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Powering Villages With Solar Instead of Dirty Fossil Fuels
In this world where we seem surrounded by news of gloom and doom, we don't often hear stories of positive change.
But here is one: a story of a village that has unshackled itself from darkness, after 30 years of having its energy needs neglected by governments.
Today, Dharnai is blooming with hope and ambition.
Dharnai village in Bihar, one of India's poorest states, is now lit-up by a Greenpeace India solar-powered micro-grid.
Enter the village and you'll see electric poles all around. The solar micro-grid supplies the electricity for homes, street lighting for roads and lanes, and water pumps.
Dharnai is the first village in India where all aspects of life are powered by solar. The 100 kilowatt (kW) system powers the 450 homes of the 2,400 residents, 50 commercial operations, two schools, a training center and a health care facility. A battery backup ensures power around the clock.
The secure power supply of the new solar micro-grid has brought immense benefits to the community. Household lighting, agriculture, business activity and social infrastructures like schools, and health centers all have guaranteed electricity.
Reliable electricity in the evening has improved educational opportunities for village children, and brought the safety of street lighting. A dependable power supply has boosted the local economy, and brought a welcome improvement to the social life of the villagers.
The better quality of life of Dharnai residents has become the talk of neighboring villages, all eager to understand and replicate the Dharnai model.
The story of the Greenpeace micro-grid project is inspiring. It is unbelievable to see an entire village lit-up by solar energy. It illustrates how, in a country like India, universal energy access can be achieved without compromising the environment with coal pollution.
It's motivating because the affordable micro-grid became a reason for an entire community to join hands and work together to solve its energy problem, and to make this project a success. What a privilege it is to see sign boards on the highway saying: Dharnai Solar Village—1 km ahead.
We have done it with the support of the villagers of Dharnai, and with partners BASIX and CEED. After two months of successful testing, we launched the micro-grid on July 20 with the eldest person of Dharnai (80 years old) formally switching it on in front of a supportive crowd of thousands.
With an electricity system in place after 30 years of waiting, Dharnai now has all the elements to build a strong local economy. Their progress is no longer thwarted by a lack of electricity.
Dharnai shows a way forward for thousands of other villages everywhere which have been left behind. These villages can develop their own clean power and contribute to saving their environment by showing we don't need to use nuclear, coal or other fossil fuels for energy.
Dharnai is just the beginning. India has 80,000 more villages that need solar micro-grids. Greenpeace India will work to build greater collaboration to ensure all get access to clean, reliable electricity.
There is a story here that goes well beyond India. Hundreds of millions live without electricity. For them, the Dharnai solar-powered micro-grid could be a game-changer, a model for bringing clean, reliable energy to those energy-starved millions.
Communities without electricity, and their governments, can take a leap forward and develop the innovative solar systems. And communities can avoid the energy systems of the past that plague the world and build a clean energy system they can own and control.
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Company Safety Data Sheets on New Chemicals Frequently Lack the Worker Protections EPA Claims They Include
By Richard Denison
Readers of this blog know how concerned EDF is over the Trump EPA's approval of many dozens of new chemicals based on its mere "expectation" that workers across supply chains will always employ personal protective equipment (PPE) just because it is recommended in the manufacturer's non-binding safety data sheet (SDS).
By Grant Smith
From 2009 to 2012, Gregory Jaczko was chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which approves nuclear power plant designs and sets safety standards for plants. But he now says that nuclear power is too dangerous and expensive — and not part of the answer to the climate crisis.
By Brett Walton
When Greg Wetherbee sat in front of the microscope recently, he was looking for fragments of metals or coal, particles that might indicate the source of airborne nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park. What caught his eye, though, were the plastics.
In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.
This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.
If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.
"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
- Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change ›
- How working less could solve all our problems. Really. | ›
- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›