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Marlborough School Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2030

Dr. Priscilla Sands, Marlborough Head of School and Michael Zelniker, Coordinator of the Climate Reality Project’s LA Chapter, sign the pledge for Marlborough School to use only 100 percent  renewable electricity to power the school by 2030. (back row l-r) Taylor Rogers, Climate Reality Project, Student Gaby Cohen and her mom, Pam Kunick Cohen and Lisa Ellis, Biology teacher and chair of the Science Department and the Marlborough Campus Environmental Committee look on.

Marlborough School is the first school to sign a pledge committing to use only 100% renewable electricity to power the campus by 2030. At a signing ceremony in the school’s alumni garden last month, Head of School Dr. Priscilla Sands signed the pledge with Michael Zelniker, volunteer chair of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Climate Reality Project and Taylor Rogers, Chapter Campaigns Coordinator based in Boulder, Colorado. The signing was the result of months of discussion between the school and The Climate Reality Project, founded by former Vice President Al Gore to spur urgent action to address climate change.

As Marlborough rising senior Gaby Cohen began learning more about climate change through her science classes and various environmental activities at school, she told the Buzz she became more and more  been concerned about climate change. So, when her mom, Pam Kunick-Cohen, told her about The Climate Realty Project’s program to train people for local action, she applied to attend a leadership conference. Cohen said she was super excited to attend with her dad.

“It was so inspiring and informative,” said Cohen. “I learned so much about climate change and about efforts that people were already doing and ways that I could get involved.”

Cohen learned about the 100% Renewable Program and thought it might be a great way to get Marlborough involved.

(l-r) Taylor Rogers, Climate Reality Project;  Lisa Ellis, Marlborough School;  Gaby Cohen, Marlborough School rising senior; Dr. Priscilla Sands, Marlborough School; and Michael Zelniker, Climate Reality Leadership Corps Volunteer hold The Climate Reality Project LA Chapter banner under the Marlborough School Alumni Garden Pergola on June 28, 2019 following the signing of the partnership with the Climate Reality Project who will help the school achieve the goal of using only 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

“Marlborough will be a leader,” said Cohen. “More organizations need to step up and take the commitment and see what they can do to shift away from reliance on fossil fuels.”

Lisa Ellis, biology teacher and chair of the school’s campus Environmental Committee, told the Buzz, “Marlborough had already gotten the low hanging fruit. We got composting started on campus, we stopped selling bottled water and new buildings on campus are energy efficient LEED certified, so we were looking for the next new thing and this was it!”

When school resumes in the fall, Dr. Sands told the Buzz she will convene a group of faculty, staff, students and parents to look at an energy audit of the campus and the various options the school has to achieving the goal of using only 100% renewable energy.

“I am committed to this objective,” said Sands who added she is very pleased to have students involved in the conversation and learning from the process of transforming the campus. Sands promised to keep the Buzz informed and make other schools aware “once we have a model.”


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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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