Chris Lunghino: A Role Model for Climate Activism
In my opinion, Chris is a role model. She has empowered thousands to not only become more sustainable but in many cases to be advocates for sustainability going forward. She has been successful, in part, because she brings people together around common goals and helps to form a greater sense of community.
In 2010, while living in California, she started a non-profit called Community Sustainability USA with the mission of creating a culture committed to sustainability. The organization found great success in its “My Actions Count” program, which helped to drive behavior change among people in school districts, government, and even businesses. She believes their evidence-based strategy was a big part of their success. It focused on accountability, bonding, fun, and competitions. Their message was positive so people felt good about what they were doing and, as a result, spread it to others.
After moving to Tennessee, Chris worked for the Sierra Club on the Beyond Coal campaign. She built coalitions, held monthly meetings, and put on public visibility events that garnered media attention. Perhaps most importantly, she gave hope and specific actions to people who previously felt there was nothing they could do to make a difference. She has also challenged the powers that be in the energy industry and is currently finishing up research at Vanderbilt that will help drive demand for large-scale renewable energy throughout the Southeast. Next month, Chris will start a new position, directing policy and communications for Silicon Ranch, a utility-scale solar developer.
When asked, “Why do you do what you do?” she laughed and said, “This is going to sound really funny, but I love everybody and everything in our world so I want to do everything that I can to help it be healthy.”
If she could put a message on a billboard, it’d read: “We are all one. Act with love for social, economic, and eco-justice.”
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