This past Wednesday, March 15, Earthlust held a fireside chat to discuss the possibilities of increased wind power usage on the Swarthmore campus. Earthlust is currently proposing that Swarthmore raise the percentage of renewable energy used on campus from 8.5% (purchased in 2005) to 35%.
Given the high greenhouse gas emission levels in Pennsylvania (cited as contributing 1% of the world’s emissions), Earthlust members believe that Swarthmore needs to take the initiative to switch to wind power, setting an example for other schools and following the progressive lead of fellow colleges that have already made the switch. Andrew McKay explains, “Somebody has got to spearhead it… Swarthmore is in a position to do so financially.”
Earthlust co-coordinator Kavita Hardy observes, “The administration is very supportive of the ethics of wind power. It’s just a matter of the economic concerns.” Earthlust is positive that these concerns can be well met. If purchased from PECO energy, Swarthmore’s current energy provider, the cost is estimated at $152,400, “less than 12% of the college’s total electricity costs,” Earthlust states. “It’s very feasible,” adds Elizabeth Crampton.
Earthlust’s major agenda for second semester, in addition to conservation efforts, is focused on wind power. At the fireside chat, Earthlust members discussed plans to be a strong presence at Ride the Tide and Parents Weekend, hoping to gain the support of alumni as well as suggesting that taking the initiative to use wind power could be a major selling point for the college. As a show of student and faculty support, Earthlust is considering a “Pinwheels on Parrish” event, in which students and faculty supporting the use of wind power would each be represented by a pinwheel, with which Earthlust hopes to cover Parrish Beach.
Students interested in learning more about Earthlust’s energy conservation efforts or the wind power campaign are encouraged to go to Earthlust’s weekly meeting, Monday at 9:00 p.m. in Kohlberg 228.
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