Welcome to carbonstories.org. On this site you can learn about Michael Johnson-Chase and follow my blogs. With some exceptions, this site follows "theme based" cycling tours focusing on social and climate related issues. Slowed down observations of the world over days, weeks and months at 10 to 15 miles an hour can reveal a depth and quality of understanding about our environment often missed by faster modes of travel.

Celebrating GRID Alternatives

Celebrating GRID Alternatives

All photos in this post were taken at GRID Alternatives solar installations near the communities referenced, or at GRID offices. 

GRID Alternatives has touched hundreds of communities and thousands of individuals throughout the United States, Central America, and even the Himalayas. It is likely that only a few lucky people have glimpsed first hand the remarkable breadth and reach of the organization. For that reason and much more, I am very grateful to have cycled almost 6000 miles this past summer to the following US cities and regions where GRID has a presence. I visited San Diego, San Bernardino and the Inland Valley, Greater Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo and the Central Coast, Fresno and the Central Valley, Chico and the North Valley, the Bay Area including Clear Lake and Berkeley; Denver, Colorado, Washington, DC and the Mid-Atlantic region, and New York City and the tri-state area of New Jersey and Connecticut. 

Everywhere I went, I was warmly embraced by GRID staff, whether my task was helping to install a solar array on a home, pulling permits at a local Department of Building, measuring roofs during an initial site visit, or conducting door-to-door strategic outreach. I have many great memories. For example, I  learned first-hand how GRID Alternative’s engaging job training process helped a young man move away from gang related activity to become a highly regarded SolarCorps Project Fellow in the Los Angeles office. I participated in a great conversation about how communities can be engaged to think about climate resilience as they come together around multi-family solar opportunities in Fresno. I spent a day in Denver with 50 college students from a fantastic Bike and Build team that was also cycling across the country in support of affordable housing, and I was invited by GRID staff to participate in amazing lunch conversations where the conversation about climate change and environmental justice was very inspiring. 

Sometimes I was asked how the GRID offices varied from each other. They do - because people are people - so every office has its specific personality. Yet, GRID staffs are amazing for the ways they all share similar core values, such as safety first, unflagging passion and enthusiasm for GRID’s mission and vision and a deep commitment to a cause greater than oneself.

As great as my memories are, there are still many regions that GRID serves I did not get to - including other cities and tribal reservations in the US, and communities Nicaragua and Nepal. So, guess what? I’m thinking about cycling more for GRID Alternatives, and I’m beginning to plan my next trip. So look for more to come! 

Southern Tier, Posts 1-8

Southern Tier, Posts 1-8

GRID Tour Finale, NYC to DC

GRID Tour Finale, NYC to DC