It takes a village to raise a child. But sometimes that child will come back and change the village.

Mika Mashiko was on her own when she started an environmental advocacy group eight months ago in her hometown of Nasu, a small agrarian town of 25,000 people in Tochigi Prefecture.

A plan is underway to install 350,000 square meters of solar panels on a mountainside near her family’s house. Though she was encouraged at first by the seemingly green initiative, Mashiko quickly discovered that the project required clear-cutting a large forested area, and some residents opposed the installation for fear that most of the energy was going to be sold elsewhere and pass over the local economy.