This week has been a busy week in the world of energy – on the down side the government gave the green light to fracking, Greg Barker rang the death knell for onshore wind (and then tried to backtrack from the headlines), breaking election promises to give hidden subsidies to nuclear energy and figures showed that solar installations have tanked thanks undoubtedly in part to what one can only describe as the solar shambles. On the plus side, a poll showed that the public is in favour of wind and renewables and Ashden announced this year’s finalists giving us a reminder that there are inspirational people and projects out there.
I’d half written a blog post about a couple of the topics above and then realised I was verging on to stuck record syndrome and so as it’s Earth Day, I thought I’d write a post for this. Now readers of this blog will know that I don’t get all the schtick that goes with Climate Week, Earth Hour etc and that I’m afraid that allocating a particular day to something so fundamental seems to permit indifference the rest of the year. Anyway, I’ll make an exception as in a week of furious to-ing and fro-ing in the press, it’s useful to think of the reason why sustainable energy is so fundamental to life as we know it.
This is the NASA photo known as “Earth Rise” taken on the Apollo space missions and largely credited with galvanising the environmental movement in the 1970s. If there is ever a reminder that we are reliant on planet Earth for our survival, then surely this is it. Spinning in the blackness of space, the fertile earth gives life and sustenance to the some 7 billion of our now residing here.
In the heady debates that now surround our energy use – and I am conscious that this could apply to our food, transport, land use, consumption – it’s worth just reminding ourselves why this is an issue. We have only one planet on which to live and therefore in what we do we must remain cognisant of what it is that sustains us. We need to get back to fundamental principles and realise that our guiding principles in determining our energy production and consumption should be the protection of the planet and the wellbeing of those of us who live here. You can favour wind over solar, biomass over hydro, energy efficiency over energy production – but the guiding principle for all must be that however we produce and use energy to meet our needs, we must do so without compromising the planet that sustains us and should do so for generations to come.