In the largest election in history, India has voted into office a new leader: Narendra Modi. A popular spokesperson for reform, Modi hopes to bring solar power to every home by 2019. It is a massive undertaking, but even with the fifth largest coal reserves, India suffers from severe electricity shortages. Another factor to consider, alongside rolling blackouts, is the climbing rates of pollution that poses both an environmental risk and a severe health hazard. As the fourth largest energy consumer in the world, India has much to gain in promoting energy efficiency by limiting fossil fuel consumption while going green with energy efficient alternatives.
But it is not just India that should endeavor to invest more in energy efficiency. Preserving the environment and promoting green energy alternatives can only benefit the world. Renewable energy can have a massive impact on the welfare of the world in regard to both alleviating poverty and improving health. By ensuring a healthy environment, a healthy economy can be established.
In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that air pollution—resulting in lung disease and/or cancer—has killed approximately 7 million people globally. There are multiple instances in which fossil fuels and non-renewable energies have resulted in both environmental catastrophe and health hazards. Whether it’s the Exxon-Valdez spill, the BP oil spill or the coal chemical spill in West Virginia, the evidence has become indisputable that continued reliance on potentially lethal compounds is not a safe investment for the future. With the cost of health care continuing to rise, limiting the health hazard of fossil fuels can be greatly beneficial to the wallets of many around the world.
Economically, the world has much to gain from preserving the environment by both establishing renewable energy and promoting greater energy efficiency and conservation. One of the most alarming instances of environmental decline impacting the economy has been in worldwide fisheries. In Chile, commercial fisheries are in a state of severe decline as fisherman yields have decreased by millions of tons since the mid-90’s. In Canada, collapsing sardine fisheries have resulted in $32 million in losses. Millions of jobs around the world rely wholly on the safety and stability of the environment from which the world reaps so many rewards, and yet its continued existence hangs in the balance.
– Michael Giacoumopoulos