Imagine visiting the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. on a quiet Saturday afternoon and deciding to see a thirty-minute movie called Ocean Oasis, depicting the oceanic habitats of Baja California. As the lights dim, colonies of corals spring out at you from the screen and the fish gracefully glide through the water right before your eyes. This movie is what made me fall in love with the natural world at the tender age of three years old, a borderline obsession that lives on in me to this day. As a native of Washington D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the Museum of Natural History was my stomping grounds as a child. Every weekend, I would drag my parents down to the National Mall so I could explore the dinosaur exhibit, gaze at geodes, and most importantly watch Ocean Oasis. At a certain point, I could name nearly every marine creature that appeared in the movie. Those days at the museum were full of pure, magical discovery, and thus I have been utterly captivated by the earth, especially oceans, since before I can remember.
As one could probably guess, I was mortified when I discovered what climate change was in third grade. As I oriented my learning towards biology and natural sciences, the influence that human behavior has on nature became apparent and nearly inextricable from my studies of life on earth, all the way from elementary school up until now at the undergraduate level. Knowing that the growth of renewable energy is one very important step to mitigating the planet’s destruction, my instinctive desire to protect our ecosystems is part of what drove me to Groundswell.
Another aspect of Groundswell that brought me here is its commitment to people. Although the study of nature is a lifelong passion of mine, social justice is something to which I commit myself readily. Groundswell works with community organizations in order to push our mission forward, some of these organizations being faith-based. Aside from ecology, I also study religion, so this is a fascinating and unique opportunity for me as a member of the community outreach team. Working with congregations appeals to me twofold, because I can help make clean energy a possibility for the people, but I can also learn from observation about the role of the church in secular realms such as this one. Groundswell’s efforts to make renewable energy readily accessible to all people, not just those who can afford to put solar panels on their roofs, is helping those who the movement for renewable energy tends to leave behind. I am not only committed to a paradigm shift in how we power our world, but I am also committed to making sure that the clean energy movement works to everybody’s benefit, not just those who can sink a large quantity of money into it.
Groundswell’s dedication to communities as well as clean energy is a rare and precious combination. Getting my feet wet in the world of renewable energy at Groundswell is an exceptional opportunity for me to develop my knowledge of the industry while working with a team of passionate and intelligent people. Although I am only here for less than two months, I look forward to tackling the challenges that lie before me head-on, for my professional growth and for the growth of Groundswell.