With the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) coming to a close, we at TRL are going to spend each week highlighting a different Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) that TRL is working towards! In 2015, the UNGA set 17 SDGs for the year 2030. SDGs are, in the UN’s own words, “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.” SDGs are not sources of funding however they do drive philanthropic and government spending strategy. We want to inform the public about the work that we do, the SDGs that we must all work towards, and how a brighter future truly is possible if we set our minds to it.
This week we’re going to look at SDG #7, Affordable and Clean Energy. As the UN describes, “Focusing on universal access to energy, increased energy efficiency and the increased use of renewable energy through new economic and job opportunities is crucial to creating more sustainable and inclusive communities and resilience to environmental issues like climate change.” Sustainable energy technologies like improved cookstoves, more efficient light bulbs, and low-carbon public transportation are examples of what will lead to the achievement of Goal 7. While organizations such as the UN have shown clear support of these initiatives to help achieve SDG 7, challenges still exist in terms of financing and scaling such solutions. Initiatives and funding are predominantly directed towards Sub-saharan Africa and India, however in Guatemala over 50% of homes still use wood as the primary fuel source for cooking.
So what do we have to do with Goal 7? Our ONIL cookstove is a more efficient, safer, and cheaper alternative than the three stone fire traditionally used in Santiago Atitlán. Our stove does the following: (1) reduces firewood consumption by 70%, or about one tree per family per month; (2) increases yearly savings by $300 USD for families who buy their wood, or 48 days of time per year for families who collect their wood, leading to poverty reduction over time; and (3) reduces indoor air pollution by over 99%. The last detail is especially important considering that 7 million people, mostly female, die per year as a result of indoor air pollution. By enabling access to ONIL cookstoves TRL joins the global community in moving further, faster towards achieving Goal 7.