The Power of Your “Why:” Gaining Momentum as the Clean Energy Generation

One year into the Clean Energy Generation, we’re looking back on progress, inspirations, and experiences of choosing action over despair. We’re thankful for the hope you’re helping to create, one “why” at a time.

Reed Winckler | December 12, 2023 | Clean Energy Generation, Climate Change

As the Clean Energy Generation, we have made a ton of progress this year – from committing to learning more about exciting clean energy funding opportunities and legislation, to making our voices heard in support of proposed power plant pollution rules, to volunteering in our local communities. In mere months, more than 500 of you have joined this movement to build momentum and harness the benefits of clean energy for yourselves and your communities. We are not just dreaming of a clean energy future; we are actively shaping it right now, together. 

Since the start, many of you have shared your clean energy story with us, and by “story” we mean your “why” – a few words about why you’ve joined the Clean Energy Generation. Each one of us has a reason why we want to take action for a cleaner, healthier world by phasing out fossil fuels and ramping up clean energy, and we deserve to share it. It’s been inspiring to read about why the clean energy transition is important to you, the actions you’re already taking, and the goals you have for your cities and towns. We’ve also heard firsthand stories of the Clean Energy Generation in action during our monthly member calls, where many of you continue to show up to learn and take action.

No story, no “why,” is too big or small – all of us today are living through a climate crisis and can inspire others to take action just by sharing what it means to us. Take a look below at some of the stories – or “whys” – submitted to us this year. Then, read on to learn more about how you can get involved in the Clean Energy Generation as we enter a new year full of new possibilities.

We encourage you to spread these stories to family and friends, and if you have not, submit your own reason for wanting to be a part of the movement that takes action for a healthier environment. We thank anyone who has ever shared their “why” with us – you are the Clean Energy Generation, and your experiences are valuable and worth telling.

WHY DID YOU JOIN THE CLEAN ENERGY GENERATION?

“I do not have a story. I learned years ago that we were facing a climate crisis. At that time, many people did not believe it nor did many even care. I care, and even at 86 years old, I will do what I can to combat the climate crisis.” – Rosemary C. of Tallahassee, FL 

“I want to get involved in this group in order to learn more about the energy crisis, find useful volunteer opportunities, and if I am lucky, to make friends. I do not know what to expect, but I am willing to learn and figure things out, even if I fail.” – Donald N. of Jonesboro, GA 

“I live in a small town that currently lacks a lot of clean energy sources coupled with expensive utility bills along with increased poverty. I want to be a part of changes that can be made for the people there so that all of us will have a healthier future. I have a biology degree, and I’m pursuing another in environmental science. My scientific passion led me to join other organizations like Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and Citizens Climate Lobby. I hope to find my place in the clean energy generation to fight for a better world.” – Gage B. of LaGrange, GA 

“Mother Earth is quite unhappy. The extremes of weather events are a direct result of carbon emissions. I’m a mother and grandmother – I want to do all I can for the generations to come while I am still on this planet.” – Terri M. of Melbourne, FL 

“As a Gen Xer, I’ve done most all of the suggested individual actions, incorporated relevant service and environmental actions into my life. And still it was not enough to avert the current crisis. We need government and corporate action.” – Taimi O. of Central SC 

“I am 72 years old and have been involved with Care for the Earth activities since the first Earth Day in 1970. I grew up on a farm and always have been a person who appreciated the outdoors and have seen the effects of climate change over the years and the effects on crops and their ability to survive and grow in the past 40 years especially. We have instituted measures on our home to make it more energy efficient, like having a heat pump, installing insulation, using thermal curtains. We also have solar panels on the house, a solar fountain on our pond, recycle, drive Priuses, and are looking into electric cars. The negative effects of climate change are more apparent every day. We need to save the earth in a livable state for our grandchildren! TVA used to be much better about alternative energy. I am very excited about all the new technology that can help to reduce energy use and create clean energy generation – let’s keep it moving! We also need democracy at our local power companies to work for all people.” – Martha W. of Pleasant View, TN 

