A Magazine About Food, Art & Exchange In Midtown Kingston, Published By The Hudson Valley Current.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals: Affordable and Clean Energy

In this column, I want to explore how clean energy is the primary measure to solve our climate problems. If we can expand clean energy, such as solar energy, we can take a decisive step in reducing carbon emissions. The truth is that we generate CO2 in so many ways, with our transportation routes, with electricity and air conditioning systems, agriculture, and others. Climate change is compelling us to make changes. We must all have affordable, safe, and sustainable energy and have a vote and a voice in the way these changes are going to be implemented.

At a macro level, the United Nations is supporting initiatives to facilitate access to electricity; and the effort to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions in the most disadvantaged countries is working. In developing regions, more solar panels are seen outside homes and shops than in countries like the United States, with an electricity system already in place. According to statistics compiled by the UN, renewable energy use constitutes only 10 percent in the US, while in Brazil it is 45 percent, and in the Central African Republic, 76 percent.

The USA is one of the countries that contributes the highest amount of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, to the atmosphere. NASA has said that CO2 will remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years and we all know that climate changes continue to gravely affect entire communities and ecosystems.

This UN sustainable goal—the seventh of 17 to be met by 2030—is of great importance for the health of the entire planet. Although we do not see it, our life is becoming more modern or more automated. Factory workers already experience it, when they are replaced by a robot. The documentary American Factory stated that as many as 375 million people worldwide will need to find entirely new types of work by 2030 due to automation. 

In just nine years we will see big changes and we will depend much more on energy sources to make our world work. Neither the Earth nor the most vulnerable communities can withstand so much outrageous pollution from already developed countries. Here in the USA, there is no choice but to stop using electricity and cooling systems that continue to affect climate change and start the sustainable methods that are already available on the market.

Here, I want to weave the social fiber of our lives that is essential for any environmental and positive change to be successful in this country. Last year I wrote down this quote that I see more as a roadmap to follow.

I believe in the honesty of trees. I, like many organizers, have spent a lot of time processing the notion that anything worth its outcome involves everyone’s priorities, desires, visions and perspectives in every phase and around every decision,” said Morgan Mann Wills, a member of a collective of trans and queer boys of color, called bklyn boihood.

“I look at the anatomy of trees as one of nature’s examples of successful organizing that realizes that our power is in our ability to both be fiercely centered and grounded but also infinitely reaching towards our unique sources of energy, light, and growth. Each tree’s elements are reliant on one another but totally unique in form and function. There is no competition or pressure to be the root or the trunk or the buds that bloom. Each tree is a universe, a master delegator, a puzzle and a puzzle piece. They have encouraged me to not worry so much about making everyone ‘feel important’ and to focus on how to create systems and support efforts where everyone is important and clear on how their work is unique, crucial and totally interconnected.”We cannot remain a country that uses only 10 percent renewable energy. We have to raise awareness as a people and lead or support those local initiatives that have a fair and just climate platform. In the survey on climate action that Kingston must take this decade, participants said that reducing CO2 emissions should be the first problem to be solved. Spanish-speaking participation was almost minimal, even when the survey was in Spanish.

I urge you to follow this topic in Spanish: engagekingston.com/climate-action-plan.