You can call me an energy technology nerd, but I enjoy assisting clients in the development of energy management solutions that help to reduce our societal carbon footprint. More importantly, I find it intrinsically gratifying to develop successful consumer engagement strategies that incentivize the average citizen to reduce water and energy consumption. After all, we should all be good environment stewards. Yet, I attend energy and water management conferences where I am literally one of few Black people among conferences with attendances that range between 8,000 and 12,000 people. I also struggle to find Hispanics attending such events.
Since environmental sustainability is a global issue, it would stand to reason that initiatives related home energy management, water conservation, or recycling of any kind be targeted in an equitable manner. My point is not to make this a race issue, but to acknowledge “the elephant in the room”. A white upper middle class public utility corporate communications specialist inherently knows how to connect to her suburban neighbors. Tactics such as community forums, high-touch mobile displays, and engaging the church pastor will lead to significant traction in communities of color. Politician running for office have known that for a long time. After all, we are ultimately seeking ways to modify human behavior. The methods and the messenger matter for African-Americans and Hispanics – a lot!
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