Episode #
11
Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Richard Tumushime: A Brighter Future Is Possible

In this Episode
Richard Tumushime
he/him
Head Electrician
Energy Independent Solutions
Matt Scott
he/him
Manager, Storytelling & Engagement
“I’m trying to tell people about renewable energy. There’s a future in it. There’s a future in electrical cars… The future is brighter than what we think it can be.”
In this Episode
Richard Tumushime
he/him
Head Electrician
Energy Independent Solutions
Matt Scott
he/him
Manager, Storytelling & Engagement

Richard’s Story

Richard Tumushime is a light in his community, not only through his profession in solar but also through his personal commitment to creating a meaningful difference for people and the planet. Richard knows solar, and this comes from his extensive experience, starting on the ground with solar panel assembly. With roots in Rwanda, Richard has experienced the power of people coming together in unity and reconciliation to solve critical problems. Through his experiences and perspectives, Richard has a vibrant vision for his community here in Pittsburgh, and he believes in the difference that we can each make by being part of climate solutions that help to repair and heal our world. He says, “There is a future in renewable energy, [and] the future is brighter than what we think it can be.” Richard explains that technology provides opportunity to create a better life for people and the planet, just as coming to America provided opportunity in his own life.

Discussion Questions

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to climate change is talk about it. 

  • Today, electricity production powered by fossil fuels gives rise to 25 percent of heat-trapping emissions globally. Solar power is a climate change solution offering local and accelerated access to affordable, clean electricity. Richard’s story shows aerial footage of Pittsburgh and other communities with rooftop solar on a large scale. Richard is part of the crew installing one of the biggest solar systems in the Pittsburgh area; 7,338 solar panels, or 2.4 megawatts, which is enough to power 420 homes through solar energy production. Have you seen solar panels in your community? What opportunities do you see for your community to invest in solar power? 

  • In Pittsburgh’s history, coal mining and fossil fuel extraction have been major industries for the economy. Richard explains that today some of the ground is crumbling under our feet because of the devastation it has caused. Richard explains that solar is life-giving, it isn’t based on taking, because we can utilize the power of solar to charge our cars, power our lights, and power our whole communities. Solar is the future to a just transition. How can solar create jobs and economic opportunities with a long-term benefit to the health and well-being of our communities?

  • Richard is originally from Rwanda, and he talks about the 1994 Rwandan Genocide of the Tutsi people by Hutu extremists, which was fueled by ethnic hatred. Richard explains that Rwandans came together after the war to unify and reconcile the past, seek justice, heal and repair. Richard says that “without forgiveness, you can’t move forward.” Through his experiences, Richard has seen the power of people coming together to share their stories and to build understanding as an essential step for valuing each other. In what ways should we incorporate messages of repair, healing, and forgiveness when addressing climate change? 

  • Richards's face lights up when he talks about solar, his family, and his commitment to creating a brighter future. In Rwanda, plastic bags have been banned since 2008, and planting trees, among other solutions, are a major effort to preserve the environment. Richard now makes his home in Pittsburgh, and his experiences drive his reasons for leading climate solutions. We all have the potential to be leaders to drive solutions in our communities. What do you value most in your community? How is what you care about connected to climate change? In what ways can you envision leading climate solutions in your community to help create the brighter future that is possible?

Learn More

Learn about the solutions in this story.

Explore Climate Solutions 101, the world's first major educational effort focused solely on solutions. This video series combines Project Drawdown’s trusted resources with the expertise of inspiring voices from around the world: drawdown.org/climate-solutions-101.

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