Listening to the national dialogue on energy policy can be a little discouraging. Not only does it feel like progress is not happening fast enough, it often feels like as a regular person you’re just not going to have any way to influence energy policy. Enter Vote Solar. Vote Solar is a grassroots solar policy advocacy organization that reminds us that all politics is local and that tremendous progress can be made by focusing on local regulatory roadblocks.
Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Adam Browning, the executive director of Vote Solar. Driven by a vision of affordable and widespread renewable power, Browning co-founded the organization after a successful campaign in San Francisco for a bond measure that would enable more residents to adopt solar power. While they now have national reach, Vote Solar does not concentrate its efforts on a national front – as Browning likes to say, “If your plan involves congress, it’s a bad plan.” Listen now as Browning describes to host Alex Wise how solar initiatives are being advanced from deep blue California to scarlet Georgia, on the basis of simple economic sense.
Advocates for environmental sustainability would all agree that long-term solutions are going to require changes in consumer behavior. But even the most conscientious consumers sometimes find themselves stumped by confusing labeling and policies that get in the way. Our two guests this week on Sea Change Radio are each trying to make it easier to be a responsible consumer. First we will hear from Rodney North of Equal Exchange, the first organization that promoted socially responsible goods as “fair trade.” He provides the background and discusses some of the controversies around fair trade labeling of goods. Next, host Alex Wise talks with the Sierra Club’s Evan Gillespie, who’s leading a campaign to push for energy reform in California, including a solar bill of rights.
Solar power is an essential part of the green technology revolution, a movement that has the potential to create jobs that are good for the community and the environment. But when we think about who’s actually benefitting from solar right now, it tends to be mid-to-upper income individuals and households. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to two women whose organizations are creating templates to make solar power an equitable component of a carbon-free tomorrow.
First, we hear from Erica Mackie, the co-founder of GRID Alternatives, a non-profit solar installer that focuses on getting solar electricity to low income families. Then, host Alex Wise speaks with Jeanine Cotter, the CEO of Luminalt, a San Francisco-based solar installer that hires much of its workforce through local community based organizations. Both women envision a solar industry that benefits a wider swath of the community and offers working people a fair living wage.
Founder of Sungevity (a Sea Change Radio sponsor), social entrepreneur, and a former Greenpeace campaign manager, solar executive Danny Kennedy sits down with host Alex Wise to update us on all things solar. Here’s a link to the Don Blankenship/Robert F. Kennedy Jr. debate that Wise and Kennedy discuss as well.