Our friends in the Thursday Night Group are meeting tonight, fittingly enough.

We’ve all heard of global warming, and we’ve heard a lot of leaders talk about solutions, but the real solutions are going to come from people like you and me. TNG makes significant changes in the college, the community and beyond that protect and improve the way of life for those already suffering from the climate crisis, and for all those yet to come.

We want to get to know you, to hear your ideas and opinions and your vision of a better world. Some of you are very knowledgeable about the climate, and we can all learn from you. Others are very new to this, and we will help you learn.

An unstable climate will affect the poor and disadvantaged more than the rich and privileged, and so we have a duty to act.

Ahh, but does TNG really believe that? Fellow EphBlogger Morgan Goodwin writes:

Accountability is one of those big, moral words that parents use. It means one is responsible for the effects of one’s actions. You have to be responsible. You can’t cut corners, you can’t get away with things and you can’t blame someone else for your mistakes or wrongs.

Too true. But what are some concrete actions that a group of Williams students might take to demonstrate the importance of accountability, to hold the leadership of Williams accountable for its actions? EphBlog is here to help!

1) Determine if any trustees fly private jets to College functions and then make a judgment about whether or not such behavior is consistent with the College’s goals on carbon emissions.

2) Force the College to provide estimates of the carbon impact of major construction projects. This would be easy for College officials to do. Stephanie Boyd could just call the general contractor on a project and ask for a (rough) estimate on carbon emissions. Turns out that, when the checks you are writing are for tens of millions of dollars, people will answer your questions. Any other College official would receive a similarly quick answer. Again, this does not mean that a project would change, must less stop. But the first step in accountability is knowing just what happened.

Morgan continues:

The depth and subtlety of our lack of accountability is not a detriment, but rather precisely the reason why we must confront it. By working accountability into our society and our lives, then we have made a fundamental and radical change. That is why fighting climate change is about even more than the future stability of global civilization. It is about fixing the world around us.

No better place to start than Williams. There is nothing wrong with some of TNG’s other projects, like more efficient light bulbs. But Morgan and his TNG friends need to keep in mind the issue of scale. One private jet trip by one trustee probably outweighs years of efforts on light bulbs. (Perhaps a knowledgeable reader could support or refute that claim with real data.)

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