Politics, Places, and Faces of Green Energy
Since its inception in 1970, Earth Day has increased environmental awareness and activism across the globe.
The largest mass mobilization in world history occurred on April 22nd 2020, when over one hundred million people around the world observed the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Solutions to climate matters are complicated, tainted with partisanship and moreover, difficult; their impact may not be shared equally throughout the world.
While some nations have taken a leading and prominent role, others are performing a Merengue of sorts, with steps forward then back, depending on which political party controls the government.
While America plans to become carbon neutral by 2050, such a goal is fast approaching in Costa Rica. The Central American nation currently produces a staggering 95% of its electricity from hydro, geothermal, solar, and wind.
Speaking of wind, in Scotland, wind farms are quickly providing that country with a vast majority of their energy needs.
Along with Norway, and Kenya, Costa Rica is also a global leader in low impact ecotourism.
While global superpowers including America, China, Germany, and Japan are increasing investments in renewables, and shifting away from fossil fuels; an under-reported and often untold story is taking shape in parts of the world one would not routinely associate with either green energy or environmental activism.
Morocco, Bangladesh and Turkey are emerging in both relevance and prominence, when discussing a clean energy future.
The aforementioned countries have staked a claim as global leaders in various clean energy sectors and technologies.
Recently completing the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world, the North African nation of Morocco is poised to become a leader in renewable power. Historically, Morocco generated nearly all of its energy needs form fossil fuels. The project, unlike typical photovoltaic cells, uses mirrors to concentrate and focus sunlight, heating liquid to power a turbine. The Noor complex as it’s called, Arabic for “light”, will position Morocco as a “solar superpower” when fully operational.
The largest off-grid solar program can’t be found in The United States, China, or Europe for that matter; this designation belongs to Bangladesh. A combination of partnerships and incentives have enabled 20 million Bangladeshis to access clean, renewable electricity.
Equally eyeing a renewable energy future, Turkey set an ambitious goal back in 2017. Their goal is to produce nearly 70 percent of power needs from renewable sources by 2030. The country connecting two continents has invested heavily in hydro, wind and geothermal plants; renewable energy resources have reached nearly a 50% share of total installed capacity.
Nations, and more importantly, those within them, creating a renewable energy future should be elevated and exemplified.
While environmental consciousness continues to increase with each passing year, so too does our collective impact on the planet.
We’re All in this Together
Globally, humanity faces three critical issues, climate change, water security, and displacement. Climate change will contribute to both water insecurity as well as creation of climate refugees, further exacerbating those displaced by man-made conflicts.
Weather, water, and war have impacted, or will impact the lives of billions.
Though some will continue to question climate change; pollution from fossil fuel emissions, sea level rise, and drought are measurable and undeniable.
Even prior to the current pandemic, surgical masks became an all too common accessory in many Asian countries due to poor air quality. Island and coastal nations have implemented action plans for eminent sea levels rise. In a growing list of countries, farmers and residents are forced to deal with water shortages and rationing.
When ExxonMobil, one of the largest fossil fuel companies in the world, not only acknowledges the reality of climate change, but internal papers reveal they understood the science behind it as early as 1977; politicians still claiming otherwise are simply lying to themselves and the public at large.
Upon further deliberation, denial morphs into anger, hopefully on a path towards acceptance. Still, some will accept climate change, but maintain human activity is not a primary cause. Man made environmental disasters, specifically in extraction of fossil fuels, are visible and indisputable. Oil spills, gas leaks and fracking have a direct impact on air and/or water quality.
In some areas, stewardship over the planet remains sadly lacking.
Collectively committing to, and investing in clean energy as a national policy is not simply good for the planet; it’s a health, national and global security matter.
May we all contribute to preservation, conservation, and environmentalism; and make every day, Earth Day.