We cannot navigate the road to 100 percent renewable energy without people power.
By organizing together, we can build a future powered by the abundant and largely untapped potential of wind and solar energy. Passionate advocates mobilizing around renewables will pave the way to success.
Right now our momentum is building. Oregon just committed to 100 percent clean electricity by 2040, joining seven other states also striving for 100 percent. Other states are upping their wind and solar power programs. For example, New Jersey’s utility regulators have approved two more offshore wind projects this month, and California legislators struck down an anti-solar bill targeting net metering—a policy that fairly compensates solar panel owners—earlier this summer.
With so many state policies crossing the finish line, it’s easy to lose sight of the organizers and advocates who made these victories possible. In Oregon, our team’s canvassing efforts delivered our vision for a clean energy future to the doorsteps of over 400,000 Oregonians. More than 6,000 people have taken action on our Go Big on Offshore Wind campaign in the past year. And over a thousand California residents called their legislators to protect rooftop solar from attack.
It’s renewable energy advocates like these—from casual to professional, long term to newbie— who push change at the state and national level. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to consider the different kinds of people who make capable renewable energy champions.
Two sides to a renewable energy advocate
We’ve found that there are two qualities most successful renewable energy advocates have in common. And Riley, our renewable energy advocate pictured below, illustrates both types: The Dreamer and The Action-Taker.
Those who whole-heartedly believe in the power of renewables can also be multidimensional. They may value thinking big when developing solutions to our climate problem, but also recognize the significance of a small action’s ripple effects.
Visions of a dreamer
Dreamers are motivated by the vision of a country run by 100 percent renewable energy. They know that we need to protect our planet for future generations and that embracing the full potential of clean energy sources is necessary to realizing that goal.
Our “We Have The Power” report demonstrates that transitioning to emission-free energy sources will improve the quality of our air, protect our environment and reduce the carbon emissions contributing to our rapidly warming planet. In other words, relying on renewable power will safeguard the health of people as well as the planet.
Some dreamers also believe we need to develop a more resilient power grid that can hold up to natural disasters. It is clear that severe temperatures and unpredictable weather events are becoming more common due to climate change. As a result, we need to diversify our energy sources while reducing our energy system’s carbon footprint.
Since burning oil, gas and coal is responsible for 80 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, turning to renewable power sources seems like a no-brainer.
In states like Texas, where recent extreme weather events have exposed the fragility of our current energy system, investment in local clean energy and microgrids can improve our power grid’s reliability and efficiency, especially since 67 percent of the energy generated from fossil fuel power plants is lost through escaped heat.
Finally, renewable energy dreamers know that despite messaging from utilities and special interests, we have the power to transform our energy system. The vision of a country run by 100 percent renewable energy can be a reality. When we look at the potential of solar and wind power, each of these energy sources can meet our current electricity needs many times over. The untapped nature of renewable energy indicates that decision-makers just aren’t thinking big enough when preparing for our country’s energy future.
Acts for an action-taker
Action-takers hear about the barriers to renewable energy growth and ask: what can I do?
When they come across a petition while scrolling through their social media feed or checking their email inbox, they take action and add their name to the clean energy cause. Action-takers recognize their power and understand that even small efforts can contribute to big victories for renewable energy.
Petitions urging large corporations like WalMart to put solar on their roofs means something. It’s a representation of the overwhelming public support behind each clean energy campaign, and it can have a powerful impact.
Action-takers also recognize that small actions—like signing an online petition—are only the first step. Once they are informed on a clean energy issue, they share their knowledge, whether through conversations with family and friends or by amplifying the issue online.
In the age of social media, everyone can raise their voice. And utilizing our voices to highlight renewable energy solutions is powerful.
Action-takers also know that their legislators work for them. They don’t hesitate to pick up the phone or send a message when an energy bill or policy is up for a vote. This is especially important on the state level, where participation in events like PennEnvironment’s citizen climate lobby days can inspire real, impactful change.
Above all else, action-takers know that those who speak up in our political process are the ones who are heard.
Want to join our One Million for 100% community?
So what kind of renewable energy advocate are you? Do you identify more as a dreamer or as an action-taker? Maybe you feel you’re a bit of both.
If any of these qualities speak to you, we invite you to join our community of changemakers devoted to our country’s renewable energy transformation. Transitioning fully to renewable energy will take the work of dreamers, action-takers, and everybody in between.
Join the movement, and become one of One Million for 100%.