Rethinking energy during Covid-19 times
At Sparknews, we believe that they can also be great opportunities to adapt and rethink our relations with the world. As a team who wants to ignite new narratives that can accelerate the ecological and social transition, we can’t avoid asking ourselves what will be the shape of the global collective story emerging from the current worldwide sanitary emergency. In this week #SparkMinute, let’s focus on energy with local examples of solidarity, of businesses rethinking their models, and of articles and opinions that can nourish our imagination.
Are we finally adopting an energy sobriety mindset?
These are peculiar times. There are more planes grounded than in the air, cars have deserted the streets in most cities, and many offices and factories are now entirely closed. Which begs the question, are we finally adopting an energy sobriety mindset?
The availability of abundant and cheap energy from fossil fuels has made possible the globalization of our economies, entailed the emergency of large international corporations, and pushed our societies to become increasingly urbanized. But now, the SARS-CoV-2, a tiny little virus, has suddenly arrived to disrupt, like a grain of sand, what was up until now a well oiled machinery.
China, the first country to adopt lockdown measures to contain the outbreak, has seen for instance a 25% fall in carbon emissions over a 4-week period in February, according to Lauri Myllyvirta, analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. Energy demand fell exponentially.
Could this mean that we are witnessing the beginning of a lasting reduction of energy consumption? It’s uncertain. State-led economic measures to tackle the economic fallout caused by the sanitary crisis and oil’s current low prices could encourage us to resume our carbon-intensive lives once the lockdowns are lifted.
In the French news website AOC, philosopher Bruno Latour calls to use this crisis to reflect on our real needs: Which are the activities that have been interrupted due to the health crisis that we shouldn’t restart? And, if we apply this question to our energy issue, should we want to continue taking planes for weekend-long trips? Do we really want to see 57% of our urban floorspace occupied by cars? Or do we want to encourage initiatives that favor a more sober, reasonable and resilient energy model for tomorrow’s world, like the ones below?
When organizations walk the extra mile
A fall in energy use combined with sunny, breezy weather in the United Kingdom has made clean energy cheaper than ever. Octopus Energy, which produces energy from 100% renewable sources, is offering households to earn money while using clean electricity during the day.
Local initiatives against global disorder
#SavePeopleNotPlans: 250 organizations from 25 countries have published an open letter to all the governments of the world. These NGOs call for the financial rescue of the aviation industry to be accompanied by workers protection and conditioned to an alignment with a 1.5°C trajectory. A petition on Change.org.
The student-led movement Turning Green has launched the Turning Green Classroom, a month-length of eco-learning lessons for families with simple daily activities. Anyone can get informed and inspired all throughout April. You can start by following a lesson on Farm to Fork, Carbon Footprintor Climate.
Let’s imagine further
“Coronavirus is catastrophic, but it opens a new path.” In these three letters to the New York Times, readers’ develop how they can imagine a new world emerge from the current crisis and the choices needed to make it happen: “If we invested in renewable energy, electric cars and public transportation, and stopped funding fossil fuels, would we create good jobs and improve health for ourselves and the planet?” Read these letters here.
At Sparknews, are convinced that the coronavirus global outbreak will lead us to draw valuable lessons about our globalized economic system. Whether on matters like education, solidarity, biodiversity or our way of work, it will be up to us to return to the status quo once the health crisis is over, or to reshape everything. Discover our #SparkMinute on education, work, and food.