By Josefina Josepha
Why affordable and clean energy matters?
This is a clever and important question, especially for the gem of the Caribbean islands: Curacao.
We are in the century where the sky's the limit.
Where we can achieve more than those who came before us could only dream of.
Josefina Josepha enjoys reading and studying, photography, psychology, writing and listening to music, and at times some freelance writing trying to help others and improve herself. She believes in equality, fairness and justice above reproach. Her true loves are medicine, public health care management, and entrepreneurial science.
Global warming is threatening our very existence and survival and our future generations, but Curacao can be that place of natural blessings, if we as citizens and caretakers, stakeholders and shareholders acknowledge our actions and the consequences of our future intentions and plans.
Curacao is more than capable of offering affordable or even free and clean energy to its citizens and even have some surplus left over for Bonaire and Aruba.
In 1492 Cristobal Colon discovered the New World and in the early 1500s Spaniards said, "Curacao La Isla inutil", though today in 2016, in the light of advances and progress in affordable clean energy, I proclaim: "Curacao La Isla llena de las utilidades".
The island that can show and is showing the world how to take advantage of affordable and clean energy. But I am not saying this myself, let's take a look at the words from those who have planned big plans and put men on the moon. The US Consulate General Mrs Margaret Hawthorne and US Under Secretary of State for Management; Mr Patrick F. Kennedy, earlier this month inaugurated the use of the new solar panel system for the consulate. Such an investment in clean renewable and affordable energy has reportedly enabled the US Consulate General in Curacao to become the first net-zero US diplomatic facility in the US Missions worldwide.
It happened here and it happened in Curacao first!
But we can be the first among others in so many other things when we truly understand that affordable and clean energy really matters!
Therefore I say, in an Island where people must pay an exaggerated energy per dollar value, for non affordable and non clean energy, you will definitely find poverty and a sharp socio-economic distinction.
In an island where people must pay an exaggerated energy per dollar value, for non affordable and non clean energy, you will irrevocably find ignorance, and in an Island where people must pay an exaggerated energy per dollar value, for non affordable and non clean energy, you will absolutely find discontent, greater stress values and a sharper pH to unhappiness.
My words are not to condemn the lack of efforts of our leaders and the leaders before them but to make everyone cognizant that affordable and clean energy matters and it starts with a mentality of helping ourselves for each and every one of us now, today and henceforth!
In the 1960s, Dr Martin Luther King said in the wake of racial tension and segregation: "I have a dream....", but today in 2016, I, Josefina Josepha, say I have a vision, where neither rich nor poor are hampered with the high cost of utilities, where communities societies and the nation come together as one, united in solidarity to protect our only home soil in the middle of the deep blue Caribbean sea under the clear blue skies, to ensure that our atmosphere is free from air pollution, smog and unknown carcinogens and all the other "gens" there are that affects the kind hearted people of this land.
Yes, I have a vision, where we as Curasalenos do not run about in a helter skelter panic mode because someone sings "The Chicken Little's Anthem", "the sky is falling", or more appropriately "the hurricane is coming"! After all, we are uniquely situated outside the hurricane belt and that means that the chances of a probability that we will see hurricane type force conditions above level two is highly unlikely. However, so much so that if it does happen, I can assure you that there is no need to worry because it is probably more likely the Rapture and not a hurricane.
On the other hand a serious talk of affordable and clean energy is not the same as crying “The Chicken Little Anthem". Therefore, it may be considered spinning your wheels fast and going nowhere, if from one point we cry "The Chicken Little Anthem" and then deny or disregard alternative sources of affordable and clean energy as the footpath to a more sustainable future and a more prosperous country.
But nonetheless we must be vigilant and care managers of what we have because affordable and clean energy does matter!
Permit me to analyze this situation in medium depth coverage to prove why the cycle of affordable and clean energy really matters. The equation:
Equation 1.0: Total Energy input in a system = Total Energy Output from a system. This exists in a closed system!
The earth is a closed system!
CO2 gas has heat trapping potential, therefore the more CO2 the greater the temperature rise under the CO2 field.
The greater the temperature, the more the delicate ecosystem imbalance. At times this can be adaptable, at others it can't. In addition, the land gives off heat exchange faster than large bodies of water, for example oceans and seas, lakes and rivers. The water trapping oxygen solubility decreases with rising temperature in an effort to counter-balance situations.
Hence, the life sustaining oxygen nutrition in the water leads to dangerous stress levels for aquatic life and the bottom feeders of the food chain, which have an irreversible effect on the human nutrition and daily calorie intake. The coral reefs would be the first to experience this inadaptability and may show up as bleaching effects but results in an average loss or decrease in fishery related businesses.
