Why I Do This Work: A Monthly Feature

Why I do this Work:
A monthly feature

We are beginning a regular series called “Why I do this Work” which will feature a new Clean Energy Jobs campaign supporter each month. We want to hear personal stories to gain a clear perspective of why we are all working together to accomplish this goal.
This Week’s Clean Activist: Climate Activist Brooke Harper

“For the past three years I have worked at Chesapeake Climate Action Network fighting for clean energy solutions to address the climate crisis. My main inspiration for doing this work is Mike Tidwell. During my interview he excitedly talked about reaching a 40% renewable energy standard and how this would spur job creation and pave our way to a 100% renewable energy.

I had just come from a labor union in Baltimore where I advocated for BWI food and retail workers to gain a living wage and benefits. On my first legislative visit, I went to pick up an airport worker. She was seven months pregnant and had no food in her house. Before we drove to Annapolis, I took her grocery shopping. I will never forget how she nervously picked out the food, wandering if she was spending too much. I wondered what she would do next after the food ran out. I carried this story and many others with me as I transitioned to working for Chesapeake Climate Action Network/  The hope that we could address climate change and economic injustice by spurring a clean energy jobs revolution is something that energizes me and makes me dedicated to this work. We can uplift communities without poisoning them and offer family sustaining jobs through bold climate legislation.

Two years ago we set out on ambitious campaign to bring Maryland 25% renewable energy and to invest $40 million into workforce development and women and minority owned businesses. After a hard fought 3 year campaign we achieved a 25% renewable energy standard by 2020. Unfortunately the workforce development provision of the legislation was stripped before its final passage. Those provisions to the  legislation would’ve helped folks like the airport worker I picked up that day. It would’ve provided job training and access to a living wage jobs that are sorely needed across our state.

In May, we witnessed history  and the power of labor and environmental advocates joining together when the Public Service Commission approved two offshore wind projects. The manufacturing hub is set to be placed in Sparrows Point which once was the center of Baltimore and home of Bethlehem Steel. Sparrows Point lies in disarray, yet with clean energy policies like the landmark Offshore Wind legislation, it will help to rebuild communities, grow family sustaining jobs, and rebuild lives in communities where poverty is the norm and not the exception.

This year, we will embark on a bold campaign to take Maryland to new heights with a 50% renewable energy standard and a $50 million workforce development program.

With this legislation not only will Maryland produce more wind and solar to power our homes and businesses, yet it will also empower communities — bringing improved environmental and health outcomes and spur job opportunities for families across the state. And that’s why I do this work.”

Thanks for all your hard work Brooke! We loved hearing your perspective.