Another Earth Day is upon us and hopefully most of us are asking ourselves, “What am I doing to make this blue planet as beautiful for my children as it has been for me and those before me?” Ever since my children were about four, we used every Earth Day as an opportunity to walk around our neighborhood and clean up trash. It felt good. I was not only making for a more aesthetically beautiful place to live but I was also teaching my children important lessons: not only is it important not to litter but it’s our responsibility to not just complain, but to actually do something about it. “Be the change you want to see in this world,” –Gandhi (although I’ve been told this is a rephrasing of several things Gandhi said and not a direct quote.)
As my children grew older, we were inundated with news reports, articles and television shows about dying coral reefs, melting glaciers and disappearing rainforests. It broke our hearts. We continued to recycle, clean up litter from rivers and waterways, and do “our part,” and not just on Earth Day. But it still didn’t seem like enough. I needed my children to know their mother wanted to be a part of a bigger change. So, after leaving the engineering world more than a decade before to raise my kids, I returned to graduate school to learn about sustainability. It has been one of the most fascinating and insightful things I have done in my life. I went into the class not really knowing much about the term “sustainability,” but the concept is fairly simple. God has given us this amazing planet with resources to help us live productive and fruitful lives.
We have two choices:
- Use them until they run out (which almost happened to the forests of Great Britain in the 1500’s) and then hope we find another resource that can do the same thing, which has been pretty much our modus operandi for the last 2,000 years.
- Take 2,000 years of human knowledge to understand better how to minimally use these resources so they can last for generations to come.
But there is one resource that we know will be around for at least another five billion years – our wonderful sun. This “yellow dwarf” provides warmth, energy, light and all things good. And after decades of improving technology, its light now gives us direct power.
So that’s where Earth Day led me, to a group of people who wanted to make a change in this world by educating and supplying people with one of the lowest emission forms of energy – solar photovoltaics. This technology has been around for over 80 years and was actually contributed to by the works of Albert Einstein. But over the past decade, it has become cleaner, more efficient and more accessible. It brings me hope that every solar system we install gives future generations a chance to see a blue planet that is healthy and thriving.
At Eagle Solar and Light, in three years we’ve installed almost 2MW of solar power, equivalent to over 1.3 million planted trees and mitigated 50,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the life of the systems. And we’ve only just begun. That is only a very small portion of solar in the world. With companies such as Disney, Amazon, Google, Wal-mart, General Motors, Volkswagen, IKEA, Costco and more relying on solar power, it has proven to have taken the energy market by storm.
But don’t get me wrong, this technology is not at its end. It will continue to improve, along with other renewable energy sources such as wind, tidal, geothermal, hydro-electric and wave energy. And honestly, I hope one day we can reach the zenith of clean energy – fusion. But for now, I go into this Earth Day knowing our team is bringing the hope of a greener, cleaner, and healthier tomorrow.
Kathy Henderson, Sr. Sales Engineer, wife and mother of two hopeful children