One of the most problematic truths of this war is that we also financed the invasion of Ukraine, with our energy consumption. The wealth that allows Russia to maintain its army is mainly made up of fossil sources of energy, given that it is the third largest producer of oil and the second in the world of gas. In Italy we import 43% of that gas from Russia which is still a dominant part of our energy system. Every piece of our life needs energy to function and we have seen Russia as a reliable partner. Today as citizens we are in the paradoxical situation of being able to participate in the conflict with the house thermostat: one degree less of heating means cutting national gas consumption by 7%, two degrees by 15%. If 10% of natural gas boilers were converted into heat pumps, we would cut Russian consumption by one billion cubic meters. Also participate in the global initiative Earth Hour of 26 March, turning off the light for an hour at 20.30, can represent an important gesture in this sense.
Energy saving is one of the answers to the question: «What can I do to help Ukrainian civilians?». Sending aid, welcoming, but also having a more evolved relationship with energy, because this is a relationship of co-dependence: Russia cannot stop selling gas to Europe, Europe cannot stop buying it. Or rather, it will succeed, but it will not be easy to do by next winter what we should have done years ago. In the background there is always climate change: the sources of energy (coal, oil and gas) that force us to finance regimes and wars are the same that are making our planet uninhabitable. It would be awful if we didn’t have an alternative, but the great news is that there is: we are able to turn on the light and heat the houses using clean resources, which do not start wars. Behind the “energy transition” there is a metamorphosis that will allow us to stop buying harmful hydrocarbons. We already knew we had to do it, but now we also have another reason: we have to do it to become independent, therefore free. The sun for photovoltaics and wind for wind power do not have to be bought. They are called renewables, but perhaps we should use another word: they are free sources. Obviously, it will take time, an energy system doesn’t change in a few months, and that’s why it’s outrageous to have taken it so comfortably over the years.
An ancient Chinese proverb says that the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, but the second best time is today. This also applies to solar panels: any further delay risks making us find ourselves in the uncomfortable situation we are in today: being torn apart by the images of the war and at the same time forced to send millions of euros to those who are carrying it out.
Source: Vanity Fair