Marlborough paces ahead on reducing their carbon footprint. Head of School Dr. Priscilla Sands signed a pledge on June 28 committing to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.
The School is the first high school to sign the pledge with the Climate Reality Project, a non-profit organization combating climate change founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.
“My generation was able to mess this up and continues to do so,” Sands said. “I am a climate crisis advocate. It was an easy, easy thing to get the School behind. My role is to put the effort and the resources of the School behind something that many of you believe in and I believe in.”
The initiative was brought to the School’s attention by senior Gaby ’20. Gaby is the co-president of Marlborough’s ECO Club and a member of the Student Climate Emergency Coalition, an environmental activist group.
Last August, Gaby attended the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training, a three-day conference held in Downtown Los Angeles for climate change activists. The conference, led by Gore, hosted delegates from across the globe, including a limited number of passionate high school students.
“[The conference] showed me how many people are already involved and all of the ways I could get involved,” Gaby said. “I think actions that I have taken since then have been inspired by that conference.”
Gaby also attended a local Climate Reality meeting following the conference, where she discovered the “100% Committed” campaign. She proposed it to senior Marlborough administrators at the start of the 2018-2019 school year.
She first arranged a meeting between Climate Reality Leadership Corps volunteers Michael Zelnicker and Sylvie Abrams, Marlborough’s Campus Environmental Council Adviser Lisa Ellis and former Science Department Head Jennifer Garrison-Ross. Zelnicker is the co-chair of the Los Angeles chapter of the Climate Reality Project. Ellis and Garrison Ross then contacted Sands.
To reach its renewable energy goals, the School plans to transition exclusively to LED lighting. The gym and parking garage have already been switched to LEDs.
Sands said they also hope to install more solar panels on campus. Some solar panels were already installed on the roof of the gym during the Arden Project, providing 70 percent of the energy required to heat the pool.
Sands said Marlborough needs ten years to fulfill the pledge because they have to balance budget restrictions, neighbors’ concerns and their conditional use policy, a permit that regulates land use.
“You look at your budget as your mission statement,” Sands said. “Projects that move forward will be part of this [initiative].”