The Voices of 11 Black Leaders Making History Through Climate Action
Climate change impacts all of us, but it doesn’t impact us all equally. On the Bigger Than Us podcast, we’ve heard how issues like pollution, natural disasters, food security, and gaps in energy equity can challenge minority communities more than others. We’ve also heard how experiencing this inequality has shaped Black leaders to take action and innovate to benefit their communities and the planet.
Here are six Black leaders in cleantech, renewable energy, government, agritech, activism, transportation, finance, and more who are making historic strides toward stopping climate change.
Co-Founder & CEO of SparkCharge
Joshua Aviv is the co-founder and CEO of SparkCharge. His experience in entrepreneurship and startups spans over 6 years and he is a dynamic figure in the cleantech community.
Joshua joined us on the Bigger Than Us podcast to talk about the opportunity he saw to make EVs more accessible, what it’s been like to follow that opportunity through SparkCharge, and why he recommends that college students start companies of their own.
He also shares resources for minority talent recruitment and explains the link between BIPOC startup opportunities and neighborhood-level economic improvement.
Youth Ambassador Board Member of the Foundation for Climate Restoration
Ashley Meeky is a Youth Ambassador Board Member of the Foundation for Climate Restoration, Vanderbilt University student, and a self-proclaimed climate restoration optimist.
On Bigger Than US, he shares her optimistic views on climate restoration and the opportunities for youth to get involved in making a difference. She also explains why minorities and youth deserve a voice when it comes to the impacts of climate change and social justice, and why the issues shouldn’t be separated.
Managing Partner of Msaada Partners and the Majira Project
How do you empower businesses to make a social impact? And how can we advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in clean energy?
These are the solutions Kerry Bowie has set out to achieve as Managing Partner of Msaada Partners and the Majira project, and through launching Browning the Green Space.
Hear about Kerry’s work at the nexus of social, economic, and environmental justice, and how 20 years of experience in private, public, and nonprofit management has helped him realize the need for action to increase diversity in clean energy and beyond on Bigger Than Us.
Lionel Selwood Jr.
CEO of Romeo Power
In case you haven’t heard, we’re in what Romeo Power CEO Lionel Selwood Jr. calls the Electrification Decade. Lionel goes into more details about Romeo Power’s mission to advance energy technology and end energy poverty with their leading-edge battery technology on the Bigger Than Us podcast.
He also shares how growing up energy impoverished motivates him, and important lessons on faith, family, and rocket ships.
Founder and CEO of Re-Nuble
Soilless farms are one solution for improving the sustainability of our food system. But, getting plants the nutrients they need in a hydroponic setting can be tricky.
Re-Nuble‘s Organic Cycling Science solves soilless fertilizing problems by using food waste. Hear from Re-Nuble founder and CEO Tinia Pina about how Re-Nuble is bringing back closed-loop food, how she stays inspired by nature and her advice on sharing resources in business and in life on episode 106 of the Bigger Than Us Podcast.
Program Officer in Environment at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
When you think abou sustainable swaps, your bank is probably the last thing that comes to mind. But Marilyn Waite knows just how important banking and investing sustainably is. In fact, she says it’s one thing we can all do to be better homo sapiens.
Marilyn leads the climate and clean energy finance work at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. She’s also the author of Sustainability at Work: Careers that Make a Difference, and editor-at-large at GreenBiz Group. One episode 88 of Bigger Than Us, she sheds light on exactly how much needs to be invested to make a significant impact on climate change, how different pools of capital can help shift the financial system to focus on climate mitigating activities, why she wants to see banks and retirement funds aligned with the green economy we’re working toward and more.
Co-Founder & CEO of SEED
There will be 9 billion people to feed by 2050. SEED is opening the door to a sustainable future of food with a full-service “farm in a box” that allows anyone to grow food anywhere.
On episode 80 of Bigger Than Us, SEED co-founder and CEO Sabrina Williams discusses how the calling to seek justice for low-income communities led her from a career in architecture to providing urban farmer education in Los Angeles and Cuba and here she sees possibilities for using technology to support nature. Listen and learn how growing your food can be an enjoyable and empowering experience.
Senior Climate Coordinator at City of Dallas
We heard from Pharr Andrews, Senior Climate Coordinator for the City of Dallas to discuss the City of Dallas’ Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan (CECAP), which gave us insights into their process. Tune in to hear how stakeholders, equity, and consideration of vulnerable frontline communities played a role in CECAP development.
She also shares where individuals and businesses can learn how to get involved in mitigating the effects of climate change, and wisdom from her career experience that we can all consider to be better eco-warriors and support climate action.
Walter L. McLeod
Co-Founder & Managing Director with VSF Solar, LLC
Walter L. McLeod is a Co-founder and Managing Director with VSF Solar, LLC, where he leads project origination, site control, government relations, acquisitions, legal, utility relations, and business negotiations.
Walter has more than 25 years of executive experience in business development, strategy and government relations in the energy and mobility sectors. He has been actively engaged in clean technology deployment and finance for over a decade.
Mr. McLeod is the Founder and Managing Director of Eco Capitol Companies, where he has served as a senior advisor to energy companies, startups, investors, trade associations and think tanks. He was a junior partner candidate with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Green Tech Partners Investment Team. Walter has been an active thought leader in shaping clean energy and mobility policy in the United States for many years. He was appointed to serve on the original “Utility 2.0” project steering committee commissioned by the United Nations Foundation. Walter was also appointed to the “Value of Solar” stakeholder committee commissioned by the Virginia General Assembly. He has successfully developed or permitted a portfolio of utility-scale solar projects with a capacity exceeding 500 megawatts (MW) and valued at more than $750M.
Mr. McLeod is also the Founder of the Global Energy and Innovation Institute, where he created the “Electric Vehicle Roundtable” consortium which produced the 2017 landmark document, “Guiding Principles for Electrified Mobility.” Industry participants included Xcel Energy, Dominion Energy, Deutsche Bank, Daimler, Tesla, Volkswagen, EVgo, ChargePoint, Lyft, and Uber – representing a collective market cap exceeding $344B. Walter was also appointed to the Virginia Automated 20xx Strategic Plan autonomous mobility committee by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
Walter has served on several boards and advisory committees, including the George Mason University Alumni Association, American Council on Renewable Energy, Chemical Angels Network, MIT Energy Prize and SURGE Ventures Accelerator, to name a few.
CPA & Founder of Green Passion Projects
Kenny Green is a CPA who assists organizations in the integration of ESG principles and sustainability reporting. In addition, he is the founder of Green Passion Projects, an organization that consults with professional athletes and entrepreneurs to create effective business strategies.
Kenny’s background includes working with NBA star and Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward on a community fundraiser, consulting with Grammy-winning songwriter, Steven Battey, on a social impact music video featuring Superbowl Champ DeMarcus Ware and Snoop Dogg and partnering with the Jackie Robinson Park of Fame on a holiday extravaganza for underserved families.
Kenny earned a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University and has held several corporate leadership roles, including leading the accounting and reporting function for a multinational organization. Kenny resides in Stamford, CT with his wife Makeda Mays Green (a television executive) and their three children.
Co-Founder & CEO of eCarra
Rock Robinson is the Co-founder and CEO of eCarra.com, a zero-emissions mobility platform that aims to reduce harmful emissions and accelerate the awareness of electric vehicles by pioneering electric car ride awareness, eCarra brings the growing tech-centric population and automakers together in real-time.
Is there a Black leader you’d like to hear featured on the podcast? Send us an email at BTU@NexusPMG.com. Subscribe to hear from more inspiring industry leaders on the Bigger Than Us podcast, and share your feedback about the show on iTunes.
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