For National Clean Energy Week, there is no shortage of stories I could tell you, about new breakthroughs in clean energy technology (https://theconversation.com/these-3-energy-storage-technologies-can-help-solve-the-challenge-of-moving-to-100-renewable-electricity-161564).
I’ve already written about how “Conservatives for Clean Energy” is making affordable green energy a bipartisan reality. But there’s one more feature about renewable energy that you might want to know about, which focuses on yet another way clean power can appeal to a higher power.
Most of you may not know who Patrick M. Regan is. He’s a brilliant political science professor who focuses on solving international conflicts. He hasn’t just published a bunch of articles and books and received a bunch of grants, but has done everything from the Peace Corps to a Fulbright Scholarship, to work with Mother Theresa in Calcutta. He’s taught in Turkey, Norway and New Zealand, and personally traveled to conflict zones everywhere from Latin America to the Middle East. The guy has served the service, and not just lectured the lecture.
There’s little more he could do to add to his resume, but Regan found a way. With his book The Politics of Global Climate Change (https://www.amazon.com/Politics-Global-Climate-Change/dp/1612057896) several years ago, he focused on why climate change legislation has failed, and how it could be better. “This book articulates a multilevel process that starts with local politics to explain how they can influence international negotiations and why President Obamas efforts in Copenhagen were doomed to fail. Understanding the role of local private interests can help form strategies for overcoming national resistance to climate change legislation.”
But as you’ve seen from my mini-bio of him, Regan has done more than just write and pontificate. In his 60s, he stepped away from his professor position at Notre Dame, and developed a company that would make solar panels for businesses, houses and RVs. It’s called Crossroads Solar, and that name is not an accident (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/former-notre-dame-professor-opens-business-to-provide-solar-panel-jobs-for-ex-inmates/ar-AAOnvjD).
You see, Professor Regan hires former prison inmates, giving them a second chance.
It turns out that this prestigious professor spent a fair amount of time teaching prisoners at the Westville Correctional Facility, with support from Holy Cross College, Notre Dame (via the Moreau College Initiative) and the Department of Corrections.
Regan found that some folks in prisons made some bad choices, and have to spend the rest of their lives paying for them. So why not find a way to give some of them a second chance after their release, after a probationary period? Not only can they find a source of income, get back on track, and even pay into their Health Savings Account. Such a plan should reduce the burden on society (as the company and its employees become taxpayers, not tax burdens), and cut down on the chances of a revolving door of crime.
When I showed this story to liberals and conservatives, they were overjoyed by the story. We already know where liberals stand on green politics. Now, with the Conservatives for Clean Energy in Georgia and other states, finding common ground across party lines (and Georgia is poised to be a leader in solar power), there’s no other reason that entrepreneurs can find ways to save our communities in so many creative ways, even as they continue to save our environment.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia. He can be reached at email@example.com. His Twitter account is JohnTures2.