Building a Better Future for Wildlife and Ourselves

White House Event Honors Community College Leaders, Businesses, Entrepreneurs

If I had any doubts about Americans’ ability to come together and literally build a better future for people and wildlife, an inspiring event last week helped put those doubts to rest. At this “Champions of Change” event, the White House honored individuals who are inventing, manufacturing, repairing and selling the next generation of transportation and energy technologies in America today.

This group of large and small business people, union leaders, educators, and entrepreneurs were passionate about making things – and they’re making the innovative – and wildlife friendly – products of today and tomorrow in America.

NWF’s Greenforce Initiative – a partnership with Jobs for the Future and community colleges across the nation – was ably represented at the event by “Champion” Rich Cregar, an instructor at Wake Technical Community College in North Carolina who is leading an effort to develop and implement a training program for sustainable transportation technologies across all of the state’s community colleges.

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Also attending were two of his students Sam Johnson and Devon Fowler, who are training to service and repair the complex, electronically controlled, alternative, hybrid and electrically fueled cars and trucks that are increasingly showing up on driveways and highways across America. These same vehicles will bring families and businesses big savings at the pump, improve our energy security, and reduce the pollution and risky energy projects that threaten wildlife.



Cregar, Fowler, and Johnson give some of their impressions of the event in the videos above, and you can see the rest of the “Champions” in Thursday’s event here.

So why does NWF care about making the next generation of cars and trucks?

As NWF’s vehicles policy expert people often ask me why a wildlife organization has a “car guy” (or girl in my case). The answer is straightforward. Not only is NWF committed to addressing the threat to America’s wildlife, lands and waters posed by climate change and reliance on the dirtiest fuels, but NWF also has a commitment to engaging young people to be the environmental stewards, scientists, and technologists of the future. Thursday’s event helps demonstrate that clean transportation is a winner on both these fronts.

Cleaner and more efficient cars, trucks and transportation infrastructure are amongst the most powerful tools we have to cut the carbon pollution that causes climate change and to cut oil use enough to make the worst dirty oil projects unnecessary.

And building the next generation of clean cars, trucks and infrastructure is an essential part of economic recovery now, and of ensuring fulfilling career paths for young people who will enter the workforce over the months and decades to come … and who want to be part sustaining our economy and our environment together.

Also check out:

  • Rich Cregar’s own blog on the Champions of Change site
  • A Community College Times article with a little more background Cregar with links to North Carolina community college sustainable technology training efforts
  • A glimpse of the training provided for alternative fuel (in this case biofuel) technicians