The Oberlin Review
<< Front page News December 1, 2006

Obies Celebrate Climate Neutral Progress

Environmental enthusiasts around campus will join forces in celebration of Oberlin’s recent steps in responding to global climate change on Thursday, Dec. 7, in an event titled “The Day Oberlin Went Climate Neutral.”

This day commends Oberlin’s recent commitment to develop a comprehensive action plan, said College senior and Environmental Policy Implementation Group representative Morgan Pitts, and the fact that it is the first of its peer institutions to do so.

“Oberlin is poised to play a leadership role in a national movement on climate issues,” said Assistant Professor John Petersen of the Environmental Studies Program, “and events like this help serve to educate and empower our community.”

“This will be a great opportunity to focus our energies as a campus on achieving climate neutrality, to learn more about climate neutrality and to celebrate collaborative student initiatives, [specifically] the Light Bulb Brigade,” said College senior Erin Morey, an active member of EPIG.

EPIG members are the initiators of the event in collaboration with the environmental studies program and the Office of Environmental Sustainability. Other campus groups, such as the Recycled Products Co-op, are also involved in planning the details of the day.

On Nov. 19, Student Senate gave official support to the event, purchasing 138 tons of carbon credits, which will offset one day’s worth of the College’s carbon emissions, rendering the title “The Day Oberlin Went Climate Neutral” a literal one.

Carbon offsets work to essentially negate an amount of on-campus carbon emissions through an investment in wind turbines, solar energy farms or reforestation projects, for example. This way, global net emissions do not increase.

Members of the Board of Trustees have been invited to join in the day’s events, with the hopes that they will be impressed by the Oberlin community’s commitment to helping the environment and therefore become more involved. There will be an open forum with the trustees later in the day.

College senior and studio art major Mika Ebbesen will present her creative “activism art” manipulation of the many incandescent light bulbs collected from residence halls by EPIG’s Light Bulb Brigade earlier this semester. Her installations will be found at the Environmental Studies Center and the Science Center and are intended to inspire discussion about the negative impact of energy consumption to the earth’s climate, and to reinforce the idea that one individual can make a difference.

One of the day’s many speakers will be Karen Florini, OC ’79, an Oberlin trustee and a 20-year environmental advocacy lawyer in Washington D.C. Florini is active in one of the nation’s largest environmental advocacy groups, Environmental Defense.

The National Wildlife Federation will also host a Teleconference on Greenhouse Gas Inventories and other Energy Tracking Strategies, led by Petersen.

The day will feature films, the completion of a referendum that has polled students’ commitment to environmental action and a discussion of future environmental efforts on campus.


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