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Step Into the Light

Take Climate Action

Never underestimate the power of simple steps to make a change. But how can you identify the best step for you to take? We used this tool, thanks to Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, to identify the best climate action we could take. Find out your climate action by using it too; simply follow this button:

Climate action venn diagram
What have others done?

Climate Heroes

Meet some of our climate heroes and learn what small step they took to make a difference…

What have others done?

Climate Heroes

Meet some of our climate heroes and learn what small step they took to make a difference…

Audrey Puleio

US Senior Project Manager

When we talk about climate action there is this broadness to it that can easily cause a feeling of overwhelm. There is so much to do, and sadly so much bad already done, how do we begin to combat this and reverse it?

From a personal perspective there are steps to take but often they are so small e.g., bringing your reusable bag when you go shopping. For these to be effective they need to be partnered with a larger piece like what we’re doing on a professional level. Part of the reason I chose my job, and a company like BNRG, was to have the opportunity to have a bigger impact on this complex problem.

I feel very lucky that I was raised in a family that saw the value in composting, and the importance of the environment. My Mom also 
set up the community garden where we lived in New York. Because of this I have a consciousness of the environment and it has always been top of mind.

I was also lucky enough to have grown up in a location where the intrinsic value of nature has been one that has been easy for me to access. Now I also live somewhere that has lots of parks and there is 
a big focus on walking to wherever you need to be.

I had the opportunity to study the environment in university where the true realisation hit that climate change is a full belly problem. I am fortunate in my life to have the resources and headspace to think about this issue and to take action to help address it. The ability to have tools like the Climate Action Venn Diagram is a privilege. I don’t take this for granted and it helps me cultivate an even greater appreciation for the environment around us.

In terms of action, on a personal level I compost, and I reduce how much I drive or fly. We’re all human and we use the environment to our advantage, but it is always on my mind and I’m constantly thinking how can I do better…for example not subscribing to fast fashion and cleaning up the community when I have the opportunity to.

On a professional level I am intrinsically linked to the environment and the issue at hand, and as a result I sought out employment in that area. In my previous work, with the Maine pollinator work, we were introducing native species back into our solar sites. Now with BNRG I am lucky to be working on large scale solar projects that are having a positive impact on the environment and world around us. There is also a community aspect to it that grants people access to solar who might not otherwise have access.

Being on the development side of the house here in BNRG I have the opportunity to conscientiously think of the environment and about being a conscious neighbour and having a positive impact on the wider community. This work most definitely feels like a more cohesive piece that brings it all together and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity for professional growth and personal alignment.

Jesse Nichols

Australia Project
AUS Development Manager

I struggled at first to think of something worthy of mentioning. I can’t afford a Tesla, haven’t got round to a rooftop system yet, still have a gas stove and hot water, and I drive an old banger that’s undoubtedly less efficient than it should be. I obtained quotes for double glazing last year, and they were eye watering. I’m aiming to fly my family of 4 across the world this year. My kids would stay in the shower if I let them, and my Mrs steadfastly runs a ‘never turn anything off’ policy.

But as soon as I looked at the Climate Change Venn Diagram, it became clear. My contribution is in outreach, my best and most important work is done in the regional part of Australia, with the conservative population. It’s there that our landholder partners are, and where our future workforce (renewables) resides. It’s also the home of climate change denialisms, and a petri dish of conservative tribalism.

I find myself among them, whether at their invitation or by good old fashion cold-call prospecting. Either way they challenge me on climate change. Not because they have an alternative theory (usually), and often not even because they see it as a flawed concept. Manly, in fact, they want their own tribe, their identity, to be affirmed by the sheer existence of an opposition. My interest, my strength, and my joy lies in capacity building in the regions. Connecting the developer and the farmer, creating a new stakeholder. That’s where I can make my biggest contribution.

Pamela Rawlings

US Head of Procurement

I try to do my part for the environment and in particular ESG (environmental, social and governance). It is also a part of my role here in BNRG where I head up the ESG Committee. I recently signed up to undertake an 8-week course with Stanford which will support me in my task of creating and ESG strategy for the company.

Over my career I’ve worked in 12 different countries across the world, which involved lots of flying. This required me to live in different places and I hadn’t lived at home for 10 years! This aspect of my career has changed significantly. I now work from home every day, and have no commute seriously cutting down the usage of my car. I’m also not flying regularly which means my carbon footprint is so much smaller.

In my home in Las Vegas we have an extensive solar system. Because of the heat here it makes a massive difference. In the winter we have no electricity bills, and in summer they are significantly less due to the solar system (running the air conditioning causes the cost!).

Through my travels and work with BNRG I have realised that the US is definitely behind in terms of solar and not nearly as active in terms of climate action as many other places across the world including Europe.

Residential solar systems are also not nearly as common in the States. For example when I deal with our team in Australia I realise nearly everyone has solar installed in their homes. Here we’re not nearly as progressed and don’t have the battery back-up storage required to run these systems efficiently. Within my neighbourhood here there are only about 10 out 500 homes with a solar system. It’s very expensive to run here and we don’t have solutions like Leeson’s solar tiles…if we had a solution like that it would most definitely help to speed things up.

