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Author Archives:

Michael Barry

Solar One Announces Retirement of Executive Director

Press Release

Founding Executive Director, Christopher J. Collins will retire December 2021 after 17 years leading the organization.

The organizational leadership team, the Board of Directors, and all staff are grateful for his leadership and hard work over the years and note that he leaves them and the organization well-positioned to carry his legacy and the charitable mission forward, building on the solid foundations he put in place.

Read more +

End Violence Against Asian Americans

Solar One Joins in Condemning the Recent Rise in Anti-Asian Violence in the U.S.

End Violence Against Asian AmericansEven before Tuesday’s mass shooting in Atlanta that took the lives of six Asian American women, hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic. The majority of attacks have been directed at women and elders.

New data from reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate on Tuesday revealed nearly 3,800 incidents were reported over the course of roughly a year during the pandemic. It’s a significantly higher number than last year’s count of about 2,800 hate incidents nationwide over the span of five months. Women made up a far higher share of the reports, at 68 percent, compared to men, who made up 29 percent of respondents. The nonprofit does not report incidents to police.

Solar One is horrified and dismayed by this terrifying trend, and we join with all others who condemn this senseless and discriminatory violence, whether in word or deed, as well. In NYC alone, hate crimes and aggression against people of Asian descent increased ninefold over 2019. We must all add our voices and work together to end this scourge in our community.

If you have some cash to spare and would like to donate in support of the Asian community locally and across the country, New York Magazine has compiled this handy guide of organizationsThe HOPE Program has put together this list of of resources that support people of Asian descent:

In addition, they have also shared these resources for anyone facing discrimination, or feeling anxious, frightened or alone in light of these events:

Please stay vigilant, be safe and support each other through these difficult times, regardless of who yo are or how you identify. Our collective humanity depends on it.

Climate Change and Nature

A New Approach to Infrastructure, Climate Change & Nature

Climate Change and NatureThe recent horrors in Texas, as millions went without electricity and water during a historic winter storm and cold snap, remind us of the ticking time bomb that is our nation’s aging infrastructure. In the early 20th century, we made bold investments in our infrastructure that powered our success, and our continued prosperity depends upon our ability to innovate and adapt. Yet we have failed to invest for decades, leading to the American Society of Civil Engineers consistently giving America’s infrastructure C-minus to D-plus marks.

As climate change brings more frequent and intense weather events, our infrastructure will continue to face challenges it was not built to withstand. The most vulnerable among us will suffer disproportionately. If this is to be a time of equitable renewal amid a global pandemic, then we must meet this once-in-a-generation opportunity to address our crumbling infrastructure, climate change and social equity with a natural solution.

A 21st-century infrastructure system should incorporate conventional approaches using rock, concrete and steel that are strategically designed to work with natural infrastructure. Imagine a concrete flood wall with an expansive reef and marsh in front of it. The wall provides flood protection benefits during storms but does little on a sunny day. In contrast, the reef and marsh system not only reduces the power of waves but also self-adjusts to rising seas, captures carbon, improves water quality, and provides places for us to hunt, fish and recreate.

Further inland, river floodplains, parks and greenspaces can serve as pressure relief valves to help protect downstream communities from flooding and pollution. When conventional engineering and Mother Nature join forces, our communities are protected by multiple lines of defense that generate a wide range of economic, environmental and social benefits.

You can read more on the Washington Post website here.

Introducing Sara Radelet, Solar One’s New Director of Development

Sara Radelet Solar One is excited and pleased to welcome Sara Radelet to the Leadership Team as Director of Development.

Sara Radelet will be taking the lead on fundraising and partnership development in support of the organization’s operations and programs. Sara has over 25 years experience in fundraising and organizational management, with prior work in sectors of climate change and environment, higher education, and the arts.

Prior to joining Solar One, Sara served as Head of Fundraising for C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (in London and New York), and was previously Advancement Coordinator at the American University of Paris. Prior posts include serving as the founding Executive Director of the New Hazlett Center for the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh; and serving as Assistant Director of the Mattress Factory, a cutting-edge artist residency space and arts museum. Sara serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Artists Image Resource printmaking studio. Sara holds a BA in the Liberal Arts from The George Washington University.

Please get in touch with Sara at development@solar1.org to learn more about Solar One’s fundraising strategy and how to become a partner.

