Why be conscious of Our Energy Consumption?: A Conversation with the Solar Man of India.

Why be conscious of Our Energy Consumption?: A Conversation with the Solar Man of India.

June 13, 2022, 6:30 PM IST

Earth has enough for everybody’s need but not for anybody’s greed”. Mahatma Gandhi’s words echo a dire sentiment that needs to be revitalized within each individual residing on this earth. Human beings need to be conscious of their consumption and be aware of their duty to increase conservation practices if tomorrow we want a sustainable future. And the biggest factor that this conservation consciousness will require is fulfilling the ideals of energy conservation.

Energy sensitization is an attribute that needs to be embedded in our consciousness on an urgent basis as the world faces an increasing amount of issues and problems related to climate change. The increasing levels of global warming, depleting sources of fossil fuels and increasing energy costs are all having a large detrimental effect on today’s society. Many efforts are being made to try and increase energy efficiency all over the world. But the most fundamental obstacle that needs to be tackled is unnecessary and excessive energy utilisation. Energy awareness is how every single individual can be made conscious of their duty to efficiently use Earth’s resources.  

There is a limited amount of nonrenewable energy sources and it is important to budget these sources or use renewable energy sources to save our planet. For energy is everything and everything is energy. Energy is the foundational force by which the current world economies run and try to produce for everyone’s needs in this world. Historically, the quest for energy by civilizations has been a way of spiritual salvation. In the face of overconsumption, disrespect towards our current pools of resources and lack of practices involving conserving energy, the fate of our future generation will be dependent on our interactions with energy conservation practices. The solution lies in elucidating the ongoing contradiction of world economies producing more and consuming even more. Preference for greed over need has led to the current energy crisis. Our civilization will need to adapt the idea of Energy Swaraj or to generate and consume locally. 

Known as “Solar Man of India” or “Solar Gandhi”, Prof. Chetan Singh Solanki was invited to an event on “Energy Swaraj and Energy Literacy” organized by United Religion Initiative, in collaboration with the BASIC and Energy Swaraj Foundation under the umbrella of Energy Swaraj in India. Prof. Solanki has been responsible for coining the idea of “Energy Swaraj”, drawing inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy to adopt better energy conservation practices. Currently, a professor at IIT Bombay, the founder of Energy Swaraj Foundation, and the Brand Ambassador of Solar Energy for Madhya Pradesh, Prof. Solanki’s experiences involve working and constructing solutions with more than 30 countries.

During the event, Prof. Solanki enlightened the audience about the need to sensitize the local communities for effective control of the consumption of energy by individuals. At the heart of sustainability, is the idea that how communities can adopt efficient mechanisms of preserving and controlling our energy needs. Prof. Solanki initiated his talk on a philosophical note reminding us that how the issue of the energy crisis is an issue that needs to be fixed internally, within humans and externally, concerning the usage of energy resources. He argued that overutilization and overconsumption of energy have led to the prevalence of carbon dioxide garbage in the atmosphere. Stating that since the period of industrialization, energy utilization has increased by 50% along with a proportional rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the resultant consequence has led to increased natural calamities and rising global temperatures.  He reminded the that the effect of rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will be felt by future generations.

To find a solution to the ongoing issues, Prof. Solanki argued for drastic and immediate measures to stabilize our energy consumption. His solution for energy conservation and efficiency called for a 100% shift to solar energy and surrendering our over-reliance on electricity to become conscious and self-sufficient when it comes to our energy needs. For Prof. Solanki, the fundamental notion of human existence is inseparable from the logic of sustainable living. He proposed two laws to adapt on an individual level: Firstly, Limiting one’s consumption and secondly, Localizing Production. Collectively, both the laws form the basis of Energy Swaraj, an idea which is cognizant of its needs and does not waste energy resources based on one’s wants. By the end of the talk, he suggested opting for his Energy Swaraj Foundation’s course on Energy Literacy course and spreading the message within the society.  

To internalize the teachings, the event provided the opportunity for the audience to be part of coursework on Energy Literacy. Becoming energy literate is the first step toward adopting Energy Swaraj as per Prof. Solanki. The coursework has been designed in order to assist people in getting a grasp on the consumption and wastage of energy that affects climate change and in what ways it’s consequential to future generations. Understanding the carbon footprint, its impact on the environment and the need to conserve energy, the course is directed to adopt a lifestyle based on minimal usage of energy. The course can be accessed via Energy Swaraj Foundation’s website via the following link: Home | Energy Swaraj Foundation 

Towards the end, Rev. Lauren Van Ham reiterated the words of the Sufi poet Hafez: “Even after all this time The Sun never says to the Earth “You owe me”/ Look, what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.” She reminded the audience of their duty as individuals to take care of our environment, as well as emphasised the work that the United Religions Initiative has done through its cooperation circle to connect and promote the agenda of protecting mother nature on the grassroots level. As Rev. Lauren Van Ham reminded the audience that localization of climate moments and conservation practices is the need of the hour to preserve mother nature. Tanya Sablok, CC Liason and Communications Officer from URI in North India, concluded the event with a vote of thanks. 

As the event was wrapped with a success, the audience was reminded of an upcoming national ARE(Actions for Restoring Environment) conference 2022, which aims to provide a platform for organizations from various spheres to harmonize environmental conservation activities. Further details for the conference can be accessed via the following link: Action for Restoring the Environment | URI 

Missed the program? Watch the recording here

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