Please note: After several successful years, the Open Minds blog will be closing. For further details, please visit our FAQ

Currently showing: Sustainable energy > Fossil fuel

18 May 13 07:17

The invisible grip that that black gold has over the world, cannot be summarized in a few words. The fact is, if you remove this very commodity, you can destroy an entire civilization along with the progress made by it.

Necessary evil? Yes it is! No matter it is destroying our environment, but the truth is, humanity on earth couldn't have prospered without it.

Even if we start using alternate sources of energy, it will take at least 100 years to reduce our dependence on the black gold and to move towards a cleaner world moved by cleaner technology.

Let me state that, by saying 100 years, I am being too modest! To move out of this grip of petroleum products, we a concerted effort is not started within next 5 years, I would go from 100 to 150 and onwards.

We need a will! Yes! All the problems have a solution, if only one has a will to solve it! More than the governments, I believe, Multinational organizations like Swiss Re, have to bear the burden of responsibility.

We need to gather a momentum. We need to bring in the information and products to people. The organizations have to use their employees, not only as their ambassadors but activists as well.

I am proud of initiatives Swiss Re offers to its employees around the globe in order to reduce carbon imprints. But I want more! From all the organizations! I want a concerted effort to make the renewable resource products more visible than the cars or bikes running on the road.

Only then we can think of a change in 100 years from now. But we have to begin now!

I believe we can do it! All we need is a will!

Category: Sustainable energy: Fossil fuel


Alicia Montoya - 18 May 2013, 9:05 a.m.

Well, I think it all starts with individuals: We need to demand low carbon solutions from ourselves, our companies AND our governments. And we shouldn't just wait for them to come to us with solutions, we should take action:
- Ask your Mayor and local representatives: yes, you heard me. Write to your local governments, start a facebook page, rally your neighbors, start a petition! Read up on Obama's usage of social media for grass roots campaigning for tips. You need to make it clear to them that your vote depends on them taking action.
- Ask your company: Speak to HR, speak to your boss, speak to your colleagues, request news stories on it from your internal communications colleagues, blog about it if you have a collaboration platform... And speak to your CSR department: You might find there are already initiatives in place you didn't know about! If so, participate and get your colleagues excited about them too!
- But, most of all, ask YOURSELF to be a responsible consumer: It's easy to say that companies and governments should solve the problem but guess what, companies and governments are made up of people like you and me. If we each change and take responsibility and refuse high carbon choices, we will be offered low carbon alternatives. Sometimes that will mean forgoing certain comforts (a car, a plane), sometimes it will mean paying a little extra (choosing the renewable or mixed source energy package from your utility instead of the cheaper entirely fossil fuel one) and of course it means taking the time to learn, engage and be vocal about your preferences.

So I agree, Paritosh. I want that change too so I started doing all of the above years ago. And let's not forget that we've come a really long way in a short space of time. As you say, we can't expect to go 100% renewable overnight given that the population has doubled in the last 50 years and we all want power for electricity, need fuel to fuel our urban lifestyles, etc.... But we can speed up the process enormously by becoming active, caring citizens and catalyzing change with our votes and our dollars.

The 2012 edition of REN21's Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) shows the cumulating effect of steady growth in renewable energy markets, support policies and investment over the past years moving renewable beyond “niche” status. In 2011, renewable sources supplied 16.7 % of global final energy consumption, 118 countries implemented RE targets, investment in renewables increased 17% to a record $257 billion, despite a widening sovereign debt crisis in Europe and rapidly falling prices for renewable power equipment, photovoltaic module prices dropped by 50% and onshore wind turbines by close to 10% bringing to price of the leading renewable power technologies closer to grid parity with fossil fuels such as coal and gas.... If you want to learn more about your country's policies, targets, installed capacity and energy by sources, check this great REN21 interactive map:

Paritosh - 18 May 2013, 9:24 a.m.

Hats off to you!!!

What keeping the initiatives off here is the money associated with it... Lets face it, its still expensive and needs regular maintenance... Huge subsidies is what I am looking at... Initially it is required to acquire a base.... else all of this fails before even beginning...

I am planning to visit my ancestral village sometimes end of this year or beginning of next and will be surveying on how I can bring in regular electricity and internet....

You are right... we have to begin ourselves....

Revolution? Here we come!!

Santosh - 29 Jul 2013, 1:59 p.m.

I agree that there is a limited reserve of "black gold" on the planet and there could be a severe energy crisis but i believe we should be able to see this clearly in the increasing prices of oil which will create incentive for people to venture into the field of renewable energy.
Artificial incentive (need for will !) as has been shown in the case of United States usually leads to failed corporations at the expense of further resources.

If you would like to leave a comment, please, log in.