Ynni Cymunedol Cymru

Welcome Izzy!

Pride month end 1

I’m Izzy (They/them) and have recently started at Community Energy Wales as the Operations and Development Officer. I’m excited to see where this role takes me. I’m a lover of brightly coloured clothes (and often hair), mixing science and art, and spending time in green spaces, amongst other things. I have a big passion for tackling the climate crisis in a people focused way, with previous work involving climate communication, sustainable fashion, campaigning, and a bit of climate art too.

Where did my Interest in the climate start?

Back in 2014 I started blogging. Following people I admired online, I would see them posting pictures of their outfits and post reviews on their blogs – I decided to follow suit. It was a way to talk about my life, practice photography, and have a bit of a creative outlet. Then in around 2018 I finished my A Levels and was suddenly out in the “real world” and realising how even though I was one individual, I was very much embedded in a global system in which my consumption was having a negative impact on both people and the environment, and that led me into the world of sustainable and ethical fashion.

My blog became a way for me to document my journey and share ideas, recommendations and struggles with other people, eventually evolving into talking more about system change, climate change, workers’ rights, and intersectional approaches to sustainability that led to opportunities to work with UK government, environmental organisations, conscious brands, and much more on lots of projects.

My blog was growing, and I was getting more opportunities to get involved with local and global communities and climate change. During this time, I completed a BSc in Physics with Astrophysics. Most of my peers went to work in academia, banking, and defence, but I was a bit lost with what I should do. I wanted to use my physics degree, but I also really wanted to do work tackling the climate crisis, so I decided an MSc in Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology was the way to go.

Wind turbine

Why community energy?

I don’t know when I first heard of community energy or started doing reading on it, probably while I was applying for MSc courses, but I knew that I wanted to study renewable energy to go into community energy. To me, community energy is an intersectional approach to the environment in action, putting power into the hands of people and giving communities money to help tackle local issues. We currently live in a world where most of the energy system is owned by giant corporations who continue to profit during an energy crisis, making billions while more and more people end up in fuel poverty, with many of these companies having spent decades denying the climate crisis and still trying to push for more oil and gas. Historic and present government inaction also means that while the UK is decarbonising, the pace of change is still very slow.

But it doesn’t have to stay that way, energy is such an important part of life which most people don’t have any control over, community energy is one way of supporting people to take that control back. It’s also a way of saying to industries and government bodies lagging behind “you’re not going to do the work to decarbonise fast enough? Ok we’ll do it ourselves” while keeping any profit from schemes within communities to tackle their own issues, rather than putting more money in the pockets of corporations.

Copy of big pit me

During my MSc I worked on a project with Museum of Wales looking at renewables at Big Pit mining museum, mixing a feasibility study and climate communication, as well as connecting to Welsh heritage and culture. With half of the project focusing on educating the public on renewable technology and reimagining the future of industrial sites in Wales, it was centred tackling climate change in a people focused way.

Now at CEW I’m excited to get stuck into learning more about the amazing work our members are doing, helping to support new and existing projects and to seeing the sector continue to grow and inspire in the future. I’m also continuing my freelance climate communication work alongside this role to hopefully get a bit of the best of both worlds.

If you have a community energy project or idea you would like to discuss then please get in touch with me at izzy@communityenergywales.org.uk

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