Many of you are probably reading this post on your smart phones or tablet devices. These devices naturally require electricity as a form of energy, and we take for granted that we can secure electricity by plugging in a charger. However, according to the United Nations, about 789 million people in the world do not have access to electricity. The world's population is currently about 7,594,690,000, which is about 1 in 10 people. The stable availability of electricity around the world is essential not only for daily life, but especially for medical facilities under the current pandemic.
So, what does it mean to be "clean"? In areas where electricity is not available or cannot be used stably, fuels such as coal and charcoal are used, which are harmful to the environment and human health. In other words, "clean" power generation methods, such as solar, wind, and hydro power, are those that do not emit carbon dioxide and do not threaten to run out of resources.
In North America, where our office is located, there are a number of temples and Zen centers where many priests are active. Some of them have installed geothermal heating/cooling systems and solar panels to power all of their facilities, and each of them is practicing the SDGs.
So, what can we do to achieve this goal? It is important to reduce the use of electrical appliances and to invest in renewable energy sources, but perhaps we should also take an interest in the energy situation in our own country and in other countries, and think about the future. The SDGs is a pledge to "leave no one behind" on the planet and a goal to achieve a sustainable and better world by 2030. Through energy issues, which are indispensable in our daily lives, let's raise awareness of the other goals and take action together.
These are short monthly Sotoshu essays on each of the 17 UN sustainable development goals. They are not written for a Western audience and there's nothing groundbreaking here; they're very much aimed at suggesting simple things that people can do at home. Nonetheless, they may provide some food for thought about ways to engage in the community. New essays will be added as they are available. Comments are open; please post reflections if you wish.