Groundswell champions the value of transformation – deeply understanding the systems and constraints of “what is” in order to move toward “what should be.” We work with communities across the country, listening and walking beside our neighbors from many different backgrounds and income levels to hear and empower our partner communities in shaping a shared energy future. This takes a lot of work and much more time than imposing an existing system “from the top.”
This year, the Discalced Carmelite Friars of Washington, D.C., and Groundswell will continue to follow Jesus’ call to love our neighbors through the benefits created by the recently energized solar project at the Monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Earth Day invites us all to recommit ourselves to protecting the earth because of all the ways in which the health and quality of our lives and the lives of generations to come are bound up in the health of our planet. Committing yourself to protecting something (or someone) takes love, understanding, and an appreciation for its value. So how do we begin to love and appreciate the earth?
I watched the clean energy movement fall short in 2009 as climate policy failed to pass in the US Senate by one vote. One vote! I will never forget that feeling of disappointment and frustration. Eager to organize to push this movement forward, I joined the Groundswell team in August of 2010.
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Systems produce outcomes according to the values on which they’re founded, so Groundswell has been very deliberate about defining and sharing the values that guide us daily in our work. Kristal Knowles, Groundswell’s Director of Operations and Customer Support and the heart and soul of our team, has led us through this effort. Last week, Groundswell’s Statement of Values was unanimously adopted by our full Board and every person on our staff team.
I looked out this morning and the sun was gone. That’s how I felt when the U.N. established that by 2030, we need to reduce GHG emissions by 45% under 2010 levels to keep our planet at a “safe” 1.5 degrees global warming limit. Translating this to everyday language means: I have to take action to spew out less 45% than I did a decade ago (i.e. in 2010 when this ancient iPad I’m typing on was created) and I have only 10 years to do it.
Last year, I was appalled to read in the U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study that the gender pay gap in the solar industry is 26 percent, which means that women in the solar industry earn 74 cents on the dollar compared to men. The gender pay gap in the solar sector is even worse than the US economy as a whole, where women earn 82 cents on the dollar.
This month, in honor of Women's History Month, Groundswell is celebrating the accomplishments of women making a lasting impact in the field of sustainability. We decided to let the rubber hit the road by talking to Harriet Langford, the founder and president of The Ray and a trustee of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.