“Concerned about how the next generations will thrive as the world they inherit will be determined by our actions (or lack of) today.” – Sarah Y. of High Springs, FL 

“When I relocated to Florida from Maryland 6 years ago I expected my new home state to be way ahead of the nation in clean energy. Having put solar panels on our home and purchased a hybrid car due to incentives in Maryland, I found in Florida no incentives nor customer desire to be part of clean energy movement I immediately started working with the Sierra Club ready for 100 initiative and I’m now serving on the natural resources team of the League of Women Voters to create and facilitate clean energy initiatives in my county and in the state. At the age of 85 I am the proud owner of a 1-year-old Tesla!” – Joyce F. of Sarasota, FL 

“I am very concerned that the earth my generation is leaving for our children and grandchildren will be unsustainable and that only the wealthiest among us will be able to live in clean environments.” – Jan S. of Boynton Beach, FL 

“Clean energy is important if we are to have a future.” – Jerry B. of Decatur, GA 

CLEAN ENERGY GENERATION MEMBER CALLS 

Since August, we have been hosting Clean Energy Generation member calls as a casual way for anyone interested to learn more about the movement, get to know others across the Southeast who are involved, and ask questions. We discuss unprecedented clean energy funding opportunities many of us can take part in, brainstorm how clean energy can best help each of our unique communities, and share how we can play a role in making it happen. It is a great opportunity to hear updates from SACE’s Clean Energy Generation team, and to collaborate with others on ideas and climate solutions tailored to our specific communities. 

“The calls are a great way to connect with people all over the Southeast who are ready to take action. I have always loved the saying ‘Many hands make light work.’ After CEG member calls, I always feel uplifted because I know that while the clean energy transition is a huge undertaking, there are people all around us who are rolling up their sleeves.” – Cary Ritzler, SACE Climate Advocacy Manager

In our December call, we celebrated hosting members from all our constituent states – Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. It is empowering to watch the movement grow, and together we’ll keep building momentum.

Join us on Friday, January 12, at 12 PM ET for our next Clean Energy Generation member call. Can’t make the call but still want to take action? Email [email protected]!

JOIN THE CLEAN ENERGY GENERATION

We are grateful for any of you who registered for our first two Clean Energy Generation webinars this year. The introductory webinar on June 29 welcomed all to the movement to learn more about how we all have a role to play, no matter our age, abilities, income, or zip code. We heard from inspiring volunteers Bruce Johnson and Rhudine Steele, who stressed that you don’t have to be an expert to start taking climate action in your community today – being open to learning is a perfect first step. 

Watch the Introductory Webinar

During our second webinar on October 25, Dr. Stephen A. Smith, SACE’s Executive Director, shared a video tour of clean energy technologies he and his family have implemented in their home over the past several years, and we got to ask questions about foundational energy efficiency measures, solar installation, battery storage, and charging an electric vehicle from home.

Watch the Webinar + Home Energy Tour

We’re excited to host more webinars like these in the new year to answer questions and share inspiring success stories and more opportunities to take action in ways that matter most to you and your community. Join the Clean Energy Generation to ensure you don’t miss the next webinar invitation – we’d love to see you there! 

In the meantime, there are plenty of actions each of us can take as part of the movement, from joining a member call to sharing our reason for supporting a clean energy transition – you can find a short list here. Plus, stay tuned for more of our Clean Energy Generation blogs on inspiring stories from across the Southeast. 

As the Clean Energy Generation, we are working together every day toward a just and equitable clean energy transformation, and it takes all of us. Thank you for the effort you’re putting in every step of the way. Together, we are already making change happen.

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Reed Winckler
Reed joined the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in 2023 as Communications Coordinator and is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Her focus is writing and creating content for SACE emails, newsletters,…
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