The following is a guest post by Danny Kennedy, President of Sungevity, Solar Home Specialists. Sungevity is offering a unique way to go solar at your home and support Global Exchange at the same time. Every customer who gets a Sungevity solar system that is reading this can raise more than $500 for Global Exchange. You can find out more here.
Earth Day is a time to reflect on how we get to take action for a better planet. It should also be a time when we consider those whose human rights and democratic rights are suppressed in such a way that they are not able to take action for a better planet. One such person is the rightful and recent President of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed.
Nasheed, who served as the fourth president of the Maldives from 2008 to 2012, was the first democratically elected president of this small Muslim nation in several decades. He was forced to resign in February 2012, in a coup d’etat. His predecessor was a ruthless dictator who had had Nasheed tortured and placed in solitary confinement for being an activist and a dissident journalist. When Nasheed became what he calls the “accidental president” following a political campaign that was given great momentum by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, he set about facing the biggest threat to his country: climate change.
Nasheed famously brought attention to the cause by holding an underwater cabinet meeting near a coral reef (probably one of the most photographed government events in the country), in which he and his ministerial colleagues wore SCUBA gear while signing documents with waterproof ink against the backdrop of a coral reef. He championed climate protection at the international conferences on the subject during his presidency. This became the subject of a recent documentary film on the subject titled The Island President, which you should try to see if you can.
Perhaps his greatest effort to respond to the climate crisis was a plan to make the Maldives the first carbon-neutral country on Earth. Toward this end Nasheed jumped at the offer we at Sungevity made, in conjunction with our friends at 350.org, to put a solar electric solution on the presidential palace, a beautiful colonial building built by the British in downtown Malé, the capital of Maldives and home to about one-third of its population. Most of these people probably pass the palace every day on their way to work or school or the beach; it’s on a small island of 150,000 people, and the Muleaage, as it’s known in the local language, is right in the middle of the city. As such it was the ideal place for the president to kick off his efforts to take his country solar.
Sadly, those efforts have been set aside as he was removed from power. He is now agitating for new elections and when he wins plans to pick up where he left off by taking more buildings and whole islands in the Maldives of diesel-based electricity and onto solar. It will save his country money and demonstrate that we can get off our addiction to fossil fuels. You should consider it too – and if you go solar through Sungevity you can support Global Exchange at the same time. Every customer who gets a Sungevity solar system that is reading this can raise more than $500 for Global Exchange. See this link to understand how it works.
As in the Maldives, the model of fossil-fuel import dependency is entirely untenable. For Nasheed it is so from a national security point of view and as an economic proposition going forward. If the price of oil were to exceed $100 per barrel for an extended period of time, the country would go bankrupt. Then the oil industry would no longer deliver the fuel by ship, and the country would be left without electricity. So the president’s push to get solar energy adopted across the country make sense; indeed, it makes dollars and sense. Get a Sungevity iQuote at this website and you’ll see that it does for you too.