The last week has been the most crazy stormy summer weather imaginable in Minnesota. One moment the sky is blue and then without warning enormous, black thundery clouds sweep in and take over the sky leaving us in a downpour of electric lightening and roaring thunder. It has been so wet that I haven’t even had to bother watering my garden (one bonus) but so wet that I can almost see the millions of super sized mosquitoes (which we often joke are the State Bird) breeding in its wake.
Throughout it all, we have experienced two rather annoying mishaps. First, on Friday afternoon when the sun was steaming and the humidity was rising our central air conditioner collapsed. Soon our house became a hot, sticky sauna and that night was unbearably hot. As of today, it still isn’t fixed and the air is thick, wet and stinky. The paper this morning describes today’s weather as “stinking hot, showery headaches”. Second, last night as we were all trying to sleep with fans blowing across our face (it had reached 90 degrees F and the dew point was in the 70s), around three am the next wave of sensational storms swept in and blew out all the power in our neighborhood.
This let off a chain of results. First Max was up crying (the storm was insane and even scared me, shaking the house with each loud bang). Next Sophia was calling my name in the pitch blackness of the house. And last, since our house was hotter than Haiti it was time for us to all move downstairs to the basement, the only place in the house that was cool and somewhat muted from the roaring thunder.
One by one, we carried our makeshift beds downstairs, walking by flashlight, where we set up our campsite for the remaining three hours of the night. The storm roared on for hours as bolts of silvery white flashed across the sky. By 4:30 am, everyone was finally back asleep except me. I sat there wondering about the rest of the world. How do the 1.6 billion people around the world who don’t have electricity survive?
Per a recent article on msnbc.com, it is estimated that 1.6 billion people live without electricity.
Earth Day has come and gone, but it’s a fact of daily — and especially nightly — life that 1.6 billion people around the globe have no electricity in their homes. Instead, most use wood, coal or even dung to heat and cook their homes — resulting in indoor air pollution that kills 1.6 million people a year.
Here we are, tucked away in unreality, living the American Dream and staying cool and with power. The moment it goes, we complain, we fight, we argue. We’re miserable. I was embarrassed to admit that I had been rather grumpy myself. Yet instead, life without electricity should be a reminder, a blessing, of what we have and what so many other people around the world are denied.
This week in Brazil, countries are gathering for Rio+20 a key summit to brainstorm ideas for creating sustainability in our world. One of the areas of focus is energy and how it impacts mothers in impoverished nations around the world.
Here is an excellent summary of the challenges and impact lack of electricity have on some of the worlds mother’s (this content is all written by Million Mom’s Challenge, “How you can power the world”. For complete article click here).
Energy is a Key Element of Sustainability
Imagine your life as a mother without electricity. When you start your day, what if you couldn’t turn on a light, couldn’t make a cup of coffee with the flick of a switch, couldn’t put the kids’ breakfast in the microwave? 20 percent of the world doesn’t have access to these modern solutions.
Mothers running households without electricity are using very expensive forms of energy that affect their health and take up much of their time. They are relying on kerosene lamps and candles, and open fires that create constant smoke and can leave them and their children with breathing problems and severe burns.
One of the most critical tools in fighting maternal death is access to electricity. Think about going into labor at night and heading to the clinic in labor to find that the medical staff is unable to help — they cannot use any medical equipment, let alone operate if needed, indeed they often can’t even see the patient because there is no electric light.
The moment I start to complain about how brutally hot it is in this house (an older home, right under the airplane path with poor air circulation), I must remember the unjustness and inequity for so many other mothers like myself around the world. It is time to stop complaining and start doing something about it. That is why I’ve joined RESULTS Global Advocacy to help others around the world who are not as fortunate as ourselves. It’s time to make a difference and time to give back.