The need to reduce use of fossil fuel is more urgent than ever. Recent extreme weather events across the globe indicate strongly that the planet is getting too close to many of its boundaries, among them levels of green house gases. This change in weather seems to not only be a constant factor, but something that is picking up speed. Changes in weather patterns, if looked at over several years, are often attributed to be one of the underlying triggers for several of the wars ranging across the world today, including the one in Syria. Migration patterns are heavily influenced by it too. Increasing events of drought and flooding respectively renders millions of households to close to refugee status every year in both Asia and Africa. These households are very vulnerable, with no margin for error or external shock, in societies that are grappling to hold themselves together.
At the same time, through a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, large parts of the world's population is expected to rise from poverty, with an increasing focus on lifting people out of poverty. As part of the pathway they are likely to take they are expected to increase their consumption of energy, most of which would be based on fossil fuel. The unsustainable level and type of consumption in developed and richer countries is often replicated in poorer countries, which would put increasing pressure on resources. And this is hard to argue with. Who is anyone to refuse someone else the same basic access as they had themselves? These are habits we must not copy and paste. We must change behaviors, and introduce more sustainable habits.
“GIVEWATTS reduces reliance on fossil fuels in the developing world AND supports long term economic growth and improved standards of living.”
On this journey from poverty to a decent life, by getting poor and rural households started on clean energy, that is not reliant on fossil fuel or actively promotes a lesser use of it, both things can be achieved. Rural African households can draw the benefits from light, mobile charging, and cheap cooking without learning the bad behaviors of other parts of energy rich countries. Children can study more for school and prepare themselves for a future that will continue to change at an increasing pace, and stop cutting down valuable natural resources for basic activities in life.
Jesper Hörnberg, Co- founder of GIVEWATTS.