Renewable Energy

A Message for 2022 Graduates

Shared Future Has Turn into Humanity’s Biggest Alternative

This graduation speech was given by Phil Coupe to the graduating class of Baxter Academy in Portland, Maine, on June 4th, 2022. It has been edited for size and readability.

Co-Founder Phil Coupe Provides the Graduation Speech at Baxter Academy

Love is the only most necessary phrase it’s essential to know in life, so I needed to say it first. College students and lecturers, congratulations on all you’ve completed. We will’t thanks educators sufficient for nurturing society’s most valuable useful resource, which is you college students.

Moreover the truth that we love you, do you college students know why you’re so necessary? It’s as a result of you’ll quickly be carrying our hopes and desires for the higher future we all know is feasible, together with your individual concepts for the sort of world through which you need to reside.

Wow, that’s quite a bit so that you can carry, however we all know how robust you’re since you’ve already survived the worst pandemic in 100 years whereas doing no matter it took to graduate highschool. It’s laborious, proper? You’ve skilled Covid-19, you’ve seen the horrors of conflict in Ukraine and unrelenting gun violence in America. You’ve witnessed starvation, homelessness, and hopelessness, identical to generations of scholars that got here earlier than you.

Trendy society could be overwhelming, however it’s additionally true that all of us has superpowers to assist us cope and guarantee we will carry no matter weight may fall upon our shoulders as we be taught and develop, as we fall down and get again up, as we battle injustice, as we love each other and ourselves. Life is usually actually laborious, and it hurts typically, however that is what makes us stronger, and helps us uncover our skill to assist ourselves and finally, others. And that’s actually the best alternative in life: to nurture oneself such that we have now capability to assist others, all in pursuit of a greater self and society.

Serving to Others

Congratulations to all 2022 graduates!

In my life, the phrases of the well-known speaker Zig Zigler have been unfailingly true: You Can Get The whole lot You Need in Life if You Assist Different Individuals Get What They Need.

Right here’s an instance of what Zig meant. I needed to get into the photo voltaic trade however had no related expertise. So as an alternative of blindly beginning an organization, or making use of for a job with no {qualifications}, I made a decision to assist faculties get solar energy as a solution to train college students about clear vitality and to economize for the colleges. As soon as I began making an attempt to assist faculties get photo voltaic, I all of the sudden discovered myself constructing constructive connections with photo voltaic firms and college superintendents. Inside a yr I used to be in discussions with a pair engineers who finally turned my fellow co-founders of ReVision Vitality.

This begs two necessary questions: what would you like in life? And what sort of world do you need to reside in? With love, tenacity and a willingness to assist others, we have now to struggle for a life value residing, and a world through which to do it. At at this time’s scale of 8 billion folks globally, civilization has essentially develop into a group sport whereby everybody must contribute to the continual enchancment of our ourselves and people round us.

By no means Give Up, By no means Stop

Philip Coupe, Travis Mills, and Dmitri Coupe final weekend on the Miles for Mills Race.

The Japanese have a time period for this concept of all the time making an attempt to make issues higher. The phrase is Kaizen, which accurately means “steady enchancment.” Let me let you know about Workers Sargent Travis Mills. He was on patrol throughout his third tour of obligation in Afghanistan when he set his backpack down on a land mine that blew off most of his legs and arms. When the excruciating ache from nerve injury and unimaginable surgical procedures turned insufferable, Travis determined he was By no means Going to Give Up and By no means Stop as a result of he didn’t need his beloved toddler daughter to lose her dad.

At present Travis walks and drives a automotive with two carbon fiber legs, one prosthetic arm and one shoulder stump. I do know this as a result of I used to be very nervous when he initially advised me to hop into the passenger seat of his truck – however he was an amazing driver. As a substitute of self-pitying the worst wounds ever survived by a soldier, Travis has chosen to Kaizen what’s left of his bodily physique, and to ship Kaizen alternatives for others with excessive challenges. As a substitute of deciding he was crippled for all times, he received busy making a retreat for wounded warriors in Augusta known as the Travis Mills Basis that’s serving to lots of of veterans discover peace and therapeutic.

Ernest Shackleton and crew. Credit score: Library of Congress.

Right here’s another instance, which occurred within the South Atlantic Ocean in 1917 when the British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton sailed his ship Endurance to Antarctica in an try to be the primary to traverse the south pole. Quickly after arriving on the coast of Antarctica, the Endurance and its 27 sailors turned hopelessly caught in pack ice. Thought-about one of many biggest human survival tales of all time, Shackleton and some of his males sailed a small lifeboat 800 grueling miles throughout the roughest seas on the planet to get again to their authentic launch level, however their skiff was tossed onto the rocks on the unsuitable facet of an island and so they needed to scale a ten,000-foot mountain vary in winter to get assist. Then they sailed 800 miles again to rescue the remainder of their group. By no means Give Up, By no means Stop.

Heroes Like You

I’m telling you about folks like Travis Mills and Ernest Shackleton as a result of they’re identical to you and me aside from the truth that when offered with colossal challenges, they rose to the event with unusual grace and fortitude. These are the sorts of heroes that give me energy once I’m struggling to cope with the challenges of operating a enterprise that’s making an attempt resolve one in all humanity’s largest issues.

Confronting the unfavorable impression of 8 billion folks burning fossil fuels in earth’s closed environment seems like a David vs. Goliath battle on daily basis.

However once I’m feeling overwhelmed or depressed by the sheer magnitude of all of it, I draw immense energy and rejuvenation from folks like Travis Mills and Ernest Shackleton, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jacinda Ardern, the extraordinary lady who turned prime minister of New Zealand at age 37.

The widespread thread shared by these folks is their humanity, and the way nicely they understood the project about doing no matter it takes to assist others whereas making the world a greater place. No, we will’t all be superheroes like these people, however we will resolve for ourselves what it’s we wish on this world, and if we’re sensible we’ll assist a bunch of different folks get what they need.

And if we have now to choose one single factor to deal with with the identical relentlessness with which Martin Luther King Jr. pursued a greater future for his folks and generations to return, that one factor is LOVE.

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