Common Energy’s Impact Team brings a diverse group of young people together to speak on behalf of the planet. The unique program brings together Community Energy Advocates, or CEAs, to reach out to their community to build a network of renewable energy supporters. Individuals use their utility bill to support green development by signing up for local community solar farms with our CEAs. The CEA experience is one of a kind and different for each person. To offer a glimpse into the CEA experience I interviewed a few of my peers.
I found that most CEAs are students, myself included, either in high school or college. At the time being Common Energy is only available in Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, and New York. However, our CEAs are working far and wide from across the world to connect the residents of these states to renewable energy. Andrew Barnett for example is connecting people in Illinois to community solar from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
I asked the CEAs I spoke with about what motivated them to apply for the position, and their answers were inspiring:
“I love the earth and want to do my part to help.”- Marcos Posse-Mir, Maryland
“ I feel like the climate crisis is the most severe crisis that the world faces, and I want to do everything I can to help mitigate climate change.” - Andrew Barnett, Illinois
“To spread awareness and enlighten my community on the urgency of climate change and how they can help since many individuals fail to recognize that they can single-handedly impact the environment too!” - Nazeen Shah, New York
“I’ve always been super passionate about educating people about climate change, but I never had opportunities to offer them.” - Audrey Miller, Illinois
Like my peers, I became a CEA because I wanted to make an impact in the fight for a greener world. We are all motivated by the future of our climate. The impact team is unique because it is made up exclusively of young people, and we are the people that will be most affected by climate change. We became CEAs to take action in our communities and play active roles in our collective future.
We share the goal of mitigating climate change, but our other goals are very different; Marcos wants to be a Musician, Andrew wants to pursue a career in environmental activism, Nazeen wants to be a Physician-Scientist, Audrey wants to make a meaningful impact in some capacity, and I want to be an environmental communicator.
Despite the differences in our goals, our time as CEAs is helping prepare us for our future careers. Through the group training process we learn to effectively communicate about community solar before we begin working. Our experiences in outreach, public presentations, and environmental activism are invaluable. We continue learning from each other and improving as a team with every interaction. Being a CEA has given us a sense of community in the environmental sector and the skills to capitalize on our connections.