However; higher temperatures would also result in polar cap meltdown and the supply of "fresh water" dumped into the ocean above a rate sustainable, normally freshwater and sea salted water do not mix but at higher temperatures this has a greater probability of occurring hence further reducing the "fresh water". The icecaps at the polar points are like absorbers to climate change.
Furthermore, increased water levels mean hello, "Venice, Italy" or The "Atlantis Fate".
Fortunately, for Curacao we do have some hilly indenture but on average it takes very little to overflood the country and it is because the nation has rarely seen critical catastrophic climate conditions that little is done to address these matters. Just during the 2016 pre-election it took the minister responsible for the drainage system to realize how in disrepair it was and whether it is from disregard or mismanagement the important fact is to get things resolved.
We touch this topic because it is the cycle of irresponsibility and the effects of management that brings us in danger of and by climate change and the short sightedness not to reflect or see these things ahead of us where affordable and clean energy really matters.
But, the hope is for our legislative body to come at some common ground to understand the real message in affordable clean energy that equals a positive savings for the country. With building code reform that leads to strong buildings being constructed, with better inherent housing insulation standards the country can save approximately 20% to 30% on energy imports therefore reducing the national energy bill requirement.
Mandatory laws on building drainage systems, again housing and construction code reforms will help to catch water during the rainy months that can be used for outside watering and agricultural needs, which will have an overall impact on Curacao's reverse osmosis plants, because the more water that the country needs, the more these plants need energy to meet those requirements.
Presently our nation is facing a National Debt greater than 39% to 40% of our GDP and a refocus on affordable clean energy may hold the key to long term profitability and short term success. This spells adaptability and not adoptability, but most importantly it represents a tremendous savings, putting Curacao potentially in a net positive national trading balance, which could spell more money for “penshionados”, education and restimulating the economy but most importantly a tremendous savings in health care.
However; we are only as good or as strong as the weakest link in the chain, therefore we must be our neighbors’ keepers and vigilate hard and incorporate hard stands and laws against those that do not share the same perspective of a healthy life and a healthy environment over the irresponsibility of loose, poor and derelict judgment in the namesake of the mighty US dollar or all powerful Yang.
To understand that affordable clean energy really matters, we must first grasp the concept that there is such a thing as affordable and clean energy, or affordable energy with little or very little drawbacks environmentally, from a healthcare standard perspective or economic perspective. Affordable and clean energy is more than possible in and for Curacao.
Curacao's former prime minister and former minister of health and environment in the past had taken a stance against investing in alternative energy sources; however; there is almost half a century in age that precipitates my philosophy of the continued need to seek for improvement, progress and advancement and all the facts that exist leads a reasonable person to side with logic if we look at action-reaction, affect-effect and cause-consequence to equate to the importance for and of affordable clean energy.
Now let's be truthful and honest that Curacao may not be the most ideal for any single factor; however, Curacao is very conducive geo-positionally, and in its geo-stature of more positives than negatives in terms of atmospheric barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, heat index and temperature, ocean currents and their temperatures and seabed terrain and shelves offers a very conducive environment that can push the country into a new energy revolution above and below the oceans, on land and in the air, that would very well see Curacao as the land of opportunity and fortune, striving as a global business Mecca.
To accomplish this the only we have to fear are those who wish to hold us down or hold us back for their own selfish motives and selfish economic fat pocketing.
Curacao is capable of improving our energy resources and usage; we can use renewable energy such as biomass, use of organic materials and converting them into other forms of energy that can be used.
One of the most popular and fastest-growing sources of alternative energy is solar power and, given our geo positional coordinates and annual weather and climate, solar power is almost a perfect fit for our economic forecast, especially with an average daily temperature (ADT) of 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
If we were to incorporate appropriate laws that encourage a proliferation of this available alternative energy source on the residential and commercial level, in addition to a feedback grid that would be responsive to feed-off and feed-on energy surplus and deficiency respectively, this would represent an overall lower national tax rate for the entire 160,000 inhabitants of Curacao, along with greatly improved healthcare and business entrepreneurial opportunities.
For thousands of years wind power has been used and Curacao is a perfect fit to take advantage of this ever occurring resource with windmills.
Currently we have approximately 12 windmills in use for energy production.
However, if we were to invest US$2 billion in this arena, we would be able to offer virtually almost free and clean energy to all residential households for the first 16 days of the month, not to mention this would be a significant attack on unemployment and a monstrous help on the economic growth and increase jobs.
However, the vast array of affordable clean energy does not stop with only these three prime sources, but what I can say is that Curacao's natural geo-structure is the fourth big effect in the importance of why affordable and clean energy matters in Curacao. This scenario maybe equivalent to the ancient Amerindians, who had gold in abundance as commonplace, but just did not know how much the global currency held its importance. Now, in the 21st century, precious metals and energy are fast approaching these equivalent standards in global currency.