Another big area of concern is the level of usage of cars in the US. So many use their cars regularly and it sadly is having a negative impact on the climate and environment around us.

When it comes to further climate action within BNRG we’ve completed some recent beach clean ups in Maine and Dublin. Also through my work on the ESG Committee we are working on a school resource focusing on climate change and climate actions which we’re hoping the teachers can use in the classroom. This is a really exciting initiative and one that will help to positively inform and influence the thinking and behaviour of the next generations.

Patrick Donlon

Ireland & UK Project Manager

The climate, environment and nature were always an integral part of my life growing up. I learned from my Mother from a young age about recycling, and the right way to recycle. We often wrongly assume that most people know how to recycle but sadly many are misinformed and doing it wrong, meaning much of the recyclable waste can’t be recycled.

On a more personal level I always try to shop within Ireland, and don’t like buying products outside of Ireland if I can avoid it. I try to buy seasonal products and reduce food waste. My partner and I would sit down and plan out our meals each week to avoid any waste. I’m conscious about fast fashion, it’s a big thing I try to keep in mind and buy quality clothing which will last. And I always try to take public transport as much as I can.

I was fortunate to study environmental biology, and later renewable energy and environmental finance, in UCD which led me to my career here in BNRG. Within the company and in particular my role I am very conscious of biodiversity on sites, and there is a real focus to make sure we’re not doing bad by trying to do good. Meaning in developing the projects and sites we do our best to remain aware and conscious of the existing biodiversity on site and not to negatively affect this. I’m also part of the ESG Committee and there is a large push companywide to reduce our carbon footprint.

It is a work in progress and something I would like to see brought in as part of BNRG’s climate action plan is avoiding certain foods or products (e.g., those where they destroy forests etc. for food, or where food is imported from faraway places), and perhaps doing a list of items to avoid and helping to inform those around us.
Overall, though, we are making a difference to the climate here by installing solar systems.

Not every can’t do the larger things, some of these are unattainable, however the small steps and goals are important and can most definitely make a difference.

Richard Jackson

IRL Asset Manager

When it comes to tackling the issue of climate change and in particular taking positive climate action there are lots of options available! Within BNRG and my role we are working hard to minimise our flight travel. I myself am based in Ireland but most of my work is in the States. We are implementing more remote access for example aiming to only visit sites once a year and outside of that using drones to take images and video and to collect data so that we don’t have to visit the site too regularly, and ultimately reducing transportation both domestically and internationally.

On the sites themselves, for the sites in Maine, we are increasing sheep grazing as opposed to using diesel or petrol mowers, and encouraging a reduction in the use of pesticides. The local grazer has also noted that the amount of water the sheep are drinking has reduced as they are taking shelter from the sun underneath the solar panels, and this has also helped prevent an erosion issue.

We are also looking at more ways to cultivate a more natural and biodiverse site, for example in Irish sites we are considering the introduction of a ‘no mow’ policy. Solar panels ironically don’t like the heat so they perform better with grass surroundings, they also get more power from the sun bounce back on particular flowers like daisies and buttercups so we are trying to incorporate more of these.

With projects like these we aim to have the least negative impact on the environment around us. There are naturally concerns about erosion therefore we look for low growth crops (i.e. anything below 2 feet) and are testing the introduction of a blueberry farm in Maine to tackle this. We also consider the seasons and identify the best season to undertake the work and maintenance, again to make it more efficient and to negate any negative impact. Finally we’re also looking at possibly introducing bikes for site visits and onsite work to reduce the number of car journeys we need to take.

Zebulon Wallace

US Programme Manager

I grew up camping and am the son of a botanist and biologist, so I had an early exposure to the climate and environment. Over the years living in LA, I spent a lot of time out hiking by myself, there are a lot of trails and public spaces in LA. While out hiking noticed a lot of trash. I started picking up trash here and there, and it kind of became a thing! I began turning it into a type of scavenger hunt and I started to always bring a bag and litter picker with me on my hikes. It essentially became a part of I was. On one of my hikes on the Mount Zion trail I found a tyre. I picked it up and carried it for 7 miles!

My passion developed and I started sharing my stories through social media setting up a Facebook and Instagram account called xxx. In 2019 myself and my wife hiked 1,500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (from Mexico to Canada) and all throughout our journey we picked up trash.
After collecting the garbage and returning home I place all the items on the lawn (always wearing gloves for safety when sorting the trash), pick out the recyclable pieces and recycle what we can (after cleaning it first of course!).

In terms of my career and climate action, one of the reasons I ended up in solar was because it was to do with the environment. We’re very uniquely positioned to be good stewards of the environment. As part 
of development team, we’re responsible for the way we’re doing things and are always looking at ways to improve this, and to have a better impact. We are currently looking at introducing voltaic systems to 
the process.

Within the projects themselves are working on bringing in habitat islands, where you set aside a piece of land to give plants and animals a space. We also use wildlife friendly fencing and are hoping to start introducing beehives onsite.

Our work also impacts the wider community, and a large part of our role is to liaise and work with partners, stakeholders and communities to identify and implement the best and most positive action for the environment and climate around us.