WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

On Solar Power, Two D.C. Teens Don't Take No For An Answer

Play associated audio
Diego Arene-Morley and Walter Lynn have been promoting solar power in Mount Pleasant since they were 12 years old. They are about to start their senior year in high school.
Anya Schoolman
Diego Arene-Morley and Walter Lynn have been promoting solar power in Mount Pleasant since they were 12 years old. They are about to start their senior year in high school.

It began five years ago, when two best friends started worrying about the health impacts of pollution. At the time, they were 12.

"Half a thousand kids die every year because they have asthma attacks. Kids actually lose their lives because of how we produce energy," says Diego Arene-Morley.

So Diego and his friend Walter Lynn looked for ways to promote cleaner energy. First they tried energy-efficient light bulbs.

"We bought $3,000 worth of light bulbs wholesale and sold them for the same amount of money we bought them for," Walter says.

But the light bulb business was tough to sustain. So the boys started encouraging their Mount Pleasant neighbors to go solar.

"They contributed in really real ways, whether it was by inspiring people, distributing flyers, or putting together graphs, or analyzing information," says Walter's mother, Anya Schoolman.

She says the adolescents' energy propelled the project.

"In Mount Pleasant, every single house has two flights of steps. I would have given up at the very first half block," she says. "But I had two strong 12-year-old boys going up and down," she says.

Plus with two idealistic teenagers watching, the grownups felt they had to stick with it: "They can't see us fail, they can't see us give up," Schoolman says.

And they didn't. These days, the Mount Pleasant Solar Cooperative includes more than 350 members. And the city has become friendlier to solar power, with new rebates and incentives.

Diego lobbied hard for the most recent bill, the Distributed Generation Amendment Act, which regulates solar credits, or SRECS, produced by people who have solar panels.

"The bill forced local utilities to buy local SRECS that were generated in District boundaries, and it makes it that utilities had to buy more solar power as part of the green power they already have to buy," he says.

Diego admits he's missed school once or twice to testify at council hearings, or participate in protests, but he says it's worth it.

It's more engaging than doing just some of the more routine things of a teenager, just sleeping all day," he says.

NPR

Peruvians Love Their Chicha Street Art. The Government ... Not So Much

Walk down a street in Peru and you'll likely see an example of the glow-in-the-dark posters and murals. Lots of people love them. But the upper crust — and the government — aren't impressed.
NPR

Tea-Infused Sweets: Chocolate + Jasmine Tea Is A Match Made In Heaven

Smoky and floral brews can provide a kick of flavor to desserts, especially when blended with chocolate. Pastry chef Naomi Gallego shows us a few tricks for surprising the palate with tea.
WAMU 88.5

America's First Ladies

They walk a tricky line: closest adviser to the President of the United States and hostess in chief. A new book examines the evolution of the role of first lady of the United States.

WAMU 88.5

E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Last week, the D.C. Council voted to designate e-cigarettes and "similar vapor products containing nicotine" as tobacco products. That means that their sales tax will jump from the regular 5.75% sales tax to the 70% tax that's tacked onto sales of products like cigarettes and cigars. We explore what this means for the evolving public health debate surrounding e-cigarettes.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.