“Ready for 100” Initiative in Radnor Township

Ali Bauer

 

What is Ready for 100?

The Ready for 100 campaign has a goal of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2035. The specifics of Ready for 100’s goals differ between communities, but Radnor is in the process of pledging to achieve renewable energy by 2035. If this goal is not met, there will be no formal consequences, and the fight for renewable energy will continue until it is complete. Ready for 100 was established in 2017 by the Sierra Club when President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

Ready for 100 Expansion

In the neighboring areas of Radnor, Ready for 100 is becoming increasingly popular. Chester, Haverford, Media, Nether Providence, Prospect Park, and Swarthmore have already started Ready for 100 efforts. So far, 107 townships throughout the United States have officially implemented Ready for 100 resolutions, and Radnor Township is scheduled to be the 108th.

 

Interviewing Ready for 100 Advocate, Sara Pilling

Sara Pilling is a large part of Radnor’s Ready for 100 pledge. On the evening of February 17th, Ali Bauer and Becca Zajac conducted an interview with her to identify why Ready 100 was something that interested her, and how she thinks it can impact the community. Since Ali and Becca have been in communication with Sara, they have become involved with supporting the Ready for 100 initiative.

 

Have you always been environmentally driven? If not, what sparked your change?

Sara explained that she had always been interested in science. From early on, she wanted to know why and how things happened, which lead to her further studies and interests. With that, Sara took up gardening and realized how great it made her feel when she was down or overwhelmed with her personal life. In the 70s, Sara attended the Arboretum School of the Barnes foundation, where she received a graduate-like curriculum, furthering her knowledge of botany. At this point, environmental work was all around Sara, and she could not help but to make it her livelihood.

 

How did you get involved with Ready for 100?

Sara shared that her son was pursuing a career in climate change research, and that she knew that she wanted to make a difference. She admitted, however, that we she was not always sure how she was going to do so. Later, Sara watched Al Gore’s film regarding climate change and was further inspired. This compelled her to file an application for work on Al Gore’s project. By this time in her life, Sara was very aware of the environmental damage that was contributing to global warming. Finally, in 2017, Sara heard about Ready for 100 and started attending local meetings because this could be her way to make a difference. She explained that she saw it as an opportunity to help climate change in a way that finally related to Radnor. Sara went on to explain that it was hard for her to express the full consequences of climate change on Radnor residents because some things just do not apply to where they live. For example, Sara noted that the flooding and sinking of coasts and areas closer to sea level is not a huge motive for Radnor residents to pursue renewable energy since those are circumstances that they are not exposed to unless they own a beach house.

 

What were your occupations?

Sara has worked for Albert Sabin, biological researcher, mother, housewife, landscape designer, and standardized patient. Sara also explained that she worked in Haiti for 13 years with children who could not afford education. Finally, Sara was a gardener and still helps out with the community garden at skunk hollow. This, she emphasized, was her escape from her sadness when her daughter passed of cancer.

 

What is the next step in the Ready for 100 process?

First, Sara described how 107 resolutions have already been passed in support of the Ready for 100 goal. On Monday, February 11th, Radnor was scheduled to be the 108th resolution by approval by the Board of Commissioners, but this was unfortunately postponed until Monday, February 25th due to severe weather. Assuming that the Board of Commissioners votes in favor of this resolution, it is up to the Ready for 100 supporters to comprise a list of priorities that they want to fulfill by 2035. First on the agenda, in Sara’s eyes, is efficiency. She claims that with the participation of all of Radnor, we can make a difference; she even mentioned that small changes around the house such as turning off the lights when not in a room could overall contribute to the communities electric efficiency success. She estimates that if everyone makes the simple changes that they have been neglecting, the Township building alone could save $35,000 in just one year. If all of the buildings in Radnor, especially schools and large corporations, adopted more efficient modes of operation Radnor could make huge savings that could go towards other important projects. Next on the agenda, she predicted, would be the controlling of plastic straws, plastic bags, and overall recycling. In the future, more can be added to this list if needed; the plan is flexible.

