Mobilizing Change: The Future of Energy

This Earth Day was a unique one. 

Not only were we marking 50 years of advocating for the environment, but we were also tasked with analyzing how we need to take action for the climate in our evolving world. At The GREEN Program, we gathered a group of global change-makers to discuss how we can all mobilize for the environment. In our 4-day Earth Week panel series, we uncovered how these change-makers were making strides for sustainability in organizations, such as NASA, NREL, Arup, Nike, ExxonMobil and more.

Throughout the week, the GREEN community asked ourselves… 

How can we take action for the climate today?

The Future of Energy

Learn about the changing landscape of energy in our evolving world with speakers from Independent Power Systems (IPS), National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Momentum: Move Innovation Forward, and ExxonMobil.

A Panel of Global Change-Makers 

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Miriam Hegglin

Environmental Engineer at ExxonMobil

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Jim Reilly

Microgrids Engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Hannah Capshaw

Solar and Storage Consultant at Independent Power Systems (IPS)

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Zachariah Rizk

Project Associate at Momentum: Move Innovation Forward

The GREEN Team’s Key Takeaways 

1) There are still major strides needed to live in a 100% clean energy world 

As a general consensus, all of “The Future of Energy” panelists disagreed with the statement “We can live in a 100% clean energy world right now”. Jim Reilly, Microgrids Engineer from NREL,  believes that we are moving in the right direction with renewable portfolio standards, but we still have ways to go!

2) The 4D’s of energy systems can transform the future of energy

Project Associate at Momentum: Move Innovation Forward, Zach Rizk, believes the 4D’s of the trends of energy systems, decarbonization, decentralization, democratization, and digitalize, will guide the future of energy in the US. 

Explore the 4D’s transforming the energy market here

3) “Bleeding edge” projects can be costly, but can help push innovation within the field

Within her work with solar energy at Independent Power Systems, Hannah has navigated many projects where her company has tried something new or has innovated on existing technologies. These projects can be costly with the innate learning curve involved in project development but have also enabled her organization to become experts on innovations within the solar energy space. Innovation can have upfront costs, but prove to have long term benefits! 

4) Push your comfort zone and interact with people from varied perspectives 

When Miriam, a 22-yead old woman, graduated university with an environmental engineering degree, she found herself on an offshore oil and gas platform surrounded by peers with diverging values and backgrounds as her. Through her work to develop relationships with these colleagues and to uncover the misconceptions she had about them and vice versa,  she honed important communication skills that would help her in future conversations to advocate for the environment within her organization.  

Learn from people with opposing viewpoints as you, so you have a better understanding of their perspectives and have more tools to tackle their objections to your ideas!

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How can you take action for the climate?

After learning from these global change-makers, you may be thinking, “So, what now? How do I get started?”.  Here are a few ways you can get started (or continue) to mobilize for the environment:

“Within your role, challenge yourself to look at what else and what’s next in your job description. Beyond doing your job well, advocate for sustainability initiatives within your company by asking for resources and speaking up. “
Miriam Hegglin

“Talk to your legislators and utility companies to incentivize renewable
energy policy. Elect people with clean energy strategy, and make utilities aware of how they can profit from renewables”

Hannah Capshaw

Jim Reilly

“Lobby your state representatives and energy commissions to invest in energy entrepreneurs!”
Zach Rizk

More Mobilizing Change Panels

Engineering for the Environment

Panelists from Dubai Electricity & Water Authority,
NREL,  NASA and Pfizer

Reinforcing Responsible Sourcing

Panelists from Nike, Fitbit, and Ground Upcycling

Consulting for Climate Change

Panelists from Independent Power Systems (IPS),
Arup, and a Graduate Student of Energy Systems
from UC – Davis

Rooting for Global Food Security

Panelists from Florida Impact,
the United States Patent & Trade Office,
Grounded Upcycling, and Louisville Food Pantry

Boots on the Ground: Turning Passion into Action

with featured speaker, influencer, activist, and backpacking queen, Pattie Gonia 

Explore how The GREEN Program is fostering a community of global change-makers, including the GREEN Alumni from the above panel, through our short-term education abroad programs! If you would like to get in touch with our team, please reach out here: [email protected]

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