You’re reading this piece because you have access to electricity that powers your computer, your tablet or your smart phone. We often take for granted our daily reliance on energy for the convenience and speed of modern life.
For 1.3 billion people, however, electricity is a distant dream. After the sun goes down, working and cooking, getting medical attention and doing school work — even moving around safely — becomes more difficult or even impossible.
Access to energy, specifically electricity, has catapulted humanity into an unprecedented age of scientific and technological discovery. It’s clear that development is not possible without energy, but more urgently, sustainable development is not possible without sustainable energy.
Sustainability is the word on everyone’s lips as world leaders and decision-makers head to Rio de Janeiro next week for the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development. Marking the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit, Rio+20 is our chance to take the environmental, health, gender, energy and development issues we’ve been talking about for decades and commit to achieving them in a sustainable manner.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon believes that energy is the golden thread that weaves all of the world’s development issues together, and we couldn’t agree more. That’s why when he asked Linkin Park to commit to helping achieve his Sustainable Energy for All initiative, we didn’t think twice.
One of the initiative’s main objectives is universal access to modern energy services by 2030.
All kinds of sustainable technologies exist today that can make this ambitious goal an achievable goal. Solar lighting, cleaner cookstoves and fuels – even soccer balls that can store and generate electricity from the friction of being kicked around.
One solution-oriented partnership we’re excited to begin is a solar-power distribution program for health clinics in Uganda with the organization We Care Solar – because too many people can’t safely deliver babies or receive medical attention when the sun goes down. Just listen to Dr. Jacques Sebisaho describe what the Solar Suitcase from We Care Solar did to mitigate a cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo:
“I knew that light would make a difference, he said, “but I had no idea the magnitude of that difference. We have lost so many lives in the past, not just mothers and babies, but patients with cholera and other illnesses, simply because we couldn’t see. But now this has changed. We are witnessing what light can do in a community, how it can save lives in places where night can mean death for those in need of emergency care.”
For the first time, none of the 122 patients suffering from the disease died. That’s progress. That’s results. That’s life. All from a device as big as your backpack that harnesses the renewable and clean energy of the sun.
So the solutions are here, but what about the political and financial will to implement them?
Help influence the decision-makers in Rio next week. Watch Imani’s story, sign the pledge in support of sustainable energy for all, and then join us June 19 for a live chat and exclusive musical performance at Rio+Social, a global in-person and online conversation.
We ask you, our friends and our fans, to join us and lend your voice to this cause. In order to build the future we want, we all need to speak up and get involved.
Tell us what you think! Comment below or tweet to @devex with #RioPlusSolutions, and catch up on other Rio+Solutions content here or on Facebook.