Black History Month

For Black History Month, Learn About the Memphis Sanitation Strike

Black History MonthBlack History Month is almost over, but Black history is rife with stories that can enrich our lives and teach us more about our communities throughout the year. A case in point: The Memphis Sanitation Strike.

The strike, which began just seven weeks before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968, was the second attempt by the sanitation workers to strike for fair wages and safe working conditions, and was sparked by the tragic deaths of two garbage collectors, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, who were crushed by a malfunctioning truck.

On 11 February, more than 700 men attended a union meeting and unanimously decided to strike. Within a week, the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People passed a resolution supporting the strike. The strike might have ended on 22 February, when the City Council, pressured by a sit-in of sanitation workers and their supporters, voted to recognize the union and recommended a wage increase. Memphis mayor Loeb rejected the City Council vote, however, insisting that only he had the authority to recognize the union and refused to do so.

The night before his assassination in April 1968, Martin Luther King told a group of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee: “We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through” (King, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” 217). King believed the struggle in Memphis exposed the need for economic equality and social justice that he hoped his Poor People’s Campaign would highlight nationally.

On 8 April, four days after Dr. King was killed on the balcony at the Lorraine motel, an estimated 42,000 people led by Coretta Scott King, SCLC, and union leaders silently marched through Memphis in honor of King, demanding that Loeb give in to the union’s requests. In front of City Hall, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) pledged to support the workers until “we have justice” (Honey, 480). Negotiators finally reached a deal on 16 April, allowing the City Council to recognize the union and guaranteeing a better wage. Although the deal brought the strike to an end, several months later the union had to threaten another strike to press the city to follow through with its commitment.

You can read more about the Memphis Sanitation Strike on the King Institute of Stanford University website here. Special thanks to Betsy Pichizaca, Here Comes Solar’s social media intern, for bringing this piece of environmental justice history to our attention via the HCS Instagram page, which we encourage you to follow for more excellent content like this!

Texas Winter Storm Blackout

Climate Chaos in Action: Millions Lose Power in Winter Storm Uri

Texas Winter Storm BlackoutAt least 21 people have died across the southern United States as a result of the devastating Winter Storm Uri, and millions more are without power and heat as the snowfall and freezing rain continue. Many of them are low-income, nonwhite families who continue to bear the brunt of compounding crises.

In Texas, where the power outages have been particularly severe, Black and Hispanic families are more than twice as likely as white households to live under the poverty line, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Many are living without sufficient insulation to protect themselves from the cold, and others are living without shelter entirely. And amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately hurt Black, Indigenous and Latino communities, traditional emergency responses are failing.

“Whether it’s flooding from severe weather events like hurricanes or it’s something like this severe cold, the history of our response to disasters is that these communities are hit first and have to suffer the longest,” Robert Bullard, a professor at Texas Southern University, told the New York Times.

States like Texas with milder winters were caught off guard by the chill, which led to a massive spike in energy demand and a huge drop in available electricity as the infrastructure around natural gas, coal, nuclear, and wind energy froze up. Tuesday was the coldest day in North Texas in 72 years, with the Dallas-Fort Worth area reaching a record low temperature of minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit this week.

The cold weather has triggered a wave of blackouts across Texas, leaving millions of residents shivering in the dark. In some places, Texans have been without power for days.

With average temperatures rising around the world due to greenhouse gas emissions, there is more heat in the global climate system. That’s already having some predictable impacts, like an increase in the frequency and intensity of heat waves.

But it may be having some counterintuitive effects as well, especially during colder seasons. How climate change will reshape winters is, as scientists like to say, an area of active research.

There are a couple of competing ideas for how more warming will change the likelihood of extreme cold periods, like the frigid weather currently gripping much of the US. One group of researchers says that warming will make such events less likely, while another says that warming in the Arctic will increase the chances of frigid polar air spilling further south, leading to more periods of extreme cold in the near term.

But as Texas shows, failing to prepare for winter weather extremes can be devastating, so it’s critical to find out what scenarios could be in store and how often they’ll occur.

You can read more about Winter Storm Uri’s disproportionate effects on low income communities and people of color on TheHill.com here, and more about the connection between extreme winter weather and climate chaos on Vox.com here.

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