Here’s the question: can theology and an embrace clean energy & sustainability exist in the same space? How can my faith and my fight for environmental justice coexist without conflict? These are some of the questions that as a pastor I’ve often grappled with over the years. I knew something had to be done in the areas of clean energy, energy equity, environmentalism, and the rising cost of electricity--and it needed to be done now.
I don’t come into the clean energy space the traditional way. It wasn't an elective I chose, but rather lessons learned through my experiences working on the other side of energy; specifically, my time working with fossil fuels. In the late 1990s, I began a career at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant and often worked at Brandon Shores, a coal burning power plant, as a senior welder and later as a welding supervisor. After nine years of working in such toxic environments caused in large part by the fuels we were burning, I personally experienced how harmful and dangerous such sources of energy can be. After leaving my job in 2003, my passion about clean energy and its accessibility to everyone truly took off. As someone with personal story to tell and having both the figurative and literal pulpit of being pastor, I knew I had a mandate to lead on environmental stewardship and even more, to pursue energy equity in my community and make clean energy available and affordable for everyone, not just those at the top.
Today, I am a proud messenger for clean energy and energy equity and I have every intention of using the platform Groundswell’s providing me to proclaim a message of stewardship over our environment, embracing energy efficiency, and leading the charge for a better, more equitable path to clean energy. Part of that charge, currently, is to share the good word about the possibilities and potential of community solar in our communities, which can lead to economic empowerment as well as lower utility bills.
So to answer my initial question: yes. My faith not only can coexist with an embrace of clean energy and sustainability, it calls me to do so. And I’m excited that I’ve found that answer here at Groundswell where, as a team, we can channel those same values and principles that inform my faith to power our work to make clean energy accessible for everyone.