SolarNation’s vision is to activate every person in every community to personally and directly engage in the project of combating catastrophic climate change by acting at the local level. Our mission is to ignite a national net-zero movement that supports and accelerates the efforts of local communities to eliminate their carbon footprints.
Our method is founded on the premise that individuals and communities will enthusiastically embrace the aspirational goal of addressing climate change when they are empowered to co-create meaningful and plausible ways to do so that fit into their lives. For example, a community might decide to create a local community solar project, to provide cheaper, carbon-free energy to low-income members. Later, what begins as an attempt to save a little money on utility bills while doing the “right thing” for the planet, can subsequently grow into a venture to engage more neighbors, the broader business community, educators, students and local government leaders to collaborate in creating additional ways to provide a just and sustainable energy future for the local area.
Ultimately, SolarNation targets the denial, despair and sense of powerlessness that many feel at the prospect of catastrophic climate change by guiding community-driven efforts to organize and finance community solar and other net-zero energy activities. SolarNation’s approach minimizes technical barriers while maximizing participants’ emotional connection to the work. This changes people’s relationship to climate change, from isolated victims to collective victors. The resultant transformation of climate-change consciousness puts communities on hopeful pathways to take further action to grow the movement and ensure a healthy future for the planet.
Carlos Monteagudo, MD, MPH: Founder & CEO – a social entrepreneur for 20 years and a practicing psychiatrist in public hospitals since 1988. After a Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship, in 2002 Carlos cofounded SEED, which creates tools and supports community agencies for community organizing and leadership development. In 2014, Carlos founded SolarNation to apply his experiences in leadership development and community organizing to the issue of climate change. He has Chicago roots and is a Bloomfield, NJ, resident. He is an Elder at the Bloomfield Presbyterian Church on the Green, where his wife, the Reverend Ruth Boling, is the pastor.