許惠婷翻譯;吳佳靜審校
 
環保人士都知道,綠色能源產業是目前成長最快的產業之一。能源共同體論壇(The Energy Collective)的報告指出,綠能產業在2013年一季之中便創造將近四萬個職缺,這個數字超過了從衰退中煤炭產業消失的工作機會。對我們大部分人而言,這不是什麼新消息;然而,綠色能源正在拓展,並支持那些電力不普及國家中的企業家。
 

「點亮百萬生命計畫」提供每位婦女50盞太陽能提燈。圖片來源:Buksh Foundation
 
巴基斯坦的一個村落裡,一群婦女團結起來用太陽能支持彼此的生計。透過Buksh基金會的「點亮百萬生命計畫(Light a Million Lives)」,每一位婦女可以獲得50盞太陽能提燈,並出租給其他住在沒有電力村落的村民。這些村民用太陽能提燈來延長他們的工作時間,多幾個小時繼續忙於農務,或是縫製衣服以供販售。如此一來,這些社區的收入便能大大提升。
 
這項行動和許多重要議題有關,包括綠色能源、性別平等和經濟發展。當一個國家的女性勞動參與率只有男性的30%,能幫助女性在社會中向上流動十分重要。使用太陽能提燈的同時,也是在支持永續發展,並且提供這些家庭替代能源,讓他們不必再依賴煤油照明。
 
氣候變遷對窮人的衝擊最大,不過太陽能提燈這種綠色科技,可以幫助減輕貧窮並改善性別不平等。綠色科技有不計其數的好處,卻還沒被廣泛地充分使用。如果綠色科技可以創造更多就業機會、支持現有工作,並有潛力減緩貧困與其他社會問題,我們為什麼不盡可能地使用它呢?
 
 
Like good environmental stewards, we all know that the green energy industry is currently one of the fastest growing job industries. The Energy Collective reports that in 2013, the green energy industry created almost 40,000 jobs in just one quarter, surmounting the number of jobs lost in collapsing coal industries. For most of us, this is not new information. However, green energy is now expanding and supplementing entrepreneurs in countries where electricity is not always accessible.
 
In a Pakistani village, a coalition of women have banded together in support of using solar energy to support each other's livelihoods. Through the Light a Million Lives program created by the Buksh Foundation, one woman received 50 solar lanterns to rent to other people in a village with no electricity. The women and men in these villages use the lanterns to increase their working hours, whether that is from continuing farm work for being able to tailor clothing for sale for a couple more hours. Communities are able to increase their income significantly.
 
This initiative hits a multitude of important topics including green energy, gender equality, and economic development. In a country where the female to male labor force ratio is about 30 percent, it is important to help these women gain upward mobility in their society. Additionally, by using solar lanterns, we are supporting sustainable growth and providing an alternative form of energy so these families will not have to rely on kerosene to light their homes.
 
Climate change has the biggest impact on those living in poverty, but green technology like solar lamps can help alleviate poverty and reduce gender inequality.  Green technology has a plethora of benefits and is being widely underused. If green technology has the capacity to create new jobs, support existing jobs, and potentially alleviate poverty and other social issues- why aren't we implementing it everywhere that we can?
 
(Earth Day Network - Maurita Obermiller, Intern)