One person can make a difference and this series profiles a leader, advocate, or resident who is dedicated to improving energy efficiency and helping the county realize its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2027 and eliminating GHG emissions by 2035. Find out more about them in their own words.
This installment highlights Shivali Haribhakti, Director for Senior Planet Montgomery.
My Green Montgomery: When did you first become interested in energy and climate change?
Shivali Haribhakti: My parents raised my brother and I to make the most of what we had. We had a strong culture of recycling, reusing, and upcycling. Though I didn’t know it at the time, this attitude was about conserving our earth’s precious resources. I came to appreciate the lesson over time and remain committed to conservation in my daily life.
MGM: What do you find most interesting about energy issues in Montgomery County?
SH: What I find interesting is that the demographic makeup of the County is so diverse and that there is tremendous opportunity to rally around green issues including energy, environment, and resource management.
MGM: If you could be a renewable energy source, which would one would you be?
SH: If I could be any renewable energy source I would be hydropower. As a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, I had the opportunity to tour Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant. It was amazing to understand how waste water is cleaned and recycled. It really showed me the versatility and the magic of H20! Especially when I used it to rid myself of the stinky evidence of the visit!
MGM: How does your day-to-day work impact residents in Montgomery County?
SH: As Director of Senior Planet Montgomery, I am responsible for all of the programs from selecting offerings among our award-winning curriculum, to scheduling the programs and staffing them, to delivering them to the residents of Montgomery County. Our programs are free and we really appreciate the County’s support to make that possible.
MGM: What has been your proudest accomplishment when it comes to energy or water savings?
SH: I am proud that Senior Planet Montgomery is hosting several programs a week this Fall quarter. This year we have hosted many programs virtually, and we did this very quickly in a response to COVID-19. In particular we have offered programs on Energy in English and Spanish. We are excited to bring this topic into the homes in Montgomery County.
MGM: What green projects are you working on now in your home or community?
SH: Senior Planet Montgomery will be offering program series, classes that meet twice a week for 5 weeks, through the calendar year. We are really excited to offer this virtually and look forward to seeing the connections that people make from repeated interaction through attending these programs.
MGM: What’s your favorite way to save energy in your home?
SH: One thing I always do is turn off the lights whenever I leave the room. It is a habit that my parents have instilled in me from a young age. Whenever I visit my parents they instinctively remind me to do this, and it gives me so much nostalgia.
MGM: What’s one thing you’d like to share with your neighbors about energy efficiency?
SH: A few weeks ago, Senior Planet Montgomery hosted a remote program called, “Fall into $aving$, led by Larissa Johnson. She led a jeopardy-esque game about saving money through energy use. In participating I learned that LED lightbulbs are the most efficient and indestructible light bulb – they are made of plastic! Isn’t that neat? I’d like to share with my neighbors the following: please tune in to our 100% free and remote programs by visiting https://seniorplanet.org/locations/montgomery-county/ . You can subscribe to our weekly newsletter on this website too. I hope to see you soon!