The Back Porch Energy Initiative is a non profit founded in May of 2007 by six college graduates who wanted to take action on critical local issues in the American southeast. The American southeast has the highest per capita energy consumption values in the country, spending only one fifth the national averages on energy programming and resources. The founders of Back Porch call the southeast home, and we decided to do something about these discouraging figures. In November, we are headed on a ten month tour of the American Southeast on a bus fueled by waste vegetable oil. We seek to empower under-served communities to take action on local, regional, and national environmental issues.
In each community we aim to address the issue of excess energy consumption and environmental degradation in three major ways. Our main goal is to foster an increased awareness of energy conservation and green thinking through free educational programs offered to the community. We will achieve this through visiting three prominent community member's homes offering these households our greening services. In these homes we will install energy efficient light bulbs, provide better insulation, and offer numerous other house greening techniques. We will then use the visibility of these community members to offer our educational programming with their social group (for example if we green a home of a pastor we will do educational programming with their congregation). Lastly, Back Porch aims to give communities the tools to effectively address local environmental issues into the future. Our environmental science and policy degrees combined with our campaign training through other environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network have provided Back Porch with a strong background in these pressing issues. We will be conducting campaign training at middle and high schools, use our musical talents to communicate our message at local venues, and attend all community events in order to be a presence about town. Through our educational programming we will have instilled a long lasting dedication to environmental thinking in these communities.
While we are in Virginia, we will be visiting a particularly distressed community, Petersburg and we want to green more than just three prominent community member's homes. We want to reach out to a larger portion of the population and green homes of those in particular need. About 16.7% of families and 19.6% of the Petersburg population live below the poverty line, including 27.1% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over. We want to offer our environmental services to this community to help families save money and go green at the same time!