Ukraine’s solar roof initiative, plus the HBCU Green Fund. Bahamian Climate Champion, Lauren Ritchie, and the Ukrainian Climate Network.
Ukraine’s Solar Roof Initiative, HBCU Green Fund, Bahamian Climate Champ–Lauren Ritchie, Ukrainian Climate Network
UKRAINE’S SOLAR ROOFTOP INITIATIVE
In July 2019 the Ukrainian Parliament enacted a new law reinforcing the rights of citizens to install or to plan to install a domestic solar power source on their home.
As outlined in the Energy Strategy adopted in 2017, Ukraine plans to have 25% of its energy sector using renewable energy by 2035. As of 2020, Ukraine was poised to join the top 15 of the world’s most developed solar energy markets. Five regions of Ukraine had been leading the way in Solar energy:
- Transcarpathian oblasts
There were 130 families with installed solar panels in 2015. By 2019, that number had risen to almost 8,850 families. The total capacity of these household family solar panel units is close to 190 MW. It’s estimated that 1 MW of solar power generates enough electricity to meet the needs of 164 U.S. homes. Ukraine’s domestic capacity is now sufficient to power over 31,000 of its homes.
Here’s hoping Ukraine’s capacity remains intact during and after Russia’s invasion. Why do solar rooftops in Ukraine matter to us? Ukraine is an example of a developed nation taking the energy transition seriously.
THE HBCU GREEN FUND
Founded in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2017 to help finance green projects at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the non-profit works to advance campus-wide sustainability, supports interdisciplinary sustainability curriculum and promotes student engagement in sustainability initiatives.
Howard University alumna and fund founder, Felicia Davis, had “always imagined Black colleges making the quantum leap for energy.” Before launching the fund, Davis was the green building initiatives director at the United Negro College Fund.
The HBCU Green Fund receives resources from its partners to fund projects focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The projects often use techniques like energy efficiency retrofits, green building and other sustainable practice to achieve their goals.
The Fund’s partners include:
- The Solutions Project
- Intentional Endowments Network
- Generation Green
- National Technical Association
- The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
The HBCU Green Fund recently announced a partnership with the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE). RICE recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The partnership between HBCU and RICE will expand STEM and energy training, mentorship, and internship opportunities for Atlanta University Center Students.
Why does the HBCU Green Fund matter to us? Black communities now have a greater say and full access to the potential financial, social, and cultural benefits of clean energy.
BAHAMIAN CLIMATE CHAMPION, LAUREN RITCHIE
Bahamian Lauren Ritchie recalls the reality of climate change with Hurricanes Dorian and Matthew, two extreme weather events in her childhood. They informed her concern and attention around social and environmental issues. As a high schooler, Ritchie studied poverty, migration, global health, climate change and environmental degradation. She also became a member of the Keep Grand Bahama Clean initiative.
In 2018, she moved to NY to study sustainable development and environmental studies at Columbia University. In May 2020, she created an education platform called The Eco Gal. Its purpose is to raise awareness about social justice and promote inclusion in climate action.
While still an undergrad, Ritchie interned at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. There she worked with a team on advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the scientific research center of the Columbia Climate School.
Ritchie’s work led to the creation of Columbia Climate Conversations, a new panel series designed to engage the undergraduate community in critical but under-discussed parts of the climate movement, inclusion and intersectionality.
Why does Lauren Ritchie matter to us? Well, she’s a climate slacker, so…but seriously, in the future, Ritchie wants to continue the fight for marginalized communities and perhaps move into the realm of international policymaking. She’s one to watch out for and cheer on. That’s why she matters to us.
THE UKRAINIAN CLIMATE NETWORK
In its 2020 report, The Ukrainian Climate Network (UCN), spoke about climate issues saying “Climate change is a unique chance for the world to unite and achieve a common Goal!” Initially there were 17 NGOs working together, now there are 30 civil society groups under the banner of UCN. Its purpose is facing Ukrainian climate-related issues head-on.
There are four specific areas where UCN works:
- Advocating for transparent use of Kyoto Protocol mechanisms
- Advocating for introduction of policies directed to emissions reductions
- Raising public awareness on climate change
- Mobilizing civil society for actions.
In December 2021, the government approved “Standards for maximum permissible concentrations of hazardous substances in soils”, an area UCN advocates for. The standard listed 39 hazardous substances with harmful effects on the environment, soil pollution and human health.
Why does Ukrainian Climate Network matter to us? UCN brings together climate actors on a local and national level to develop real change.