Solar Energy in Rural Africa (extra credit)

I found an interesting article from CNN on a new plan for solar energy in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the article, 68% of the population do not have access to electricity. The new plan includes a solar panel installed on the roof and a lithium ion battery. This provides electricity 24/7 and the article made very good points of how having light at night kids will be able to study, and phones will work all day for business men and women, and farmers will be able to better protect their animals.

The costs range from $300-$400, but customers can pay the first 10% upfront and then make payments of $7 a month. After three years, they own it and no longer have to pay. Some of their packages also include a tv and a radio. I find this interesting because I don’t think it is necessary to supply the tv or radio when trying to save electricity and be resourceful. But I also think that it is very exciting for them to have access to tv and power since they are not used to as we are in the United States. It really is a privilege to live in America.

Solar energy is a great alternative to kerosene burning which impacts their health and pollutes the air. The company has a goal of providing clean energy to two million people by the year 2020. They are backed by one of the largest solar energy providers in the United States, SolarCity, as well as Africa’s largest private firm, Helios. I believe this will help them in being able to be more successful and allow both countries to work together. They currently supply power to 125,000 households and most sales are made door to door.

I thought this was interesting since we have learned in class about the different types of clean, renewable energy. Seeing that things are being done around the world even for less developed countries is very hopeful in helping the world as a whole and the planet we share life on. For more information visit the link below.



Current Events: Climate Change and Trump

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend any of the events throughout the semester so I am choosing to write about the current situation on climate change with our new president. This course has exposed each of us to our impact on the carbon footprint. I found it very interesting to take the quiz and find out how much of an impact my life has on the carbon footprint and the ways in which I can change it to make my number lower.

In a recent article published in The Guardian, “What businesses want Trump to know about climate change,” several companies voiced their reasons why they want Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement. Some of these companies included New Belgium Brewing, Staples, General Mills, Monsanto, and several others. It is interesting when taking into the account of the carbon footprint to consider the way that businesses affect the not just the economy but climate change as well. New Belgium Brewing pointed out the threat of climate change to their entire industry because they are brewers and depend on agriculture. Even Monsanto understands the threat of climate change on the crops and the carbon emitted from the soil affecting our planet.

Another company, Staples, is not a company that I would have thought of when considering climate change. I loved learning that the company set a goal in 2010 to reduce their carbon emissions halfway by 2020 and they are already 50% of the way there. The director of sustainable products and services, Jake Swenson, gave the example of the way suppliers, landowners, and products will be affected by climate change because the forests could have an increased risk of fires, droughts and insects due to the rising temperatures.

General Mills is taking efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions through focusing on healthy soil. The chief of sustainability is ensuring that farmers take efforts in growing clean dirt that does not hold unhealthy gases contributing to climate change. Even companies like Levi, a 160 year old company, depends on the availability of raw materials to keep their business successful.

With reading the support from companies who believe in climate change, it made me realize how much the economy is effected and not just the planet. Similar to what we learned in class about the economy and the environment, I agree that they must work together. These companies understand that to continue creating their products they must have good resources to do so. If the world is affected by a growing impact on climate change then the companies will not be able to thrive successfully. And when the companies are not doing well, the whole economy starts to decrease and the way we care for our people and the planet will be greatly affected. The companies, the people, and the president or other authoritative positions can each make a big difference with several small steps. Working together is ultimately the way to reduce the carbon footprint of the world. I hope that the support of these companies encourages others to do the same. The link to the article can be found below for those who are interested in reading the full article.