System Change NOT Climate Change | Leaders in Energy

Washington (GGM) Analysis | September 29, 2021 by author and climate journalist Noreen Wise

Can you feel it in the air all around you? The sensory clues that we pick up on just before the season changes. A shift in temperature. A new scent wafting through the air. Displays of seasonal delights appearing in the produce section of the grocery store. We recognize these subtle clues, make a mental note, and slowly begin to shift gears. 

Of course, we know that there will always be a few who wear shorts into November, and flip flops until the first snow. While others are fashion aficionados and can’t wait to slip on designer boots and stylish jeans the day after Labor Day. Adjusting quickly to the changing seasons isn’t foreign to any of us, it’s part of our normal life, our American culture. We may have individual preferences about how long we wear white pants, but none of us will be standing in the middle of Main Street, declaring that we refuse to allow winter to arrive.  

The changing seasons are the same way we’ll shift into this new revolutionary, clean energy “system change” that we’ve been slowly inching toward for awhile now. We had no problem adapting to smart phones. We love our technological innovations and advancements, so we should be thrilled with clean energy solutions.

Global Climate Strike, Washington DC, September 24, 2021.

The truth is, whether we realized it or not, we’ve been making this green shift ever since the turn of the millennium in 2000. Small baby steps at first for many of the most progressive communities scattered around the country. While for other towns and states, the shifting to green living may not have crossed local leader’s minds until an unexpected extreme weather disaster struck. It doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things, all that matters is an understanding and acceptance of the fact that we are now officially here, and we have to do what we always do. Adapt.

The IPCC Report released on August 9, 2021 made it very clear. Code Red for humanity. There can be no more slow and steady. We now have to rush.

In many regions, the green framework is already built and operational. Green companies and organizations like Northern Virginia nonprofit, Leaders in Energy, a global network of thousands of leaders who work together to “advance clean energy and sustainable solutions for a more sustainable energy system, economy, and greener world,” are on the rise. And Resilient Virginia, an organization that has been working hard to accelerate “resiliency planning in communities across the commonwealth” to help move toward a “vibrant, healthy and equitable community.”

To support the big shift into a green future, with the goal of helping community leaders, businesses, professionals, and families create a path towards resilience, Leaders in Energy partnered with Resilient Virginia to offer a Green Jobs Forum & Career Fair in August 2021. This informative three day event, included an array of workshops and breakout sessions:

  • National and State experts on new initiatives that bolster the transition to a Clean Economy while rebuilding our nations infrastructure 
  • Ensuring equity is a core element for local residency planning
  • Steps needed for infrastructure to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to climate adaptation strategies
  • Examples from urban and rural communities on approaches to resiliency that include climate risk assessments that lead to economic health and equity consideration
  • Examining the accelerating opportunities for economic diversification and entrepreneurship to bolster a Clean Economy.

With hundreds in attendance, eager to receive the much needed information and incorporate it into planning and projects, the green shift took another step forward. Each and every conference and moment like this one, are additional layers of preparation for the future opportunities that are awaiting us.

“Chance favors the prepared mind.”

Louis Pasteur, Father of Immunology

Founder and Executive Director of Leaders in Energy, Janine Finnell, has been preparing professionals to become leaders in our green future, unofficially since 2012, and officially since its founding in 2017, using its four pillars:

1. Green Jobs

2. Marketplace and Economy

3. Green Finance

4. Multi-generational Leadership

And now thousands of leaders and other professional have prepared minds and are able to act immediately, just as the IPCC Report has urged (in fact, demanded), to harness the opportunities and possibilities that the Build Back Better Bill will bring to communities across the country as we rush to lower our carbon emissions dramatically in an effort to overtake the speed by which the global temperature is now rising.

Let’s get the Build Back Better Bill passed and begin our “fast break” into the future. 

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