By Harriet Lamb, Ashden CEO
world, everyday items are unlocking sustainable energy and helping us tackle the
growing climate emergency. What turns these humble objects – from spades and
fridges to paint pots – into powerful tools for solving our energy challenges?
Collaboration, community action and an understanding of local needs.
outstanding climate action by seven people and organisations will be showcased
at Seven for 7, an event organised by Sustainable Energy for All in partnership
with Ashden. The night will celebrate leadership on Sustainable Development
Goal 7, the global drive to bring everyone access to sustainable energy by
2030. We are not yet on track to reach this crucial target. This year Seven for
7 focuses on the links between health and sustainable energy – including work
to cool our cities, provide decent healthcare and find alternatives to deadly
Here are seven
simple objects these leaders are using to create a better world.
A pot of
York City CoolRoofs Initiative
world creates huge health risks– particularly in cities, where buildings and
roads trap heat to push temperatures ever higher. In New York city authorities,
charities, building owners and volunteers are coming together behind a
straightforward solution – painting roofs white so they reflect as much heat as
possible. Lower temperatures will cut the demand for air conditioning – a big
contributor to the climate crisis.
Green Corridors Project
Colombia has taken a different approach to urban cooling, planting 8,300 trees
and 350,000 shrubs along roads and waterways. The vegetation gives shade and
absorbs heat. The city has trained marginalised people, including rural
migrants and those displaced by conflict, to take on jobs tending the greenery.
Heat Action Plan
In 2010 a vicious
heatwave caused hundreds of deaths a day in Ahmedabad, India. The city responded
with a bold heat action plan, now copied by dozens of other cities. The plan features
steps to supply water, prepare hospitals and keep residents informed and
updated. One key method is sending ‘red alerts’ to people’s phones when heat is
about to become dangerously high.
State Renewable Energy Development Agency
Lack of reliable energy can stop hospitals running
even basic equipment, such as vaccine fridges. This puts people at risk from??entirely
preventable diseases. Solar power is a great solution, but systems must be well
managed and maintained. In India, a partnership between Chhattisgarh StateRenewable Energy Development Agency and the state health ministry has brought
reliable energy to more than 900 clinics – benefiting 80,000 patients a day.