Environmental Justice: The Role of Solar Energy in Healing Our Society
June 4, 2020
We want to take a moment to acknowledge the loss and heartache that our society is feeling right now due to the tragic deaths of so, so many black Americans at the hands of structural racism. America is premised on the fair and equal treatment of all persons, yet for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many before them that ideal has been stripped away along with their breath. It is up to all of us to do better.
Solar energy may seem like a tangential way to tackle the historic injustices of our country, but in fact our industry is rooted in the ideas of empowerment, progress, and independence—values that attracted many of us to work in this field. Environmental justice is social justice. Clean air is social justice. We all look forward to the day when black and brown neighborhoods are no longer choked with the pollution that prevents people from flourishing.
On top of that, New York is recovering from coronavirus, one of the greatest crises to ever hit our state, with devastating economic and health impacts in already disadvantaged communities. This moment that is calling out for fundamental and long overdue change gives us an opportunity to reform our own practices and emerge as individuals and companies that are even more caring and supportive of our coworkers and communities.
We hope that you will join us in this pivotal time to become even more diverse and inclusive in your workplaces, and even more supportive of the policies that give solar energy access to the communities that need it most. New York is poised to hire thousands of workers as we build toward the 6-GW goal and beyond. Let's make sure our solar workforce is reflective of who we are as New Yorkers—smart, tough, loving, and unified.
We at NYSEIA are committed to making this a reality.