Can Rest of the World Learn From Africa?

Is there a future where harvesting energy is an integral component of activity and nature?

Ask yourself: why do we build massive grids, pipelines, power plants, and refineries? Why do we mine coal and drill for oil thousands of miles away when sun supplies energy right to our roof – or to a PV-surfaced backpack for that matter?

Can the first energy option be local and the second option be massive, centralized systems, instead of the other way around?

Granted, practical technology for storing solar or any renewable energies is just coming available. We can build better buildings and cities, learn new ways of living and working to manage energy use. It’s not only about solar, batteries, and diffused energy supplies. It’s a mindset.

Can we learn from Africa? Africa is burdened by poverty and low technology. Yet is lack of high technology and heavy ancient infrastructures actually making them smarter, more resourceful, and ultimately could they show us something new?

In 10, 20, 30 years, could they be growing food, making clothes, building cities regionally, and supplying products, services to other parts of the world? Based on simply changing their energy supply – actually an improvement over no electricity at all – could Africans build stable, sustainable nations?

Even in some small way, is there something that developed countries can learn about living sustainably from people who are freshly adding electricity to their daily habits? If we were just adding power to our lives and cities, what form would it take?

I admit, I am taken by the use of cell phones to buy well water. And now the possibilities of energy at the exact spot that you need it. It’s Just-In-Time resources, instead of Always-Running resources. That’s a far more sustainable model. While we can’t emulate it, our commitments to industry are far too great today, can we learn from it, at least at the residential, personal level (breakdown:

Could Africa pave the way towards a balanced planet?

It’s possible.