Mark Ruffalo on stage with ATL100 honorees

This is a tale of two September Tuesdays in the American South.

On one Tuesday, Atlantans begin the painful task of clean up in the wake of a tropical storm. Scientists tell them the fossil fuels they burn contribute to climate change and the warming seas, which are fueling this year’s brutal hurricane season. People sit in the dark without power, feeling powerless.

The following Tuesday, Atlantans gather to shine a spotlight on local clean energy leaders. Hollywood stars celebrate their efforts to move the city toward 100 percent clean energy, which will cut back on local pollution while curbing climate change, building a healthier city and a stronger economy for all of Atlanta. People sit in theater seats, then stand, cheering, feeling powerful.

In that second Tuesday is a tale of hope — not just for Atlanta, but for all of the Southeast and the nation.

Solutions Project hosted the ATL100 celebration at the city’s Plaza Theater. The kickoff event premiered a video featuring co-founder and actor Mark Ruffalo, who plays the “Incredible Hulk” in the Avengers movies, Chris “Captain America” Evans, and animated super-hero versions of five Atlanta honorees. These heroes are working hard on everything from fighting dirty coal-fired power plants and overpriced nuclear power plans, to documenting how Georgia’s renewable energy industry is already creating good local jobs for all and growing our economy.

Like so much of the Southeast, Atlanta has an advantage in our tremendous potential for solar power. We are well positioned to lead the fight for a clean-energy future that empowers us all. And it’s a model that will resonate with many communities across the Southeast.

We can build up today’s people and economy without jeopardizing future generations. We can craft a future where everyone has access to clean, affordable energy and the opportunities it brings, and can breathe cleaner air in a more stable climate. We can, once again, show the world how real progress is made.

Adapted from original piece in Southeast Energy News