Growing the Network

By Erika Barnett:

Earth Week, which took place during April 17-22 this year, provided an ideal opportunity for the Energy Corps members of Missoula to boast of their accomplishments and future ambitions with their host sites through an Earth Week article series featured in both the Missoulian and the Missoula Current. The article series aims to highlight the contributions of Energy Corps in the Missoula community; although we are all part of the same community and have like-minded goals, our host sites are very diverse. With two of us working with the local governments and the others working in specialized organizations and nonprofits, the scope of our accomplishments is far-reaching.

We are fortunate that Missoula has the largest number of Energy Corps members in Montana, with there being five of us, which is also the most that Missoula has ever seen. Our numbers have permitted for numerous opportunities for collaboration across host sites. For instance, Sean and Alexa often work in partnership in identifying Zero-Waste related goals in Missoula and how to achieve them, while Hailey and I worked together the past few weeks to ensure that Climate Smart Missoula’s Open Air Art show this past Earth Day was a success.

Preparing for the Open Air Art Show was fairly simple once Hailey and I located the necessary materials with the help of Alexa and the Home ReSource team. We decided to reuse the door panels from last year’s Open Air Art Show, which meant cleaning and repainting them. During the Earth Day event at Free Cycles this past Saturday, we had many people (mostly children!) participate in painting our door panels, offering their sentiments of sustainability, environmental stewardship, and general earth-related imagery (i.e. lots of flowers and butterfliesJ).

Collaboration of the Energy Corps members in Missoula has allowed for some significant occasions in education, community outreach, and promotion of sustainable lifestyles. We even have weekly meetings to discuss our projects, challenges, and goals in order to offer our support and assistance.  Cultivating meaningful relationships throughout the greater Missoula community has generated a network of those passionate about leading sustainable lifestyles, energy conservation, and environmental stewardship as methods of addressing climate change. We, the Energy Corps members (as well as all AmeriCorps members across the country), prove that local community action can make a profound impact. I find myself empowered by the words of the great anthropologist Margaret Mead, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

See our articles in the Missoulian here:


And in the Missoula Current here:

Erika Barnett graduated from Appalachian State University in 2015 where she earned a degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Sustainable Development. Erika has researched sustainability ideologies and anthropological theories, and extensively studied anthropogenic causes of climate change, consequences of conventional lifestyles, environmental mitigation techniques, renewable energy, as well as education and outreach as a method of mitigation through awareness. Erika will be developing Missoula County’s first greenhouse gas emissions inventory and represent the county in community-based climate action initiatives, identifying potential opportunities for county action.

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