Blog Action Day: energy inequality


October 16th, 2014

Today is Blog Action Day, where thousands of bloggers from around the world use their voice to advocate change. This year’s topic is inequality and if you’ve read my blog you know that I write passionately about my belief that all people should have access to energy (I even went for a week without energy to raise awareness).

I want to start by asking you how many of these you used yesterday:

energy appliance collage

…and how many of these you could cope without…for good?

Now imagine a life without energy, which we rely on to power all this technology.

Energy inequality

More than a century after Edison introduced the first commercially viable incandescent light bulb, 1.3 billion people are still living in darkness, with no access to electricity, and 3 billion still cook over open fires, exposing themselves to toxic smoke that could kill them (it actually kills 4 million people a year – more than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined).

Access to technology, particularly energy, is an inequality that denies millions of people the opportunity to make a better life for themselves.

Energy transforms lives

Electricity enables lighting, radio and TVs, healthier cooking and a clean, reliable water supply. Small businesses flourish because shops can open for longer and families can work in the evening. There are improvements in education and health (refrigeration for vaccines and sterilised equipment) and in food processing and manufacturing. Access to energy can lift people out of poverty.

how energy could be used collage

Energy access is crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and shifting to renewable energy sources is also crucial for tackling climate change, which threatens the Sustainable Development Goals’ success.

When the UN announced its target ‘Energy for All by 2030′, we thought the opportunity for billions of rural people in isolated areas had arrived.

However, progress has been slow and governments and institutions are failing to invest in clean energy access. Meanwhile, mining companies are trying to convince G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane next month that access to coal-fired power is crucial for “empowering” developing countries.

It’s also disappointing that the proposed Sustainable Development Goal for ‘modern energy for all’ is really vague and doesn’t include a sufficiently ambitious or specific target.

It’s time that we called on world leaders need to make a real commitment to tackle poverty and climate change and give everyone access to renewable energy sources.

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