The Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in 2009.Photo: NREL Solar DecathlonThe National Mall has long served as the nation's front yard, a place where citizens can gather and display what's important to them -- whether it's a protest to end wars, a rally to restore sanity, or even a celebration of mid-Atlantic maritime communities. Every other year since 2002, the National Mall has played host to the Solar Decathlon, a building competition sponsored by the Department of Energy that puts 20 solar-powered homes designed by college students from around the globe on display for a two week long design …
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Ben Wessel is a 21-year old student at Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT. Growing up in Washington, D.C., he has always been fascinated by politics, and feels that strong legislation and real advocacy efforts from the grassroots, particularly young people, will be a main factor in solving the climate crisis. His passion for activism, policy, and adventure has taken him from a WWF-sponsored "Voyage for the Future" in the Norwegian Arctic to the UN Climate Change Negotiations in Poznan, Poland and Copenhagen to the halls of Congress and Capitol Hill with 1Sky and Powershift '07 '09. Most recently, Ben helped lead the "Race to Replace Vermont Yankee," a youth clean energy voter campaign in Vermont that helped support clean energy candidates for Governor and other elected positions in Vermont. When not geeking out the latest CBO scoring of climate legislation, he is likely to be found snowboarding, cooking, or rooting for the Washington Redskins.