What Does It Mean To Be a Renewable Energy Advocate?
As an environmentalist, the expectation is that you should support judicious social, economic, and political actions, movements, or policies geared towards the protection of the environment. Renewable energy (RE) activism is one of those just environmentally friendly actions you can take.
A few decades ago, being an environmentalist might have been straightforward — eco-conservations, animal protection, local community development, etc. But with recent events and more awareness, trends shift, and more layers of complexities emerge, things have changed.
For instance, when you consider the times and environmental actions of Jane Goodall, Wangari Maathai, Max Nicholson, etc., you’d be inclined to acknowledge that while such forms of advocacy are still in play, environmental advocacy has morphed to envelope new meanings. For most millennials, the light on environmentalism often spots two subsets — climate change and renewable energy advocacy.
Sure, both forms of advocacy enmesh and bear the intricacies of each other, making individuals identify as climate and renewable energy activists. Daresay, renewable energy advocacy takes form under climate justice. And pursuing interests as a renewable advocate props the goals of climate activism.
The Age of Renewable Energy and Renewable Energy Advocates
As a Nigerian born in the late 80s and 90s, you probably learned about renewable energy at some point in your Primary Science classes. You recited the types and the differences between renewable energy and nonrenewable energy at the top of your lungs. Ah, exciting times.
But then, that was it. Depending on the path you took in secondary school, you never really had any reason to pay attention to renewable energy again until adulthood. Today, renewable energy and climate change are trending buzzwords in our locality and you are picking up interest in the subject matter again. However, renewable energy projection has been a long time coming.
Many activists are behind the scenes and at the forefront in senate buildings and at panels pushing for the shift towards renewable energy, which translates to significantly lower carbon emissions, a cleaner atmosphere, reduced long-term cost, improved livelihood, and minimized slope towards outrightly drastic climate change.
If you followed up on events at COP26, you may have caught on the signals by many country leaders, agencies, and political actors to ensure a certain level of renewable energy implementations in their areas of control. Most individuals who are passionate about environmental sustainability are seeing more reasons to put their full weight behind the movement and become fully-fledged renewable energy advocates.
Maybe you are one of such individuals, and that’s why you are on this page. Well, let’s get at it then!
What does it mean to be a renewable energy advocate?
Should you cut off your power access from the national grid and damn traditional power sources, instantly? No, that’d be laughable. Unless you don’t mind living in the dark and don’t have devices that need to be powered. You may choose to take that route if you can afford to rely solely on renewable energy sources for power — which could be pricey.
Otherwise, you should start with “hybrid electricity”; powering the things you can with portable renewable energy devices or mini stations, and the rest with conventional power sources. But that’s just one personal step towards the RE movement.
Below are two broad aspects you can focus your attention on and solidify your position as a renewable energy advocate.
Understand renewable energy
For most folks, the understanding of renewable energy stops at solar energy. But that’s not all there is to renewable energy and you have to understand the full extent of what you are fighting for.
Here are renewable energy sources you can explore:
- Solar power. The conversion of sunlight into electrical energy using mirrors or photovoltaic panels. First, it was a befuddling concept by Edmond Becquerel, later clarified by Charles Fritts, and finally industrialized by Bell Labs.
- Wind Turbines. Humans have always used wind force to power machines in mills, farms, boats, etc. The first attempt at using wind turbines for electrical energy was championed by Prof. James Blyth in 1887. In 1888, this mechanism was also erected in Ohio, U.S, by Charles Brush who used it to power his mansion.
- Hydroelectric power. Although hydroelectricity powers most of the world’s energy, it’s easy to forget that it is also renewable energy. It is also easy to scale. Hydropower is a clean energy source usually involving the use of water force to propel and power machines that generate electricity.
- Biomass. Organic (plant or animal-based) materials are converted into renewable liquid or gases, to provide electricity. Biomass energy generation and experimentations sprung up at a point where oil-based energy sources were dwindling for a bit.
More so, go beyond the commonly available online information to understand the technicalities behind the shift to renewable energy. Apart from power generation, are there other applications of renewable energy? What are they? Apart from reduced or zero carbon emissions, what other advantages does renewable energy have over nonrenewable energy sources?
It is cute fantasizing and theorizing how better the climate and the world at large could be when renewable energy rollouts surpass nonrenewable energy use by far. But you know what is better? Taking actions!
Interestingly, you don’t have to sweat it out or break your back to be a true renewable energy advocate. You should not be deterred if your immediate locality does not create room for RE advocacy due to the lack of local organizations operating in that line. Make attempts to create one, or search for and join RE movements online. Then take out time to engage in their offline and online activities when you can.
From the comfort of your home, you can:
- Join relevant climate and renewable energy advocate organizations and movements.
- Attend webinars, courses, panels, and meetings that enrich your knowledge of renewable energy.
- Sign up for newsletters and sign petitions. Signing petitions have gone a long way in influencing lots of social changes we have today, including the current renewable energy buzz. Use newsletters to learn more about RE and petitions addressing RE issues locally and globally — and sign them!
- Go all out on social media. Build followership on your accounts, preach renewable energy, build more followership, preach more renewable energy. Bear in mind to share accurate information.
- Engage in reasonable online and offline debates, and if you’re ever in an environment that allows for interaction with state decision/policymakers, make RE one of your talking points.
- Before you put on your petrol-powered generator, ask yourself, “Do I need to put this on now? Or can I wait out for a few hours for the national grid to restore power?” Save your neighbors the fumes and the noise.
If you’re just a renewable energy trend follower, these seemingly very simple steps can shoot you up the ladder to become an enlightened and passionate RE advocate.
Author: Alokwem Vianney