Energy poverty opposes right to livelihood, freedom, and capability

Rubayat Ahsan

Rubayat Ahsan

It is apparent that world along with it’s all poor and miserable nations are already in ‘energy poverty’ and heading faster for a dark age. While we are engaged fighting for right to livelihood and for Sen’s ‘capability-freedom’, energy poverty pushes us back to deeper trouble.

According to sources, nearly one-half of the global population – 3 billion people – live on less than $2 a day, and one fifth of the world population – 1.5 billion people – live in extreme poverty on less than $1 a day. During the past twenty-five years, electricity supplies have been extended to 1.3 billion people living in developing countries. Yet despite these advances, roughly 1.6 billion people, which is one quarter of the global population, still have no access to electricity and some 2.4 billion people rely on traditional biomass, including wood, agricultural residues and dung, for cooking and heating. More than 99 percent of people without electricity live in developing regions, and four out of five live in rural areas of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. (The Baker Institute Energy Forum)

Energy and poverty links to each other passionately. There is no energy means there is no choice at all. Thus, there is no scope for capability to flourish as well. A trend is observed during last decade that millions of rural population migrated urban cities for livelihoods. Thus, ‘rural poverty’ transformed into ‘urban poverty’ and rural families become slum dwellers. In a country like Bangladesh where a population size of 5 to 10 million is ideal with respect to its size and resources; cities are overloaded by rural migrants desperately seeking ways out for livelihood. Hundreds and thousands of skilled and unskilled people are fighting disgracefully over limited resources. Corruption and crimes are the inevitable outcome of disgraceful fight among millions in the unjust societies without boarders. And the context is same for all developing nations with high density population and lack of resources along with manipulating weak-malnutrition governance.

Little innovations and alternative thinking for renewable energies are not that profound in these miserable nations in the world except some discrete private initiatives. Partly because they do not have much technical know how on alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, tidal and whatever. On the other hand, their basic instinct for corruption is much favorable to deal with dirty energies such as oil, gas, coal, and so on. Billionaire transnational energy corporations just spray cheese at their temptation.

Mass people always appeared as some kind of scape goats or stupid slaves for the greedy rulers in the human history elsewhere in the world. The dream for right to livelihood, freedom, and capability remains as dream and turns into wishful thinking of philanthropists as well as good doers. Poor in the poor nations just work to exist for breads and taxpayers in the rich nations pay tax for the recovery of institutions out of bubbles burst. These negative reality has apparently become justified reality in the capital chase pool of monkeys raced by neo-liberal globalization.

Human rights based approach advocates for right to work, adequate house, education, health, and so on for minimum quality life, which could create enabling atmosphere to flourish capability and eventually bring freedom. While poor governments either consciously or subconsciously and persistently are unable to reach the desired level to offer her citizens with such freedom, energy poverty just adds more and more excuses to feel sorry for them or to prove their sustainable incapability.

The conventional energy is depleting like ‘splash of ash’ in the sky, nuclear energy is becoming dangerous to meet lust for power, alternative energies are in its infancy, which later giving rise of energy poverty besides widening gap between have and have not. Under such a reckless phase of time and space how longer we will be able to live with shattered dreams of right to livelihood, freedom and capability? The question haunts the daunting mind.

The heart of darkness

One Response to “Energy poverty opposes right to livelihood, freedom, and capability”

  1. Md. Shawkat Osman

    Dear Sir,
    This is very common and important issue that Bangladesh faced aggressively. But how can it be recovered the Bangladeshies should know. Bangladeshies should follow the rules of Chines population reduction formulae.This attempts should be taken by the Bangladeshies Government.The landless people are increasingly making trouble for their own.So no alternative without making the rule to take one child for one family.

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