Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Starting on Monday and continuing through Friday, you may have seen Earthlust members tabling at the top of Sharples as part of a national Sierra-Club-sponsored Week of Action against global warming.
According to Earthlust president Elizabeth Crampton ’09, there are between five hundred and fifty and six hundred colleges participating across the country, including Bryn Mawr. Earthlust submitted an action plan to the Sierra Club and was able to get a free copy of the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” as well as screening rights for the film, which was shown to kick off the week on Monday.
“We’re trying to let people know about what they can do to stop global warming,” said Crampton of the group’s action plan. “We have a three-fold focus, on the national, local, and individual levels.”
On the national level, students can sign a photo petition, where they hold a paper speech bubble that says “Cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050!” and have their photo taken. Earthlust has already collected over one hundred photos.
On the local level, there have been opportunities to write letters to Pennsylvania Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey urging them to support a bill that would “reduce oil subsidies and put the money towards renewable energy technologies.” The bill was passed by a 264-163 vote in the House of Representatives during the first 100 hours of Democratic control.
On the individual level, students are being asked to sign a pledge to reduce their own carbon footprint by doing things like turning off computers when not in use, walking or biking instead of driving, buying local and organic food (Crampton points out that “the average piece of broccoli travels three thousand miles to get to you!”), using cold water when washing clothes, and recycling. Once students sign the pledge, says Crampton, “We tie a green piece of yarn around your wrist to symbolize your commitment.”
If you’re interested in taking part in the activities to stop global warming discussed above, “An Inconvenient Truth” will be shown again on Friday at 7 PM in LPAC, and letter-writing and pledge-signing will take place after the screening.
What else will Earthlust be doing this semester? Last semester, Earthlust campaigned in support of Swarthmore purchasing more wind power. The budget will not be decided until the middle of February, but Crampton is hopeful that they will achieve their goal. “Everyone who came out to the rally did a great job,” she said, “and we even made front page of the website. We also have 140 feet of signatures on a petition supporting wind power, so hopefully the Budget Committee will take that into consideration when they make their decision.”
With the wind power campaign currently waiting on Swarthmore’s decision, Earthlust plans to spend this semester “working on conservation and efficiency,” according to Crampton. Some of the projects they have planned include working with the bookstore to start selling drying racks there, starting a program to exchange students’ incandescent light bulbs for more efficient florescent bulbs, and pushing the administration to install double-sided printers in all dorms in order to cut down on paper waste.