Student-led initiative puts Pennsylvania school district on 100% renewable path

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A group of students in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania have successfully petitioned their school district to set a goal of transitioning to 100% clean, renewable electricity by 2030.

All other energy needs, including heating, cooking, cooling, and transportation, will be electrified and renewably powered by 2040. This makes Radnor the first school district in Pennsylvania to pass a resolution with the goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy and a zero emission school bus fleet.

“Being a student leader for this initiative has been a very special experience; it’s given me a chance to connect with my community and involve Radnor in a national and global shift towards sustainability,” said student leader Becca Zajac in a release touting the resolution. “I am extremely grateful that our school board recognizes the urgency of fighting the climate crisis, especially through these challenging times. By reducing our greenhouse emissions and adopting the goal of 100% clean energy and transportation, Radnor School District is leading by example. I have never been more proud. Climate Students from every grade are honored to have a longstanding impact on where we’ve grown up. I look forward to continuing this journey in the implementation stage and collaborating with district leaders to create a better school community for all future Radnor students.”

Putting change in motion

The students of Radnor High School collaborated with Sierra Club’s Climate Parents program, a movement of parents, students, and families mobilizing for clean energy and climate solutions, according to the Sierra Club. The intent of the program is to influence public policy makers and energy providers to protect youth and communities from the health and climate impacts of burning fossil fuels by adopting clean energy.

The students then presented a petition to the school board with more than 100 signatures of district students, parents, and staff asking the school board to support the resolution. Their petition highlighted the energy bill savings, improved indoor and outdoor air quality and creation of STEM learning opportunities as additional benefits that would be provided, while also pointing out that the resolution would support the township’s renewable goals, established in 2019.

Ready 100 is the township’s plan to get to 100% renewable energy across electricity, heating and transportation by 2050. Like the school district’s resolution, electricity comes first, set for 2035, with the other sources following by 2050. Upon passing this resolution in February 2019, Radnor Township became the ninth city in Pennsylvania to commit to 100% renewable energy.

In a sign of what was to come, members of Radnor High School’s Action Earth Leadership Council were present at that vote, including Council President, Ali Bauer, who also served as a lead on this most recent resolution.

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