The Harvard Memorial Hall, at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard University’s Office for Sustainability and green cleaning products manufacturer Earth Friendly Products hosted the first-ever Harvard Environmental Action & Leadership Summit (HEALS) on Oct. 4. 

Held at the Harvard Faculty Club, the youth-led conference featured engaging and interactive panel discussions and workshops with leaders in business, policymaking, and environmental science.

In the face of unprecedented environmental crises, the conference engaged students, faculty, community, and global leaders to move beyond talk and initiate a collective action to protect and promote the planet and human health.

Topics discussed touched on policy change, leadership, and individual action, featuring speakers including Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, president and CEO of Earth Friendly Products; Heather Henriksen, chief sustainability officer of Harvard University; Robert Stowe, director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and the Harvard Environmental Economics Program; Benjamin Schneer, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University; Sal DiDomenico, Massachusetts state senator; and Katie Allen, executive director of Algalita Marine Research and Education.

“I am thrilled to be part of this groundbreaking event to highlight the important role that business must play in being a champion for change and finding innovative solutions alongside our youth leaders,” says Vlahakis-Hanks via press release. “Working with Harvard sophomore Anushka Bhaskar and the students of the Harvard Environmental Action & Leadership program has been inspirational and fills me with great hope and optimism for the future of our planet.”

HEALS is a leadership incubator created to inspire a deep cultural shift centered on environmental action. The conference seeks to equip Harvard students and citizen-leaders with the critical understanding that each and every person, no matter their academics, personal background, career goals, or interests, has a place in the movement to save our world from unprecedented environmental crises of mass scale.