Wahleah Johns, Navajo Green Economy Coalition:
Bringing renewable energy to tribal communities, advocating for clean power for ALL
Wahleah Johns is a member of the Navajo (Dine) tribe and the community of Forest Lake atop Black Mesa, Arizona. Wahleah has been advocating for native communities to diversify to renewable energy for the last decade. As tribal member of the Navajo Nation, she's watched resources from tribal homelands provides cheap electricity for California, Nevada, and Arizona, while her people are left to deal with pollution and dwindling water. Basking in over 300 days of sunlight yearly, these lands have the opportunity to generate massive amounts of solar power.
Working with the Black Mesa Water Coalition and Navajo Green Economy Coalition, Wahleah helped win legislative victories protecting groundwater, expanding green jobs, and advancing environmental justice. Vice chair of the Navajo Green Economy Commission, Wahleah develops economic opportunities in clean energy and traditional economic practices on the Navajo reservation.
Wahleah's community education efforts helped establish a Just Transition Fund through the California Public Utilities Commission. This fund resources $4 million to renewable energy development on tribal lands. Wahleah helps bring solar to reservation schools and communities, and is developing a residential solar program for the 50 percent of Navajo Nation residents who don't have access to electricity.
The President's Clean Power Plan is the right step to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. The Clean Power Plan should also address the impacts of pollution on disadvantaged communities to help them build self-sufficiency through the clean energy economy.