朱棣文 哈佛大学毕业典礼演讲 2009 [之二](2009-09-23 12:15:35)
这是目前英文相对最完整、中文相对翻译得最准确的版本。学用Chu的话，I'm not a millionaire, but at least I'm a nerd in some aspects.
英文来自哈佛大学网站，尽管与演讲录音略有出入，某些地方要比国内流行版本准确些，而有些地方却更加不准确。中国的月亮不圆，外国的月亮未必无缺。之后，我又听了录音和视频，进行了校对。学用Chu的话，Don't believe in textbooks and materials, you should prove them by yourself.
中文是我在网文的基础上校对并修改的。学用Chu的话，I'm following the footsteps of the best of others. 网文误译太多，以讹传讹，竟然没有人细察，有些老师还推荐给学生，误人子弟。
现予以分享，欢迎转贴，但要注明出处。学用Chu的话，For years I was smart, now I recommend pleasant. Sharing is wonderful.
I began teaching with the idea of giving back, but I received more than I gave. This brings me to the final movement of this speech. It begins with a story about an extraordinary scientific discovery and the new dilemma that it poses. It’s a call to arms and about making a difference.
In the last several decades, our climate has been changing. Climate change is not new: the Earth went through six ice ages in the past 600,000 years. However, recent measurements show that the climate has begun to change rapidly. The size of the North polar ice cap in the month of September is only half the size it was a mere fifty years ago. The sea level which has been rising since direct measurements began in 1870, but that rate is now five times faster than it was at the beginning of recorded measurements.
Here’s the remarkable scientific discovery. For the first time in human history, science is now making predictions of how our actions will affect the world 50 and 100 years from now. These changes are due to an increase in carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The Earth has warmed up by roughly 0.8 degrees Celsius since the beginning of the Revolution. There is already approximately a 1 degree rise built into the system, even if we stop all greenhouse gas emissions today. Why? It would be decades to warm up the deep oceans before the temperature reaches a new equilibrium.
If the world continues on a business-as-usual path, the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that there is a
50-50 chance the temperature will exceed five degrees by the end of
this century. This increase may not sound like much, but let me
remind you that during the last ice age, the world was only 6
degrees colder. During this time, most of Canada and the United
States down to Ohio and Pennsylvania were covered year round by a
glacier. A world five degrees warmer will be very different. The
change will be so rapid many species, including humans, will have a
hard time adapting. I’ve been told, for example, that in a much
warmer world, insects were bigger. I wonder if this thing buzzing
around is a precursor to that.
We also face the specter of non-linear “tipping points” that may cause much more severe changes. An example of a tipping point is the thawing of the permafrost. The permafrost contains immense amounts of frozen organic matter that have been accumulating for millennia. If the soil melts, microbes will spring to life and cause this debris to rot. The difference in biological activity below freezing and above freezing is something we are all familiar with. Frozen food remains edible for a very long time in the freezer, but once thawed, it spoils quickly. How much methane and carbon dioxide might be released from the rotting permafrost? If even a small fraction of the carbon is released, it would be greater than all the greenhouse gases we have released since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Once started, a runaway effect could occur.
The climate problem is the unintended consequence of our success. We depend on fossil energy to keep our homes warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and lit at night; we use it to travel across town and across continents. Energy is a fundamental reason for the prosperity we enjoy, and we will not surrender this prosperity. The United States has 3 percent of the world population, and yet we consume 25 percent of the energy. By contrast, there are 1.6 billion people who don’t have access to electricity. Hundreds of millions of people still cook with twigs or dung. The life we enjoy may not be within easy reach of many in the developing world, but it is within sight, and they want what we have.
Here is the dilemma. How much are we willing to invest, as a world society, to mitigate the consequences of climate change that will not be realized for at least 100 years? Deeply rooted in all cultures, is the notion of generational responsibility. Parents work hard so their children will have a better life. Climate change will affect the entire world, but our natural focus is on the welfare of our immediate families. Can we, as a world society, meet our responsibility to future generations?
While I am worried, I am hopeful we will solve this problem. I became the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in part because I wanted to enlist some of the best scientific minds to help battle against climate change. I was there only four and a half years, the shortest serving director in the 78 year history of the Lab, but when I left, a number of very exciting energy institutes at the Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley had been established.
I am extremely privileged to be part of the Obama administration. If there ever was a time to help steer America and the world towards a path of sustainable energy, now is the time. The message the President is delivering is not one of doom and gloom, but of optimism and opportunity. I share this optimism. The task ahead is daunting, but we can and will succeed.
We know some of the answers already. There are immediate and significant savings in energy efficiency and conservation. Energy efficiency is not just low-hanging fruit; it is fruit lying on the ground. For example, we have the potential to make buildings 80 percent more efficient with investments that will pay for themselves in less than 15 years. Buildings consume 40 percent of the energy we use, and a transition to energy efficient buildings will cut our carbon emissions by one third.
We are revving up the remarkable American innovation machine that will be the basis of a new American prosperity. We will invent much improved methods to harness the sun, the wind, nuclear power, and capture and sequester the carbon dioxide emitted from our power plants. Advanced bio-fuels and the electrification of personal vehicles make us less dependent on foreign oil.
In the coming decades, we will almost certainly face higher oil prices and be in a carbon-constrained economy. We have the opportunity to lead in development of a new, industrial revolution. The great hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, when asked how he positioned himself on the ice, he replied “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been.” America should do the same.
The Obama Administration is laying a new foundation for a prosperous and sustainable energy future, but we don’t have all of the answers. That’s where you come in. I am asking you, the Harvard graduates, to join us. As our future intellectual leaders, take the time to learn more about what’s at stake, and then act on that knowledge. As future scientists and engineers, I ask you to give us better technology solutions. As future economists and political scientists, I ask you to create better policy options. As future business leaders, I ask you make sustainability an integral part of your business.
Finally, as humanists, I ask you speak to our common humanity. One of the cruelest ironies about climate change is that the ones who will be hurt the most are the most innocent: the world's poorest and those yet to be born.
The coda to this last movement is borrowed from two humanists. The first quote is from Martin Luther King when he spoke on ending the war in Vietnam in 1967, but his message seems so fitting for today’s climate crisis:
“This call for worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man ….We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.”
The final message is from William Faulkner. On December 10, 1950, his Nobel Prize banquet speech was about the role of humanists in a world facing potential nuclear holocaust.
“I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which has been the glory of his past.”
Graduates, you have an extraordinary role to play in future. As you pursue your private passions, I hope you will also develop a passion and a voice to help the world in ways both large and small. Nothing will give you greater satisfaction.
Please accept my warmest congratulations. May you prosper, may you help preserve and save our planet for your children, and all future children of the world.