To the Editor:
The time for climate action is now. According to the most recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, human society has only 12 years to curb the catastrophic effects of climate change. Should we fall short of this goal, hundreds of millions of people will be at immediate risk of drought, famine, extreme weather events, and worsening poverty. In addition to addressing environmental justice concerns, such as the incinerator in Chester and the Mariner East 2 pipeline, we also need to drastically reduce our carbon footprint. In order to begin addressing this concern as soon as possible, a coalition of local environmentalists including the Sierra Club’s Delco Chapter of Ready for 100 is organizing to urge the Borough of Swarthmore to adopt 100% renewable energy within the next several years.
Our cohort of local residents, nonprofits, and Swarthmore students has thus far collected over 100 petition signatures from borough residents. The goal of RF100 is to provide affordable and accessible energy to all U.S. citizens through renewable sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy. These energy sources do nothing to contaminate our soil, air, and water, while the extraction and burning of fossil fuels typically does. In order to develop a functioning economy based on renewable energy, we must immediately commit to building the necessary infrastructure in partnership with local government. In 2011, the Borough Council commissioned a study to explore ways to reduce carbon emissions in the Swarthmore area, and we believe now is the time to evaluate and expand that commitment. A number of Swarthmore’s neighboring cities have already taken the RF100 pledge, including Radnor, Springfield, Haverford, East Bradford, West Chester, Downingtown, and others. Clearly, the regional trend is moving toward the embrace of sustainability, and Swarthmore should join in the benefits to our environment, economy, and public health. The Sierra Club and our group of community organizers met with the Swarthmore Borough Environmental Advisory Council on the night of April 23rd in order to present our proposal of 100% renewable energy. We now hope that the Borough adopts the commitment in order to pave a way for the children of Swarthmore and all others to have a highly quality of life for decades to come.
Nico Aldaco, Class of 2019