When Mariah Lynne was a young mother, she and her husband moved out to rural Freeborn County, Minnesota, to farm his family’s land.
“When I looked out my kitchen window … all you saw was row crop farms,” she says. “You saw corn, soybeans, tractors, agriculture.”
But soon, the view out her window changed. The regional utility built a wind farm, and tall wind turbines appeared on the landscape.
Lynne says she found it exciting, in part because renewable energy can bring money to rural landowners and municipalities.
“I always thought it was so interesting,” she says. “It just sparked something in me. I thought, this is really good for us. This is progress on so many different levels.”
So when another wind farm was proposed for her county, Lynne helped build community support for it.
Because she understood her neighbors’ values and priorities, she was able to communicate in a way that resonated with them.
Now Lynne has expanded her work. Today, she owns a company that promotes renewable energy projects in other rural communities.
“Peer to peer communication, establishing trust, making sure that the information is not only readily available, but that it’s understood … that’s how we can drive things forward,” she says.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media