Citzens' Climate Lobby hosts film screening and discussion on 'clean energy revolution'

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Sep 14, 2018 at 8:20 PM

Last month, BrightRidge, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Silicon Ranch Corp., a Nashville-based energy company, broke ground in Washington County on a large solar power-producing plant.

To “climate solutionists” and those promoting the use of alternative energy, this is one small example of the “clean energy revolution” happening throughout the nation. 

“The groundbreaking of the new plant in Telford seems like a sign of progress,” Luke Carter, the chapter leader of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby of Northeast Tennessee, said. “I know there are individuals already using their own solar panels in the area.”

Carter said these moves toward clean energy makes he and others more optimistic about promoting what he says are “bipartisan and market-based” efforts and solutions to combat climate change.

On Oct. 3, the local CCL chapter and the East Tennessee State University Department of Sustainability will host a screening of “Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution” at 6 p.m. in ETSU’s Brown Hall auditorium. Doors open for refreshments at 5:30, and the film will be followed by a moderated panel and discussion. 

The film follows filmmaker Jamie Redford on a journey across the nation to meet innovators of clean energy and discuss other possible solutions to slow the tide of catastrophic climate change.

“I feel like it’s a chance to see what’s happening and that there’s a way to move forward,” Carter said of the documentary. 

Carter said the documentary highlights some of the ways the public and private sectors are slowly working to move to clean energy sources, citing the efforts of the U.S. military, which has increasingly worked to utilize more solar energy. 

“It does seem like the military is making some big strides. Things have changed with the new administration (of President Donald Trump), but it does seem like a priority of the military to not be as dependent on dirty fuel,” Carter said. 

The panel will feature Dave Hrivnak, a CCL member from Kingsport, and Sean Collins, director of operations at Revive Energy and an Army veteran from both Iraq and Afghanistan. Collins will further discuss the military’s efforts to move toward clean, alternative energy. 

In general, Carter said the CCL aims to generate discussion about how to promote the use of alternative energy in Northeast Tennessee. While members of both parties have worked together in the Climate Solutions Caucus on Capitol Hill, the issue is largely viewed along partisan lines regionally, Carter said. 

“We try to reach out to both sides. It’s all about conversation,” he said. “In this region, it is kind of an uphill battle. A lot of people feel that things need to be done, but with the current climate, they feel like they can’t do these things.”

Despite these obstacles, Carter said documentaries like “Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution” point to a light at the end of the tunnel. 

“I feel like (the ‘clean energy revolution’) is already happening, which is kind of what the film is about. It’s happening more so in other parts of the country, but it it is coming to our region. It’d be hard for me to put a number on it, but I’d say in the next 10-20 years – hopefully, sooner.” 

For more information on the Citizens’ Climate Lobby of Northeast Tennessee, visit the organization’s Facebook page.  

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