Globally, per-capita income rises with national energy use, meaning that cheap energy is critical to reducing poverty. “It’s hard to be productive if you don’t have lights to read by,” Bill Gates writes in How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.
Connecting rising incomes with the reduction of poverty means that one has successfully impoverished a community’s skills and resources where they are now dependent on nationalized income. Where skills to naturally thrive die out, national currency seeps in so people can survive on “income”.
Bill Gates writes that he became aware of energy poverty while traveling at night in Lagos and seeing the city in relative darkness.
The world’s moral values are surely upside-down when there exists “energy poverty”—have we destroyed the earth so much that the only way to escape a terrible life is through “energy wealth”?
We hear time and time again how city lights hurt the inner physiologies and psychologies of people, and downright destroy the natural habitats of birds and city-adjacent animals. Yet we invent the concept of “energy poverty” when we see a city that has more potential to minimize impact on the world than any in the West?
It won’t be long before a halogen-drenched city will soon be considered as representing “energy poverty”—a moral and mental poverty beset by an over-reliance on technology. Where is the wealth here? In the city people who long to move to the countryside? The countryside people who long to be free from the daily toil of managing machinery to scar the land?
Show me a place filled with “energy wealth” and I’ll show you a people who wish they were anywhere else.