Billions of people live without access to modern electricity services and clean energy could lift them out of the economic exclusion zone, improve their education and make their lives generally better. It can also save some lives, literally.
Of all the reasons to advocate clean energy, this may be the most surprising one. The Legal Human Rights Centre (LHRC) recently reported that over 3,000 people were lynched in Tanzania by neighbors who thought they were witches.
And what does that have to do with clean energy, you may be asking yourself? Well, it so happens that many of these victims are old women who develop red eyes, considered to be a sign of witchcraft, for burning cow dung for fuel as a substitute for firewood.
It is hard to believe that this sort of thing happens at this day and age. Apparently the women often are killed shortly after the death of a relative, which they are blamed for.
Albinos are often murdered as people believe that making potions from their body parts can attract wealth. This group is also a victim of rape as some people believe that intercourse with them can cure them of AIDS. They believe albinos are cursed and simply disappear instead of dying.
This story highlights how education and access to modern, clean technology ramifies into areas that we would never imagine at first. Portable solar-powered solutions could help people like those women in Tanzania to replace dirty fuel with clean energy. Luckily some innovators have been working to develop portable solar solutions for people in African countries, such as Eight19 and its pay-as-you-go solution . Let’s hope that the more people in Africa get access to solar, the fewer casualties there will be due to a case of red eyes.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.