 

Mr. Booker, a Radnor Commissioner, has publicly displayed resentment towards the Ready for 100 goals. What are his reasons against it?

Booker explained to Sara and the Ready for 100 group that he is against their resolution for renewable energy because his family has significant investments in fossil fuel oriented companies. Booker further argued that he would not want to jeopardize the wealth of his family. On the contrary, Sara and the Ready for 100 party noticed that his opinion only accounted for his family at this current point in time, and neglects the future of all Radnor residents. It seems as though the future of energy is moving towards renewable sources, so this commissioner might not get his way. Radnor’s Ready for 100 supporters are ready to fight for their beliefs at the upcoming Board of Commissioners Meeting.

 

How can other Radnor residents make a difference?

Sara suggests taking a non-judgemental climate change questionnaire. This should reveal the areas where people are lacking efforts and identify the things upon which they can improve. In addition, she recommends getting a household journal and recording all of your families habits and daily activities. In this notebook, she suggests making two columns; one for what you are doing and one for what you could be doing to improve. The example that she gave at the interview was that if you like to go to the mall a lot, maybe try carpooling or shopping locally.

 

What in the Ready for 100 process have you been most proud of?

Sara claimed that the greatest success of the Ready for 100 initiative in Radnor is being officially on the agenda to be adopted as a resolution by the township. She went on to explain that this is a huge step in the right direction, and she thinks that it will be approved.

 

Nonrenewable Energy Usage Consequences

Renewable energy has become increasingly possible as people start to realize the consequences of fossil fuels and nonrenewable energy emissions. To start, the release of fossil fuels, one form of nonrenewable energy, breaks down the ozone layer in the atmosphere and leads to global warming of the Earth.

This doesn’t seem so bad- who doesn’t love warmer weather? However, what people do not take into account is the long term effects of global warming. As temperatures raise, glaciers begin to melt. The runoff created from melting glaciers begins to raise water levels in the ocean and warm ocean temperatures. The increasing ocean water levels are expected to cause great flooding and eventually the wiping out of certain coastal areas. For example, if climate changes follow current trends, many of Florida’s coastal cities are expected to be submerged in water by the year 2100. In addition, the rising ocean temperature is contributing to the death of marine life. Many animals have gotten used to the climate of the ocean, and a sudden increase in temperature could make it much harder for them to sustain life.

Other effects of releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the form of nonrenewable energy includes acid rainfall and ocean acidification. When carbon dioxide reacts with oxygen, an acid is created. Likewise, when rain falls, it contains acid that formed from the combination of atmospheric water, sulfur, nitrogen oxides, which were brought into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels from fuel. As the acid rain falls onto the Earth and into the ocean, ocean pH levels decrease as ocean acidification prevails. Unfortunately, the decrease in ocean pH levels has lead to the deaths of many ocean animals who were unfamiliar to such conditions, and who were unsuccessful to adapting to the sudden changes. This was demonstrated significantly through the process of coral bleaching in coral reefs. In coral bleaching, the algae that normal live in symbiosis with the coral leave, and the coral loses its major source of food. Because of this, the coral turn white, corresponding to the term “bleaching,” and the coral dies. The Great Barrier Reef of Australia has decreased in coral population by 30% in 2016 and another 20% in 2017. Currently, it can been recorded that over half of the Great Barrier Reef is dead. It is saddening to know that the ignorance of humans has greatly influenced our entire planet and the organisms with which we share it.

 

“Cleaner, Cheaper, Healthier Energy is Here” -Sierra Club

The Ready for 100 campaign is only growing, and the future of fuel and energy is limitless. For those involved, cost efficiency rates and air quality levels are sure to improve, especially in densely populated areas. With over 100 cities across the United States committed to renewable energy- several of which have already reached this goal- the future is looking bright!