What is sustainability?
To me sustainability is simply about leaving the planet in a fit state for habitation by future generations.
When I was asked to be involved in delivering a ‘Sustainability’ workshop for the Waves of Change Forum, I had to narrow the subject down, and I chose ‘Clean Energy’ as the title. It seems to me that creating energy from renewable sources is the basic step we have to take to stop pollution and excess carbon in the atmosphere. I’m going to assume you agree there is an issue with ‘Climate Change’ before I go further…
The havoc that man is wreaking on the planet is becoming more and more obvious every day. In our company we’ve been involved in sustainable building and energy saving measures to make houses more energy efficient and comfortable to live in. However, as time goes on it becomes clear that the task involved to save 80% of carbon by 2050 is going to take a lot more than better insulation in old building stock.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that here in the U.K. we should commit to changing to 100% energy from renewable sources as soon as it is practicable. Germany and Denmark are already going down this path, and if these countries have the sense and ability to commit to this goal, why not the U.K.?
Not long ago I read a book by Professor Keith Barnham called ‘The Burning Answer’ (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/22/burning-answer-solar-revolution-keith-barnham-review ) . I was amazed at the powerful case made for 100% renewable energy. Not only is it feasible, it is also not excessively difficult and far cheaper than investing in nuclear energy.
So, what are we waiting for? Politicians to act? Many individuals and community groups are busy working on projects to deliver solar and wind power. In Germany research was done to find a mix of renewables that would ‘keep the lights on’. The conclusion Barnham reaches is that we can achieve the goal with 80% energy from wind and sun, some storage facilities along with gas (made from anaerobic digestion of human, animal and crop waste which can be used to generate electricity as a back-up for wind and sun).
As an addendum, I must mention electric vehicles. Tesla have made an electric car with a range of 250 miles, and a domestic storage unit which allows the householder to use the electricity generated during the day by PV panels to be used at night. What’s not to like about powering your car with electricity created from the energy of the sun?
There is a lot of negativity in society concerning renewable energy. For me, if the will is there, I’m sure this is something we can achieve. Check out the hashtag #go100re for more on going 100% renewable.