Energy: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

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SDG7Is it fair to say that the root of sustainable development is sustainable energy?

Much like the industrial revolution was heavily brought forth by burning coal, the restorative revolution can be fueled by clean and renewable energy.

An electric car is only as good as the energy used to charge it.  If we are charging an electric car with fossil fuel generated power, how much further ahead are we?

This is one of the many questions that come to mind when I think about how our energy system can shift from reliance on fossil fuels.

Alternative Technology

Goal 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals is Affordable and Clean Energy, and while there are only 5 targets that directly relate to this goal – achieving them will make a world of difference globally.

As the technologies quickly advance, alternative sources of energy are more accessible, and can play a big role in expanding infrastructure to remote and under developed regions of the world.  Target 7b highlights the need for sustainable energy services.  This is an area that can benefit from a multi-solving approach to product design, such as what is seen in a product like Island Water Technologies’ REGEN.

When our needs are met with products that are designed with alternative power, it becomes increasingly clear that oil should not equate to energy.  The fact that gas and oil companies are investing in renewable energy is a strong sign that there is an emerging market.

Green Energy Act

This emerging market however does not come without controversy.  In Ontario, the Green Energy Act opened the door to windmills that have been having a negative impact on many local communities.  A short sighted plan rolled out by the Provincial government poses a big risk on a long term goal.

When talking about energy, we don’t need to limit the conversation to how we consume it; we can also discuss how we conserve it.  In fact, Goal 7.3 asks for exactly this “By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency”.  Rather than focusing solely on how we can produce green energy, it’s so important to look at how we can save ourselves from the need and dependence on energy.

I look at the way homes are built, cities are structured, industry and businesses are operated, and it’s hard not to see the potential for greater efficiency.

Curve your Consumption

The consumption of energy is just as important to the equation as the production of energy.  Meaning that curving what’s being consumed can be part of the solution.  It’s a matter of how we manage resources, and how resourceful we are willing to be.  It’s as simple as deciding that a reusable water bottle is a positive alternative to consuming out of a disposable plastic bottle on a daily basis.

Like with all of the other goals, there are different ways we can work at satisfying identified targets.  It’s important to remember that small acts will make a difference over time, especially if you can inspire others to walk the talk.

I’d love to hear what you think about this topic & learn about initiatives in your community.  Please feel free to comment below or on Twitter.


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Leah Feor

Leah Feor is the owner of Simply Sustainable, a small business that has evolved from a fair trade mobile shop to a strategic consulting firm serving entrepreneurs with a social or environmental vision. Balancing her clients’ Triple Bottom Line – people, planet, profit – is Leah’s utmost goal, and is supported by her background in accounting and environmental management.

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