#BlackClimateWeek ends with WDC Solar, plus Energicity Corp. Climate youth ambassador, Ashley Meeky, and Colombia’s “guardian of nature,” Felipe Henao!
#BlackClimateWeek: WDC Solar, Energicity Corp., Climate Youth Ambassador–Ashley Meeky, Guardian of Nature–Felipe Henao
WDC SOLAR, INC. AND ITS CEO MARK DAVIS
WDC Solar, Inc. is a solar Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) company located in the thriving Anacostia community in Washington D.C. The company launched in 2009 with the intention of providing access to solar energy to all socioeconomic classes in Washington, D.C.
They install solar power for commercial purposes as well as individuals.
WDC Solar’s three-part plan is:
- to create jobs for District residents
- to provide low- to no-cost energy for low- and middle-income DC residents
- to do something to improve the environment.
In fact they’ve helped over 500 DC residents take advantage of electric savings by installing solar power. CEO Mark Davis partnered in 2012 with DC’s Department of Energy and Environment (DC DEE) to launch a pilot initiative called Solar For All.
According to DC Sustainable Energy Utility’s (DC SEU) website, “With modest goals of installing 15 to 20 systems for income-qualified families as part of a Small-Scale Solar pilot, WDC Solar was one of the first local contractors the DCSEU worked with to develop a pipeline of projects.
After a successful pilot run, the initiative became a full scale program that provides free solar systems to low-income residents. DC DEE realized that DC Wards 7 and 8 had less than twelve solar systems installed in those communities.
Why does WDC Inc and Mark Davis matter to us? It is an important contribution to recently announced emissions reduction plans for D.C., will require that all of its electricity come from renewable sources by 2032, the most ambitious timetable in the country.
VANDERBILT’S CLIMATE YOUTH AMBASSADOR, ASHLEY MEEKY
Being optimistic about climate change is difficult. But for Ashley Meeky it’s not difficult because you just have to change your words around . Meeky says “for me, climate restoration is a more optimistic side” of the climate change issue. Originally from Illinois, Ashley Meeky, who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, was always active in service and community life, such as volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.
What sparked her interest in climate change was her desire to travel the world and “experience Earth’s beauty” (as she put it). While in school at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee, Meeky was first introduced to the idea of climate restoration at the 2019 Global Climate restoration forum at the UN headquarters. She says, “since then, I’ve been super engaged, super excited, and just ready to spread the hope that climate restoration brings.”
Vanderbilt sponsored a 12-week leadership program with the Foundation for Climate Restoration to train youth to speak and raise awareness about climate change. The Foundation for Climate Restoration is a nonprofit working to encourage global support for the development and deployment of carbon capture and sequestration technology. Through that association she was brought on as a youth ambassador board member.
Why does Ashley Meeky matter to us? She’s learning and training others to speak effectively about climate change to try and bring everyone on the same page.
FELIPE “PIPE” HENAO – COLOMBIA’S GUARDIAN OF NATURE
Climate Change Champion Felipe “Pipe” Henao started his environmental organization called Pipe Q-ida in 2019. The name in Spanish stands for ‘Felipe cares for’. Through Pipe Q-ida, he leads a tree restoration project, receiving seedlings from a nursery run by John Alarcan, a former FARC rebel and co-signatory of the peace agreement.
Henao’s journey to climate activist started where he was born–Calamar, a small town in the southeastern region of Colombia. As a child he played in the forest. Now that forest is no more. It was knocked down to provide pasture and grazing land for about 25,000 head of cattle.
In fact, according to Colombia’s Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), over 424,000 of Colombian forest acres were denuded just in 2020 The trend seems to be rising and the biggest forest-related losses are where Henao lives–Colombia’s Amazoznian region.
To date, Pipe Q-ida has engaged more than 150 companies and organizations, more than 1,800 families, and mobilized more than 1,000 young people to volunteer to clean rivers, protect wetlands and plant more than 60,000 trees.
His mission? To get all Colombians to develop a sense of ownership in these forests. Doing so will make Colombianos of all stripes more willing to protect their native forests. Why does Felipe Henao matter to us? He’s a shining example of a young man taking massive action in his local community to combat climate change, resulting in real change on a national scale in his county.
ENERGICITY CORPS’ MINI-GRIDS AND NICOLE POINDEXTER
Meet Nicole Poindexter, founder of Energicity Corp, a minority-owned solar power company started in 2015. Poindexter, a Houston, TX native, made her debut in the energy sector when she served as senior director at an energy firm and founded an energy-industry conference.
She thought about starting a company in the U.S. but realized that she could scale up operations much more quickly in Africa. As she investigated the reality of starting her company there, she recalls, “I began to learn what life is like without electricity. The challenges to health, safety, economic productivity, and education were astounding. And I realized that I could do something about it.”
The company operates out of Freetown, Sierra Leone and builds and operates solar-powered mini-grid utilities that provide rural, off-grid communities with affordable, sustainable electric power. And significantly reduce carbon emissions by groups of people who are more at risk to the effects of climate change.
Only seven years later, the company serves thirty-six communities and 23,000 people including rural homes, farmers, and businesses in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, and soon Benin. In 2021 the company started its first big minigrid in Sierra Leone. That project benefits a fish processing plant, a biscuit factory, provides jobs, food, and community development for 100,000 people. By the end of 2021 the 14th poorest country had a 1 MW mingrid.
Why do mini-grids by Energicity Corps matter to us? Power from mini-grids replaces the need for people to clear forests for wood to burn and to use diesel generators.