The sun was shining bright on Knoxville during the longest day of 2014, as the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) took part in an event to spread awareness about solar energy and to build public support for new carbon emission standards.
The local grassroots efforts were part of a June 21 National Day of Action centered around a new program launched by Mosaic, the first company to crowdsource funding for solar projects. As we reported previously, Mosaic Places was launched on June 17 as an online feature that allows anyone to nominate Places for rooftop solar installations. For every 50 people you get to support a Place, Mosaic will donate $100 to #PutSolarOnIt. And for every homeowner you get to go solar, Mosaic will give them $500, which they can donate to put solar on your place. SACE is proud to be an original supporter of Mosaic’s #PutSolarOnIt campaign.
The Knoxville chapter of Organizing for Action (OFA) took the lead in planning the local day of action, and I was onsite with SACE’s Nissan Leaf electric vehicle (EV) to help out. I answered a lot of questions about EVs, and I met several people who are planning on buying their own. As a pure EV, the Leaf does not release any emissions into the air, and by charging it at SACE’s solar-powered Knoxville office, we have an outstanding source of transportation that does not rely on dirty fossil fuels.
The summer solstice found Knoxville milling with activity, and our efforts were a huge success thanks in part to the big turnout downtown for several local events, including the Knoxville PrideFest and Pride Parade, the Big Kahuna Wing Festival, and Knoxville Brewfest.
In addition to our solar energy outreach, we managed to gather over 500 signatures on a petition to support national carbon emission standards. The petition states:
“Industrial carbon pollution from power plants threatens our health, our communities, and future generations. It fuels climate change, which increases smog, triggering asthma attacks, as well as leading to more frequent and damaging storms, floods, wildfires, droughts, and heat waves. I strongly support Environmental Protection Agency standards to clean up carbon pollution from existing power plants because it will protect Americans’ health, spur investment in clean energy and unleash American innovation.”
After the event, OFA executive director Jon Carson took to Twitter to offer a “hats off” for the successful petition drive in Knoxville. Local OFA organizer Emily Ellis shared her thoughts with me about our efforts, saying:
“I really appreciate SACE stepping up so that our solar day of action reached so many more people. It seemed that together we were effective in raising awareness of solar energy as a real alternative to carbon-based fuel for those who had not considered it, and that we connected with others who are already on board with solar energy’s importance in reducing the effects of climate change.”
I am very glad that I was able to take part in the solar day of action, and I appreciate OFA’s leadership in achieving a big victory in our local fight against manmade climate change. I look forward to partnering with them for future events, and I hope that we can continue to build upon our successful grassroots efforts to promote clean energy in Knoxville.