April 16, 2021

Making Good Things Happen

One of the most pressing problems of humanity in the current century is how a growing, rapidly developing, and not yet united global population can, in a just manner, alive in harmony with the planet and its finite resources.
- Universal House of Justice

Each of us can do our part to make good things happen for the environment according to Greeley-based Bahá'í Bill Kelly, who gave a recent Friday evening Big Ideas presentation about grassroots environmental action.

Bill told the story of his family's environmental evolution from having two solar panels installed on the roof of their Texas home to celebrate their teenage environmentalist son's birthday, to a business involving several large commercial solar installations in both Texas and Vermont. He explained that after the first panels were installed, he thought they could inspire others to try using solar power by doing a demonstration project on a prominent local family's house. Along with some volunteer helpers, he and his son put a larger installation on the roof of a local minister – learning as they worked – and of course used a professional electrician to hook them to the electrical grid.

At both undergraduate college and later law school, son Aaron Kelly was able to interest educational institutions in developing solar energy projects. The Kelly parents then built a large new installation in Vermont, again learning as they built it. The Kellys then developed a different kind of environmentally inspired business that offers battery replacement kits for smart phones, tablets and GPS units and have developed instructional videos to show customers how do it themselves. This kind of social enterprise helps people to extend the use of devices rather than replace them. Through slides of each step of the family's growing environmental action, Bill was able to show how people with a commitment to making a difference can start small and draw others in to make something larger happen.

Bill mentioned a number of local organizations that are involved in environmental protection or climate action and might be good allies, including the Electric Vehicle Council, Ecology Ottawa, the Rotary Club, Greening Sacred Spaces and the United Nations Association.

The presentation ended with illustrations of what a number of local Bahá'ís are doing "to make good things happen" for the environment. A number of them own hybrid or electric vehicles, some belong to car sharing organizations that allow them to live without a car or have one instead of two. Some have geothermal heating systems or solar panels, and many have vegetable gardens or have built garden boxes in their backyards to grow their own food while many others shop at farmers markets or subscribe to Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) baskets.

The Ottawa Cluster Environment group would be interested in learning about your individual environmental actions -- something we could share as an inspiration to others. Please join us by contacting

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