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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 Champions

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

What have others done?

Climate Champions

Meet some of our climate champions 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 which can cause us to feel overwhelmed.  There is so much to do, and sadly so much bad already done; how do we begin to combat this and reverse it? I’ve grappled with this question over the years, and with the feeling that so much damage has already been caused. It is hard to stave off a sense of desperation or despair that can creep in. Compounding these feelings is the reality that the communities least responsible are increasingly the most harmed. I think it’s important to start by highlighting that the term “carbon footprint” was a marketing tool popularised by oil companies to shift blame onto individuals, a distraction mechanism that was hugely successful. This feeling of guilt that “I” have caused this environmental emergency is simply not representative of how we got to where we are. To combat and reverse the damage is to hold companies with high environmental impact activities accountable, and to quell the personal guilt and fear that your lifestyle has catastrophic implications for the planet.

At the same time, this is a balancing act. I’m reminded that there are small steps that can be taken, those that we’ve heard about from a young age to the tune of “reduce, reuse, recycle.” When you bring a reusable bag to go grocery shopping or opt for the vegetarian option at dinner, these decisions may feel insignificant but together inform a mindset of climate activism. Buying eco-friendly products and joining a composting program are steps that I’ve personally taken while also recognising that these actions are not going to change the world. I’ve learned that my relationship with climate action is an imperfect work in progress.

As humans, we do indeed impact the environment by consuming and producing in ways that contribute to the rise of carbon emissions. And as a result, I feel a sense of responsibility that constantly motivates me, despite the disparity of blame that lies with individuals compared to corporations. Part of the reason I chose this career, and to work at a company like BNRG, was my desire to approach this complex problem with the potential for making a real impact.

While there are concerning threats to our environment, there are also huge opportunities to innovate and modernise. Our work focuses on this effort by bringing sustainable and resilient infrastructure to our grid. My role is focused on this goal, and has allowed me to feel a sense of impact beyond turning off the lights when I leave the room. However, this combination and connection between small individual steps and large-scale professional efforts drives me daily.

In Maine we are privileged to access the natural landscapes that illustrate the intrinsic value of sitting by the ocean or hiking to the top of a mountain. On the other hand, environmental crises are made tangible for our communities. The sea level is rising, and this will impact coastal communities in my home state. This reality reinvigorates my commitment to taking steps both big and small; it ensures that I cling to the belief that these are steps worth taking, and that I reject the spiralling thought that we may, in fact, be doomed. Living in a place like Maine, I feel compelled to hold out hope.

The Climate Action Venn Diagram is a tool that I use to stay motivated and to avoid the common and recurring pitfalls we all experience. Working on the development side of the house here at BNRG, I have the chance to consciously consider the environment, as well as examine my impact as a neighbour and a conscious community member. I feel fortunate for this unique opportunity to align and combine my professional goals with my personal passions and meet the climate challenges of our time.


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. Mainly, 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 an 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 action 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 have always been integral parts of my life growing up. From a young age, I learned about recycling and the correct way to recycle. We often assume that most people know how to recycle, but sadly, many are misinformed and are doing it incorrectly, resulting in a significant amount of recyclable waste that cannot be processed.

On a more personal level, I always try to shop locally and prefer not to purchase products from outside of Ireland whenever possible. I make an effort to buy seasonal products and reduce food waste. My partner and I plan our meals each week to minimise waste. I am conscious of the impact of fast fashion and make a point to buy quality clothing that will last. Additionally, I try to utilise public transportation as much as I can.

I was fortunate to study Environmental Biology and later Renewable Energy and Environmental Finance at UCD, which led me to my current career at BNRG. Within the company and my specific role, I prioritise biodiversity on our sites, ensuring that our actions do not harm the environment while striving to do good. We make a conscious effort to consider existing biodiversity on the sites during project development, aiming to avoid negative impacts. I am also part of the ESG Committee, and there is a strong company-wide focus on reducing our carbon footprint.

As part of BNRG’s climate action plan, I believe it is important to avoid certain foods or products that contribute to deforestation or involve long-distance transportation. It would be beneficial to create a list of items to avoid and actively educate those around us. Although it is a work in progress, we are currently making a positive impact on the climate through the installation of solar systems. Not everyone can accomplish large-scale changes, as some are unattainable, but small steps and goals are equally important and can certainly 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, as well as shelter during rainy periods. The nature of grazing firms up grass and helps improve resilience against erosion.

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 on selected areas. Solar panels ironically don’t like the heat so they perform better with healthy 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 these seeds into our grass mix.

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 have developed 2 sites with blueberry at the cover crop in Maine which helps achieve our low growth and erosion concerns. 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 drone the box solution for site visits and onsite work to aid in 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 I 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 who 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 TrashQuesting.  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 the 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 we 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.