institute, a Washington based environmental think tank. Lash co-chaired the President’s Council on Sustainable Development during the Clinton-Gore administration.
During his inaugural address, Lash announced several initiatives to make Hampshire College more sustainable and improve the energy efficiency of his buildings..many of which were constructed in the 1970s. He said the work would be integrated into the college’s curriculum.
Hampshire College alumnus Gary Hirsberg, the co-founder of Stonyfield Farm announced a $1 million donation to the college to advance its environmental work.