The realities of the global climate crisis can seem overwhelming. Every day, there’s new information about how the environment and human health are being threatened. And the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic has people wondering about possible parallels.
But there are plenty of Orange County residents fighting to make positive change. We highlight that great work here—from green businesses and university researchers to volunteer groups and civil servants. Passionate locals are working together to create a sustainable future; let them inspire you to take action in ways large and small.
“There’s only one planet we can live on, that we can skate on, and the only way to keep going is to lower our carbon footprint. I wanted to inspire the youth to see they have a future. I thought one way was to have my headquarters equipped for solar. … We added 616 solar panels to the roof.”
Pierre André Senizergues, CEO-founder of Sole Technology Inc.
“The panels (at the schools in our district) are generating about
5 million kilowatt hours per year—that’s about enough to power more than 450 households. We have reduced our carbon emissions by an estimated 3,535 metric tons. That’s the equivalent of taking 751 cars off the road for a full year.”
Kent Ramseyer, coordinator III, energy and compliance at Newport-Mesa Unified School District
“For the last three years, we were able to help more than 200 families go solar in Irvine. We’re planning to expand throughout Orange County and also focus on disadvantaged communities. Most of our energy comes from dirty fuel—fossil fuel—so our effort is to make sure that people can generate clean energy.”
Senait Forthal, executive director of OC Goes Solar
“We want to walk the talk of creating a zero-waste facility and producing more energy than we consume. We have a traditional grid system. We generate power during the day, and it goes right back into the grid, then we pull power from the grid at night. We use it for most of our needs.”
Evan Marks, founder of The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano
”I have 32 panels on the roof, installed nearly seven years ago. I have a home office that uses a lot of energy, and I wanted to lower my electric bill. Installing it then was more expensive than it is now. In the spring and the fall, I’m a net provider back into the electric grid. There’s a moral satisfaction I get out of this. We do this because it’s the right thing to do.”
Richard Alexander, Costa Mesa resident
Read more from this cover story at orangecoast.com/sustainingoc.