Caring for Our Common Home

The Driving Forces Behind Greenpower

Grassroots Solutions to the Global Climate Crisis

Greenpower is a movement to give communities local control over their energy production and lead the transition from dirty fossil fuels — like oil and coal — to locally produced green energy from renewable sources like solar and wind. We help people go from apathetic resignation to energized action and live with compassionate respect for our common home. We see this movement as humanity’s single most important social and spiritual imperative.

Our Core Campaigns

A year ago, Greenpower had a vision to get every community in the Monterey Bay Area to adopt a bold Climate Action Plan (CAP). Now, in 2020, we have an unprecedented opportunity to organize a Carbon-Free Central Coast. To maximize the benefits of clean energy delivered through Monterey Bay Community Power, Greenpower works with activists and elected representatives to inspire cities and counties to enact forward-thinking solutions. CAPs must include carbon-neutrality goals, should incentivize electric vehicles and local clean energy infrastructure, and can include elements such as agricultural carbon sequestration and electrification of new buildings. Community-driven participation can ensure that CAPs are widely embraced and inclusive of equity and environmental justice.

Getting to carbon neutrality means everyone must play a part, including businesses and organizations, like churches, schools, and healthcare facilities. That's why we partner with them to help them make that happen. Our nonprofit status, expertise, and existing partnerships allow us to serve as dedicated project managers who assess each situation and tailor individual solutions, making their transition to clean energy easy and cost-effective. Working with Greenpower allows our partners to maximize benefits not just for themselves, but also for the Earth we share.

A Romero Institute Initiative

For over 30 years the Romero Institute has combined public education, grassroots organizing, and high-impact legal services to create social change. Our name honors Archbishop Óscar Romero of El Salvador. Like him, we seek justice for the most marginalized and voiceless among us. We take action where our objectives have the potential for large-scale impact, and we embrace new ways of thinking that promote a consciousness of unity and cooperation.

In 2016, inspired by Pope Francis’ call to “care for our common home,” and by the climate crisis our planet faces, the Romero Institute launched Greenpower. Our movement has expanded across California, where we're hard at work putting together an alliance of organizations and jurisdictions to create a carbon-free Central Coast.

The Greenpower Team

Sara Nelson

Romero Institute Executive Director

Sara has co-lead the Romero Institute since 1992, and has over forty years of nonprofit leadership, grassroots organizing, national education, and fundraising experience. She was the director of the Karen Silkwood Fund, executive director and co-founder of the Christic Institute, and the executive director of the State of the World Forum in San Francisco. She was the national labor chair for the National Organization for Women and a member of the California Commission on the Status of Women. She holds a BA in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Daniel Sheehan

Romero Institute Chief Counsel and President

Daniel has co-lead the Romero Institute since 1992. A Harvard-trained attorney, his work for the last forty years has placed him at the center of some of the most important legal cases of our time. His lawsuits have involved the Watergate and Iran-Contra Scandals, the Pentagon Papers, and the killing of Karen Silkwood. He is former chief counsel of the Christic Institute and the Office of Social Ministries for the Jesuit Order.

Benjamin Eichert

Greenpower Director

Benjamin's passion for social justice organizing began over twenty years ago. Right after high school, he and two friends bought an old van and drove from Albuquerque to Nicaragua volunteering in rural communities. Following that trip, he co-founded Big Noise Films and directed the award-winning documentary, "Zapatista." He has worked as an organizer and contract negotiator with the New York State Nurses Association and was the field director for US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s successful reelection campaign in 2012. Benjamin studied political science at Brown University.

Jon Conway, PhD

Senior Research Analyst

Jon has served as Greenpower’s Director of Science and Research since April, 2016. He is an environmental scientist and educator with experience in climatology, Earth science, botany, pedology, marine biology, toxicology, pollution studies, and nanotechnology. He earned his B.S. in Ecology & Evolution from UC Santa Barbara in 2011, and his Ph.D. in Environmental Science & Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara in 2015.

Leslie Austin

Clean Energy Organizer

Making a difference in an interconnected world matters to Leslie. Leveraging her professional experience in publishing and marketing—coupled with her passions for collaboration and sustainability—Leslie works with public institutions, nonprofits, businesses, and communities to conceive and implement environmental initiatives. She aims to inspire equitable action while fostering the adoption of sustainability policies and practices that effectively address our most pressing environmental challenges.

Chris Sheretz


Chris manages Romero’s websites, database, and audio/video library. He holds a BA in astrophysics, and a minor in electronic music from the UC, Santa Cruz.

Kelsey Hill

Social Media Specialist, Internship Program Director

Kelsey facilitates social media for the Romero Institute's various projects and provides assistance in written communication. A recent alumna from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in History, she was previously the editor for the illustration and opinion desks at the UCSC campus newspaper.

Jesse Phelps

Press Relations

Jesse contributes written content and guides our content strategy. An award-winning journalist, PR pro, and business development specialist, he has decades of experience writing, editing, and developing relationships between people and organizations. He loves working with people of heart and intelligence on meaningful projects. Jesse holds a BA in film from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Daniel Nelson

Program Director, Lakota People's Law Project

Daniel oversees all Romero Institute departments and helps decide strategic direction for the organization. He has over 15 years of experience as a deputy director, organizer, researcher, and writer. He holds a BA in political theory from Harvard College and an MA in social science from the University of Chicago.

Join The Greenpower Movement

Get involved in your community's Climate Action Planning!