By Mathias Craig -- For the last few years, blueEnergy has been giving wind turbine building workshops to students in the US and France as part of its Global Leadership Program. In the workshops, students learn about how electricity is made from the wind and get to build a wind turbine - carving blades, winding copper coils and assembling all the parts together. But beyond getting a thrilling hands-on experience, students are inspired to think about their relationship with energy and how our energy choices affect the environment and our culture. These students will be tomorrow's sustainable energy leaders.
Last year blueEnergy gave a workshop at Midland high school (more here) and we are returning again in April of this year. Midland is an amazing school with a deep commitment to environmental sustainability. I was fortunate to attend Midland from '94-96 and have been very impressed with the evolution of their environmental program under the leadership of Lise Goddard. Lise recently wrote a very articulate article that lays out a vision of how we can move towards sustainability - a vision that both Midland and blueEnergy share. The article is published in the National Association of Independent Schools Magazine and begins:
Although this generation’s greatest challenge is to stabilize our planet’s climate system while transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, a working set of blueprints for how to do this is hard to come by. When faced with the immensity of the problem, the impenetrable economies and sway of the fossil fuel industries, and federal and state governments that haven’treally gotten behind renewable energy as a bridge to a brighter future, the easiest path is… to procrastinate.Some hope that, one fine morning, an elixir will appear: a technological or cost breakthrough that will take some of the sting out of the upfront price tag associated with long-term thinking about energy use. Others fall into despair — thinking, since small steps aren’t enough to prevent destabalizing climate change, why bother taking any steps at all. Even among folks outraged and motivated by the problem, the path to a brighter future is littered with traps. The challenge of shifting our culture toward solutions is compounded when kids absorb our inaction, or when our actions and stories scare our kids, on whose shoulders we have placed a burden we are too weary to lift.I encourage you to read the full article, available here.
But procrastinating and fatalistic thinking are not viable options. We need to change the story — its voice, its tone, its tempo, and its plot line. We need to take courageous steps and commit to moving in the direction of sustainability — always, in increments. We need to acknowledge to ourselves and show our kids that the technology to meet our electricity needs with renewable energy exists today, and then help build the infrastructure with them, side by side. And we need to realize that, if we do it right, we will produce much more than just clean kilowatt-hours. We will produce young people who possess the skills to continue building, scaling up, and evolving the infrastructure for a sun-, wind-, and water-powered future. We will produce a generation that can’t imagine procrastinating the way so many adults do today.
In addition to these select wind turbine workshops, blueEnergy's Global Leadership Program also includes opportunities for people to experience our community development work in Nicaragua. From internships (spring break, summer and flexible start dates) to volunteering opportunities, there are a lot of ways to get involved, get inspired, and contribute to blueEnergy's mission of creating a more equitable, sustainable world. I encourage you to learn more by visiting our website here.