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Divestment necessary as a model of sustainability

in Letter to the Editor/Opinions by

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We are writing in response to the article that appeared in the Phoenix on December 1st, 2016 entitled “Sustainability Office’s Work Continues, Consultants to be hired; Future of the Carbon Tax Unclear.”
We are both Swarthmore class of 1965. We are concerned about the global future, and the college that we love and we desperately need to make it more sustainable. We have asked—no, pleaded with—the Board of Managers to divest from fossil fuels and we have put our money where our mouths are by making significant contributions to the President’s Climate Commitment Fund. We are happy that the PCCF helped send a Swarthmore delegation to Marrakech for the important Conference of the Parties 22 meeting this past November.

We were around Swarthmore in early October and happy to visit our alma mater. We were delighted to find the campus as beautiful as we had remembered it. On a somewhat chilly morning we explored the Sproul Observatory building looking for the office of the College Bulletin, which is the magazine through which the College stays in touch with alumni. We found the office, but were dismayed to also find an air conditioner cooling an area next to the Bulletin’s office. The problem was not necessarily the air conditioner, but the fact that the school was running the air conditioner on an already cold day.
From this experience and the way that the college is currently handling the conflict with divestment, there is much to be gained by the work of the Sustainability Office and the work of the President’s Office as a whole. The effect on people, especially students, is even greater than the effect that it has had by making the campus greener.

We are proud that Swarthmore will be educating a group of leaders in sustainability! However, we also need to ensure that Swarthmore is taking all the steps it can to set an example for leaders in sustainability, starting with divestment.

Gail (Sise) Grossman and Richard Grossman, Swarthmore ‘65

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