The power system and grid in Curacao is based on a progressively unhealthier system as days goes by coupled with the unexplained coincidence; in the rise of the cases of Alzheimer’s, mental and metabolic disorders. We have an oil refinery that has been in existence since 1918, which the country purchased from the Dutch Shell company in 1985 for relatively nothing in the short term but astronomically costly in the long term. In actuality, we have an oil refinery that seems to cause more damage to our people and to the planet, along with a carbon emission that it seems is killing hopes and making children of today, patients of tomorrow.
According to a report by the US Department of Energy in 2015, Curacao placed in the top five CO2 emissions per capita. That is a staggering amount that must now force our newly elected 2016-2020 legislative body of SVC-3 to take action in the name of the good health and welfare; of the people and for the people.
Scientific articles confirm the environmentally polluting impact of the Isla refinery on air, soil and marine environment! Just last week, in a repair to the dock, workers discovered oil leakage from the ground. Now, just imagine the effect of a drop of oil on Curacao’s water table? Oops! Wait, the big environmental question is what has happened to Curacao's water table?
Unofficially, there seems to be an increase in tumors and cancers in Curacao, and the unexplained increasing amounts of dialysis patients due to kidney failure. There needs to be more investigative and research in this field.
Even more importantly but less apparently life threatening is the large incidence and prevalence of patented female frontal baldness syndrome (P2FBASE), though a direct correlation has not been established from a lack of investigative studies and research, there seems to be a distinct correlation of a greater frequency in those females that live, lived or had lived closer to the refinery.
I bring these points to attention, because of the accumulative economical impact and insurmountable dollar value impact on the project Curacao healthcare system, “penshionados” and neonates born in Curacao.
These situations also have an effect on Curacao’s tourism attracting potential (TAP) and can make our country seem less hospitable and inhuman to those unaware of the real danger present.
According to the World Bank’s current data, China was the leading emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2011 and yet the previous government led by the PM entered what many may consider a “rush-rush short political benefit deal” agreement with a Chinese based company to modernize the Isla refinery.
What we do know is that China is one of the biggest contributors to global warming. What we do know is the youngest lung cancer patient in China is only eight years old and 1.6 million people die from air pollution in China, which is a harsh reality of modernization.
What can be thought of as why would affordable and clean energy truly matter to China in Curacao, maybe the reason why China would be spending approximately US$10 billion on a oil refinery that is fast approaching its age of retirement, a country with practically a nonexistent water table and an apparent legal structure that may be very protective to mega conglomerate enterprises. As well, the China agreement may be a testing ground to build the presumably "Smoking Tower-diamond converter" designed by a Dutch artist and if this proves fruitful, then this would bring a new term to the meaning affordable clean energy.
If we don't use clean and affordable energy right now, we are being irresponsible towards ourselves, our generation and our planet.
The disadvantages of non clean energy presently in Curacao and the world are disastrous.
Emissions released now will continue to warm the climate in the future. The EPA predicts that climate change will cause the demand for water to increase at the same time as the supply of water shrinks.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, asthma is a disease that may be caused by air pollution.
Lung cancer is a disease that may be caused by air pollution.
The Water Pollution Guide, a UK website dedicated to minimizing the risk of exposure to water pollution, states that water pollution is more likely to produce long-term health effects than immediate health effects.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4.6 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution.
According to the World Bank, those deaths cost the global economy about US$225 billion in lost labor income in 2013.
A research publication from NCBI shows that the effects of air pollution on infant mortality are specific for respiratory causes in the post neonatal period, are independent of socioeconomic factors, and are not mediated by birth weight or gestational age.
We can't allow this to continue and allowing our race to live in the tick tock clock of the unnecessary suffering, sacrifice to healthy living standards and death.
The most effective method to improve the air quality would be the use of bioethanol fuel, biodiesel, and hybrid vehicle technologies.
A method that can be apply to combat and decrease carbon emission is to put a much more strict and strong tax on carbon emissions or higher taxes on gasoline, so that the population and companies will have more conscience to conserve energy and pollute much less.
These consequences don't only show us that affordable and clean energy matters, but that it is our obligation as Curasalenos and it is necessary before it is too late for you, for me and for the human race to act now because affordable clean energy may or may not be the cure but it definitely offers a preventative steps towards better management for and to the earth.
This is the time not to dwell on the past, but to understand the mistakes that were committed and not to make those same mistakes all over again and again.
Don't let climate change, change you; you change your climate mentally, economically and financially, so that you reap the rewards.