Posted by: Karen | November 11, 2008

Profile: Karen McKinnon

Karen McKInnon

Harvard College, 2010

Environmental Action Committee, Co-Chair

Boulder, CO


Given unlimited resources and access to whomever you’d want, what’s one environment-related change you’d like to see at your school?

I would like to see the College employ a new way of teaching and learning that emphasized the importance of sustainability within every discipline. Environmentalism is too often viewed as an isolated cause or a specific political issue, a mentality that fails to take into account that our livelihoods depend on living on a habitable and supportive planet. I would like to see political science classes discuss how environmental degradation has affected the rise and fall of civilization, English classes discuss how writers were influenced by their natural environment, and economics classes discuss how we can support both economic development and protect precious resources. Luckily, much of this is already happening based on individual professors’ interests, but to expand this mentality to the College as a whole would be very powerful.

Earliest memory that made you realize, “yep, I care about the environment.” 

My interest in the environment, and specifically climate change, began with my interest in climate science. For my birthday in third grade, my dad got me a book about the processes relating to climate change, and my science project that year was entitled “Hot Times in the Greenhouse.” While that topic may not have seemed very exciting to most eight year olds, I was intrigued from the beginning about how our climate could dramatically change due to human influence. As I’ve gotten older, the social implications of that change have become more and more evident and the need to address the problem has become more dramatic.   
What did you do on the night of the presidential elections?

I watched the returns with my friends and housemates in Currier (my residential house) and cheered as Colorado went for Obama and elected a second Democratic senator!



  1. […] to Shannon Simms (GSD ‘10) and Karen McKinnon (College ‘10), the new coordinators of the Harvard Climate Collaborative. The two will […]

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