Guess I should finally blog about the last movie I saw in the VIFF, and by far the most uplifting.
The 4th Revolution is a showcase of the future: the technologies, the vision, and the visionaries that will take us away from a reliance on fossil fuels, and towards clean renewable energy for everyone.
It’s possible. There are so many bright, dedicated people all over the world, from Germany to China to Mali to Bangladesh, working tirelessly in ways big or small to change lives or change minds: designers making electric cars look sexy, neighbours cooperating to upgrade an apartment building with solar generators, the economist who pioneered microlending, the people installing small solar panels in rural Africa.
Energy autonomy is more than just saving a few bucks on your electric bill. First, it’s about saving a lot of bucks on the electric bill. Solar panels on individual buildings or houses, combined with other upgrades to cut down on, e.g., unnecessary air conditioning, can cut external power consumption drastically. But it also means economic autonomy. The Mali Folke Centre is a case in point: by promoting the use of solar energy in regions where electricity is extremely rare and expensive, they allow people to regularly work after dark. Not a big deal? But as programme coordinator Ibrahim Togola explains, it opens the door for people to create new enterprises, and move Mali away from a purely resource-exporting base for its economy.
The stakes are enormous, and so are the obstacles: lack of political will in many countries, not least being the USA; entrenched interests in the coal/gas/oil industry, and the simple fact that reworking out energy infrastructure will be a difficult process. But the general consensus is that the transition is indeed possible, and so the movie ends with a positive note.