Thursday, January 6, 2011

O'Connell's proposal and the environment

When Chris Zimmerman became chairman of the County Board on Saturday, he spoke about the important role Arlington and other communities have in reducing carbon emissions to combat climate change. It was the first thing he mentioned in his speech, which signified its importance in the county's goals for the year. He said, "a lower carbon footprint can equal a higher quality of life." 

We agree completely and we applaud Arlington's leadership in taking bold steps to reduce energy, as the county has done with the solar panels at the new Westover library. And in keeping with that approach, we think it is critical for us to point out the tremendous amount of additional energy that would be used if Bishop O'Connell High School is allowed to install lights on its football and baseball fields.

By our calculations, the lights will require the equivalent of 86 tons of coal every year, pumping 320,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. That's just from Bishop O'Connell!

There's no need for that to happen because lights are not necessary for a private high school's athletic facility. Six of the eight schools in O'Connell's athletic conference do not have lights, which saves hundreds of tons of coal and avoids the excessive carbon emissions.

- Julie Bruns