More Wind for the Windy City

Rachel Stone Features Editor First, it was shoulder pads. Next came leather pants, grunge sweaters, “The Rachel” haircut, skinny jeans. We have flirted, flaunted, and fussed over these trends like devoted lovers, only to move on to the next a week later. Now, the next trend to grip America does not come from the pages of Vogue magazine, but the trees in which the pages came from. I am referring to the growing “green” movement; we have flocked to Al Gore’s global warming statistics like the Lollapalooza lineup. Don’t get me wrong; simply because this is a trend does not mean that I care any less. My family recycles, we carry re-usable bags to grocery stores, and we use phosphate-free dish soap (thanks to my Eco-Project from Freshman year). Yet, I can’t help but wonder if many of the changes made have been more aimed at benefiting the Earth, or benefiting the image of whoever proclaims these ideas. I am not a cynic, nor do I claim to be. However, it seems that many of the changes that have been made at Latin alter little more than our appearances. Yes, we have tumblers instead of Styrofoam cups in the cafeteria, we have biodegradable silverware instead of plastic, we are using RomanNet for grade reports (and this little website called the Forum), and we have built a rooftop garden. But now, with the announcement of the new wind turbine, I am starting to feel a little skeptical. According to, “only about 0.4 percent of the nation’s total electricity consumption,” was generated by wind energy, by thousands of wind turbines ranging from about 130-300 feet tall. Plus, this energy is only generated in windy conditions (and though we do happen to live in the Windy City, that is no guarantee). Although a wonderful gesture, whom does this baby turbine really benefit: the earth, or the school’s image? I can’t help but wonder why we aren’t investing more time and money on the little things. We still don’t recycle plastic outside of the cafeteria, something that can save 60% more energy in the production (according to studies at Ohio State University), but instead are focusing our efforts on growing hydroponic basil to serve in the cafeteria. In my opinion, if we instead campaigned for small changes (like switching to all double-sided printers, using recycled paper, installing low-flow faucet nozzles, or even re-using the writing utensils), we could do a lot more. I for one would prefer to raise a foam finger in solidarity, not a blimp.]]>