2019 Fellow

Arturo Massol-Deyá

Arturo A. Massol-Deyá is the executive director of Casa Pueblo de Adjuntas, a community-based group with 38 years of services in natural resources conservation, education, and sustainable development. A graduate of the public school system (1986) and the University of Puerto Rico (1990), he obtained his doctoral degree from the Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University in 1994. Since then he has been a faculty member at the Department of Biology of the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus where he established the Tropical Microbial Ecology Lab. He has been a principal investigator of projects on microbial ecology with emphasis on biological processes aimed at restoring contaminated environments. He study microbial diversity associated to plant communities and in extreme contaminated sites like at the former US Navy bombing range in Vieques with the use of molecular microbial ecology tools. After the direct impact of Hurricane Maria over Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, Dr. Massol-Deyá, together with Casa Pueblo, has led a community aid response that aims to change the energy landscape of a country dependent on fossil fuels to one based on renewable energy sources.

Project Description

The energy insurrection #50%conSOL will drive a bottom up process towards energy self- sufficiency. Our approach will be centered in residential consumption, which represents 37% of the total energy demand in Puerto Rico. Energy independence will empower people and communities. In Adjuntas, the transformation of our energy landscape will consolidate with a stronger program to educate all sectors of the municipality with a robust public awareness and participation. In this process, we will develop a comprehensive community network at the local level with families, local businessman and general public with emphasis on those who benefited from or participated in Casa Pueblo’s energy humanitarian response after hurricane María. Adjuntas will become a model and a reference community to build social power island-wide towards a fossil-fuel free future. Our social equation of change Science + Culture + Community will be implemented during the process. Interactions with nation-wide network and groups in the United States will be further promoted to broaden advocacy toward the Insurrección Energética. Casa Pueblo’s cinema, the Radio Station, Bosque Escuela, our social media networks and our visitor center represent key infrastructure to build stronger educational and participatory initiatives. We will produce a video to teach people how to assess energy needs and to preliminary design an autonomous solar energy system, as well as radio clips for Radio Casa Pueblo and other community radio stations such as Radio Vieques. Our Bosque Escuela will play a key role in education for renewable energy options for public and private schools of the region.