Why ending energy poverty is crucial to ending overall poverty
Ramesh Chaurasia-Why ending energy poverty is crucial to ending overall poverty
Today, energy has so many applications in our everyday life that it becomes impossible for us to imagine our lives without it. It seems unimaginable even when I think about the time when we used to live without electricity. Energy gives us access to electricity without which our activities would come to a halt and also enables us to cook our food. Since we are the privileged section of society that has access to energy all the time, we often take it for granted. Despite the developments in various spheres, there is still a large section of underprivileged people for whom access to electricity and clean fuel for cooking is still a dream.
As the former Vice President of the World Bank Rachel Kyte highlighted the significance of electricity by saying, “It is energy that lights the lamp that lets you do your homework, that keeps the heat on in a hospital, that lights the small businesses where most people work. Without energy, there is no economic growth, there is no dynamism, and there is no opportunity."
Electricity: a source of light in our dark lives
Access to reliable and affordable energy services is one of the basic amenities of life. It helps us to lead affordable lives and encourages our overall development. The absence of electricity hampers the daily activities of people and forces them to live a life of poverty filled with darkness and devoid of light. Not only that, energy is vital for the provision of social services like healthcare and education, especially with the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic, the entire education sector has shifted to online mode thus making education even more inaccessible for people who do not have access to electricity. Moreover, in rural areas, the healthcare sector also fails to deliver quality services without a reliable source of electricity. Energy is also extremely crucial for economic activities, starting from agricultural activities to industrial ones. It is clearly visible how the opportunities that an individual gets and their development comes to a standstill because of the absence of energy services.
The dangers that arise with the usage of polluting fuels
In the earlier days, I have seen the usage of wood, crop waste, and dried dung as fuels to cook food. But even today, there are households that burn these solid fuels for cooking. The burning of these fuels is highly dangerous as they release smoke and other toxic chemicals which are hazardous for human life. This is one of the major causes of indoor or household air pollution and the victims of this pollution are mostly women and children. This is a very serious issue as this indoor pollution subjects them to respiratory diseases and other health risks which are often fatal.
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The need to act immediately
I staunchly believe that countering energy poverty is fundamental and requires urgency because it not just deprives people of the basic necessities of life but also traps them in darkness and prevents them from moving forward with the rest of the world. Without achieving sustainable goal 7 that aims at providing everyone with clean and affordable energy, it is not possible for us to eliminate poverty as energy poverty pushes people into the vicious cycle of poverty.
In my opinion, while the electrification of households, healthcare centers, hospitals, and schools is of immense importance, it is equally important that steps are continuously being taken to promote the use of renewable energy technologies by making them available at affordable prices. The schemes that are there to provide LPG cylinders to households at affordable prices should be implemented until there is not a single household that uses traditional energy sources for cooking. For this, it is also significant that we make people aware of these schemes so that they can avail themselves and educate them about the harmful effects of solid fuels.
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A superior and highly experienced entrepreneur in the field of business for quite a long time now. Also, a philanthropist, author and public speaker who believes in working towards the overall well being and betterment of the society as a whole.