As a Vision fellow, I had the great privilege of contributing to the age-old island work of fostering local, sustainable energy systems. From harvesting cordwood and block ice, to plowing with draft horses and shipping freight under sail, the many ways we’ve met our energy needs have been at the core of our island culture for generations. Many of these traditions continue to this day, and to them we have added a new set of technologies that align with the vision of island self-sufficiency. This includes solar panels on rooftops and town dumps, wind turbines standing tall on our farms, and increasing the efficiency of our buildings and vehicles.
The fellowship gave me the opportunity to work with island town governments, in partnership with the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, to conduct an inventory of town energy uses, invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy for town buildings, and update town building codes – thereby deepening our local energy resilience, saving money for town budgets, and demonstrating strong stewardship in the age of climate change.
I am most grateful to the fellowship for supporting my studies in the Master of Public Policy program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Master of Science program in environmental policy and planning at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. These programs and my work experience have centered on climate change and energy policy, and have given me the tools to contribute to a sustainable future for the island community.