“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” This Greek proverb was a phrase that kept coming to mind as the students and I worked together to install a small solar panel at h.e.a.r.t. last spring. This panel was like a tree. This singular panel is just the beginning of something greater to come.

Dave Taylor, an expert on all things “solar,” comes each semester to teach the h.e.a.r.t. students about harnessing the energy of the sun for a clean and renewable source of power. I had the privilege of being able to join in on the experience in May.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

Working with my hands alongside the students that day sparked a thought in me of what the future holds. We sweat as we dug the holes for posts that would eventually hold up the solar panel and dug a trench 18 inches deep to lay pipes for the wiring. We installed the solar panel and connected it to a reader. Although this unit didn’t produce enough energy on it’s own to run devices, it was the forerunner for the panel we installed this fall. The new panel is running a chlorination system donated to h.e.a.r.t. by New Life International. The solar panel is charging two six-volt, deep-cycle batteries that run the chlorination system.

All of these steps are ones that h.e.a.r.t. is taking on the path of sustainability. We are presently seeking grants and financial gifts to begin the journey to electrical self-reliance. As a training institute whose goal is sustainability, what better way to teach it than by living it out in every possible facet, including the way we use energy, electricity, and the type of invisible footprints we leave by our daily life usage. I, for one, cannot wait to see h.e.a.r.t. leading the way for sustainability in ways most don’t know or have forgotten exist.

Our spring students invested in a project that would not benefit their lives in the village. They planted a tree whose shade they knew they would never sit in. Just one more step in making h.e.a.r.t. an even greater place.

Post by Michael McDaniel