Save our planet
Save our planet by reducing usage of fossil fuels.
We love our planet. Really. It is beautiful, inspiring and frankly, our only option at this point. So why would we let greed and ignorance destroy it if we can prevent that?
If hundreds of millions of families can stop using 4 liters (over a gallon) of kerosene per month as well as bags of firewood by switching to solar-powered LED lights, it will not only benefit themselves. Those billions of litres of fossil fuel saved by using solar energy will lower CO2 outputs, lessen pollution, decrease demand for new sources of fossil fuel which will cost nature and in the end, ourselves.
To willingly destroy nature so people can suffocate next to an expensive and toxic kerosene light is madness, as there are better, cheaper and healthier alternatives available, right here and right now.
For humanity the magic CO2 number is 350
“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm.”
That will be a hard task, but not impossible. We need to stop taking carbon out of the ground and putting it into the air. Above all, that means we need to stop burning so much coal—and start using solar and wind energy and other such sources of renewable energy –while ensuring the Global South a fair chance to develop.
If we do, then the earth’s soils and forests will slowly cycle some of that extra carbon out of the atmosphere, and eventually CO2 concentrations will return to a safe level. By decreasing use of other fossil fuels, and improving agricultural and forestry practices around the world, scientists believe we could get back below 350 by mid-century. But the longer we remain in the danger zone—above 350—the more likely that we will see disastrous and irreversible climate impacts.
(Recent comments of James Hansen of NASA, the first scientist to warn about global warming more than two decades ago)
It is not just the melting glaciers of Kilimanjaro or the rising sea levels that are going to bother us directly.
It is also the spread of malaria mosquitoes and other diseases and disruption of natural sequences like pollination.
Even if you do not care about the planet, you will likely care about your own future. And even if that does not bother you, think about your wallet as limited resources equal high prices.
Fossil fuels cause pollution
Even those that think that all scientists in the world (at least the ones not paid by the oil-industry) are wrong, will still agree that pollution is a bad thing.
Anyone who thinks that cars and kerosene lamps do not pollute, should try to sit right behind an idling car, to study near the limited light of a kerosene lamp or try to see the mountains around their city on a smog day.
We are running out of the usual suspects
The Valdez oil spill, the destruction of Nigerian nature, BP’s Gulf of Mexico disasters are all well known. Next up are the Arctic Refuge National Park, tar sands, Patagonia and other areas of natural beauty. Why are these disasters growing in quantity and intensity while technology to extract them has improved so much?
It is because the ‘easy’ fuels are gone. Now we need to dig and drill deeper, destroy more nature to get to our fossil fuels. And don’t be fooled: we need our limited fossil energy and oil: for medicine, to produce items like the device you are reading this on and even to produce our solar lights! There will be alternatives for most usages, but we must be very careful with the limited resources we have.
Our light doesn’t just reduce the usage of oil/kerosene:
Burning coal is the biggest carbon source worldwide and emissions from that jumped nearly 8% in 2010 (USA today)
Our light is already used to lower electricity bills in Australia,, Argentina and other places in the ‘developed world’, most of which was generated with coal . So its positive influence is spread out far further than the developing countries alone.
Fortunately more countries and people will rise out of poverty, which is a good thing. This will also will mean even more request for and consumption of energy. If we can lower fossil power consumption from those millions of ‘new’ users by having them use solar instead we create a solid base for a cleaner future.
More solar-powered light also means more solar-powered trees
Kitchen fires are not only used for heating and cooking. Just as 99% of the energy for old fashioned light bulbs is turned into heat, a large portion of fire-powered energy is transformed into light.
In many countries kerosene is still much more expensive than firewood and therefore the kitchen fires are often left burning in the evenings to provide some light. Solar-powered lights mean less firewood needed and more trees left standing in places where the deserts are growing.
We will have a separate resources and links section up, but for now, here are some links about the CO2 numbers, thanks for the great website 350.org for making this list and for their great work in general
- A Safe Operating Space for Humanity. Nature 461, 472-475 (24 September 2009) | doi:10.1038/461472a; Published online 23 September 2009
- Hansen, James, et al. Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim? Submitted April 7, 2008. NASA climate scientist James Hansen’s paper about the 350ppm target.
- Hansen, James, et al. Target Atmospheric CO2: Supporting Material. Submitted April 7, 2008.
- The IPCC 4th Assessment Report – link to the latest report by the Nobel-prize winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, supported by the world’s leading climatologists.
- Baer, Paul, Tom Athanasiou and Sivan Kartha. “The Right to Develop in a Climate Constrained World: The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework” – an important policy framework for how to mitigate climate change while ensuring an equitable path to development for the Global South.
- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – link to the official UNFCCC website with information about the UN climate policy process.
- NASA – scientific reports, interactive maps, resources for kids, and more
- RealClimate.org – a blog of climate science, written by climate scientists
- Climate Safety – a very useful new report about current climate science, policy, and solutions
- Pew Center on Climate Change – helpful information about climate science and international policy
- 1 Alleviate poverty Reduce poverty by saving 25% of household costs!
- 2 Health benefits removing toxic and dangerous kerosene from households
- 3 Prevent fire hazards Kerosene lamps are leading cause of house fires
- 4 Enabling education Students can study better & longer, more money for books
- 5 Save our planet Stop global warming, deforestation and pollution
- 6 Increase income Light at night can create additional income streams
- 7 Empowering women LED lights create a brighter future for women and girls
- 8 Empower communities Light generates joint income, offers new possibilities
- 9 Increase safety bringing light in houses and community
- 10 Solar education Teach students and entrepreneurs about solar