Beyond Clean Energy: The Quest for Universal Access and Ending Energy Poverty

Working on this documentary project and witnessing firsthand the stark disparities in energy access, my perspective on the global energy narrative has evolved profoundly.

In the priviledged cities of the first world, debates rage over the “cleanest” sources of energy, often overshadowing a more fundamental crisis: the sheer lack of access to any form of reliable energy for close to a billion people around the globe. This crisis, often missing from the mainstream narrative, reveals a stark contrast in priorities that challenge our shared humanity.

In remote villages of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, I've seen the faces of those living in energy poverty. Doctors perform emergency procedures under candlelight at night. Women and children spend hours collecting firewood only to cook meals over open fires at home severely impacting their health. The absence of refrigeration for food and medicines compromises health and nutrition. It's a daily struggle not for cleaner energy, but for the most basic access to it—electricity to turn on a light, heat a home, or power a life-saving medical device.

This experience highlights for me the imbalance in the global energy dialogue. While we advocate for what some only claim are cleaner energy solutions, we must also remember that energy equity is a fundamental step towards global development. Access to reliable, affordable, and efficient energy can transform lives, empowering communities to break free from the cycle of poverty. It can enable more security at night, improve health outcomes by powering hospitals and clinics, and unlock economic potentials through new businesses and jobs.

The narrative must expand to include the urgent need to make energy universally accessible. The goal should be a world where energy does not just power the privileged few but uplifts every human being, offering them a chance at a brighter, more secure future. This is not just an issue of energy policy; it is a question of basic human rights.

Reflecting on the profound energy disparities I've witnessed around the world, and the urgent need to address energy poverty, I was compelled to produce DIRTY COIN. The narrative around Bitcoin's energy consumption is often one-sided, focusing on its substantial demand for electricity. However, if Bitcoin can drive any form of positive change—be it through the development of new energy projects, enhancing energy efficiency, or even making energy access more equitable—it is a narrative worth exploring.

Rather than dismissing Bitcoin's energy consumption outright, DIRTY COIN seeks to uncover and document the potential for this industry to contribute to solving some of the world's most pressing energy challenges. If Bitcoin can be a catalyst for innovation and progress in energy access, then it's a story that demands attention and transcends mere criticism.

-Alana, Director & Executive Producer for DIRTY COIN

Originally posted March 25, 2024.

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