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Key Takeaways from COP27

The United Nations held its annual Climate Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt over the past few weeks, and while it wasn’t easy, in the end 200 countries signed on to a breakthrough agreement that addressed one of the most persistent sticking points: the disparity between the nations responsible for most of the pollution that is driving climate change, and those that have contributed the least emissions but are suffering some of the most extreme effects.

The new 12-page agreement established a compensation fund to address losses and damages for countries with the lowest carbon footprints, including smaller island nations like Vanuatu and less industrialized nations in Africa.

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Monday is Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Last year, President Biden officially recognized the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, celebrating the cultures and contributions of Native Americans in the US. Formerly known as Columbus Day, the move toward celebrating Indigenous people and culture rather than European colonialism began when South Dakota began observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 1989.

On a planet faced with catastrophic climate change, Indigenous people around the world are faced with some of the most extreme challenges (while contributing the least emissions), and have much to offer when it comes to time-tested ways to conserve resources and protect the environment.

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Solar One Announces Appointment of Stephen Levin as Chief Executive Officer

Stephen Levin will join Solar One as CEO as of January 10, 2022, after serving as New York City Councilmember for District 33 since 2010. He takes the helm of the organization following the retirement of Christopher J. Collins, who led Solar One for 17 years.

Stephen Levin PhotoNew York City, NY January 5, 2022 – Solar One is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen Levin as Chief Executive Officer. Stephen joins Solar One after 12 years as a member of the New York City Council for District 33, serving neighborhoods of Brooklyn including Greenpoint, parts of Williamsburg, Vinegar Hill, Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill, and parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

As an award-winning New York City nonprofit, Solar One is dedicated to sustainability and resiliency in urban neighborhoods and delivers a wide array of programming providing environmental education services to diverse program participants. Solar One welcomes Stephen to lead the organization in its next phase of growth, building on a strong financial foundation, highly regarded programs, strong partnerships with government agencies and community partners.

During his tenure as a Councilmember, and as Chair of the New York City Council’s General Welfare Committee, Stephen focused on ensuring homeless families and individuals have access for permanent housing and guaranteeing long term support for those in the foster care system. During his tenure, Councilmember Levin served on multiple committees including the Environmental Protection, Land Use, Cultural Affairs, Education, and Transportation committees, as well as the Land Use Subcommittee on Landmarks and Public Siting.

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Solar One Selected by the Citi Foundation’s Community Progress Makers Initiative to Advance Social and Economic Opportunity in New York City

This unrestricted grant of $500,000 will enable Solar One to strengthen our programming, bringing those most affected by environmental injustice to the forefront of developing and benefitting from the clean energy economy.

New York City, NY (December14, 2021) – Solar One was selected by Citi Foundation as a recipient of the Community Progress Makers initiative, which supports visionary organizations across the U.S. that are working to connect low-income communities and communities of color to greater social and economic opportunity. As a Community Progress Maker, Solar One will receive a multi-year, unrestricted grant of $500,000 and access to technical assistance and a supportive learning community from 2022 – 2023.

Through Citi Foundation’s support, Solar One will be able to expand and enhance its programs in K-12 environmental education, green workforce training, solar installation technical assistance, and eco-park stewardship. Through programs like these, Solar One transforms the way people think about energy, the urban environment, and resilience.

“We are truly honored to be included in this year’s cohort of grant recipients, all of whom are doing such crucial work in cities around the country,” said Solar One’s Executive Director Christopher J. Collins. “With the support of the Citi Foundation and the Community Progress Maker program, we will be able to reach more stakeholders and program participants in our community and facilitate new ways living, working, and thinking that are a crucial component of our response to a world affected by climate change. We are looking forward to connecting with other grantees and working with the Urban Institute to collectively amplify the work each our organizations do individually.”

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EPA Pledges to Fix Longstanding Water Issues on Tribal Lands

November has been designated as Native American Heritage Month, and in advance of it, the US Environmental Protection Agency released a long-needed action plan to improve water and sewer infrastructure on native lands. The plan, which was developed with input from the National Tribal Water Council, will guide the implementation of improvements that will bring tribal communities in line with the standards defined in the Clean Water Act.
According to a 2019 report from the U.S. Water Alliance, Native American households are 19 times more likely than white households to lack indoor plumbing. The lack of a clean, reliable water source can make handwashing and hygiene difficult for Native households—inequities that were further exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The infrastructure for safe drinking water and basic sanitation needs are core concerns for any tribal nation,” said NTWC chairman Ken Norton, who is a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, whose lands are in Northern California.

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Solar-Funded WiFi for Affordable Housing: the New Normal?

Residents of 22 buildings in East New York, Crown Heights and Bedford Stuyvesant are about to get free solar-powered WiFi under a new program that could be replicated across the city’s entire affordable housing stock.

Workforce Housing Group (WFHG), a New York-based affordable housing development organization, secured first-of-its-kind financing from the NY Green Bank (NYGB) to install solar panels on 18 of its affordable housing buildings. Our Here Comes Solar team helped develop and execute the solar strategy for these buildings.

The solar arrays will generate clean energy and the savings that creates will go towards repaying the $60 million loan and providing residents with WiFi at no cost.

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