Oil is spilling uncontrollably off our coast. Fingers are being pointed and blame is shifting from one party to another. Some politicians are grandstanding and most aren’t doing enough.
This is a horrible mess. It is also a great opportunity.
While the Gulf is dirty (and is getting dirtier by the minute), overhead the sun is still shining. With BP failing to cap the well, rage and confusion around the disaster continue to escalate. If one of the largest corporations in the world and our Federal government have been unable to contain this mess, what is it that we as individual citizens can do? The answer may be that there’s not much for us to do.
Having said that, the sun is still shining. At AMSOLAR, our corporate giving and community action program, AMSOLAR GIVING, was designed to create and foster "teachable moments" that promote renewable energy awareness, education and exploration. If the spill in the Gulf is not a teachable moment… I have no idea what is.
The focus of our business at AMSOLAR is "powering future generations" – bringing solar power to schools throughout the U.S. With AMSOLAR GIVING, we strive to make solar power relevant to students throughout the U.S. Knowing that millions of gallons of oil are destroying our coast at this very moment, I must admit to feeling powerless. There is just not much I can do.
What I realized, however, is that down the hall of my office, our AMSOLAR GIVING team has the tools, mandate and resources to make the best of this situation and help inspire a new generation of citizens that appreciates, understands and values renewable energy. We need viable, tangible alternatives to our oil addiction. No simple solution exists and no single resource can serve as the substitute we desperately need. But having students in classrooms with lights powered by the sun, whose parking lots are filled with parking canopies lined with solar panels, who arrive at schools in electric vehicles that can be recharged at solar-powered vehicle charging stations, will absolutely alter the perspective of these students. And it is these very students who today, like me, feel powerless as they watch oil-soaked wildlife and the blue ocean caked in a filthy mess.
Is solar power going to clean up this disaster? No chance. But it very well can help prevent the next one.
About the Author: Joshua Weinstein is the Managing Partner of AMSOLAR Corporation, a premier solar solutions partner for educational institutions. The company’s AMSOLAR GIVING program promotes renewable energy awareness, education and exploration at schools throughout the United States.