Yesterday's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement was no fake news. At first glance this triggers anger, frustration and disbelief. How can the largest carbon emitter (per capita) not take the lead in addressing Climate Disruption? But we can take this decision also as a message: it’s up to us to “shine bright” (the English translation of "WakaWaka" from Swahili). It is up to individual states, business leaders, and - last but not least - it is up to us as consumers to be the change we want to see in the world.
WakaWaka was founded primarily to change the course of climate destruction. Over 50% of global carbon emissions from domestic lighting are caused by candles and kerosene lamps, used by ‘just’ 1.2 billion people who do not have the luxury of a light switch. This data is what triggered an ambitious mission to solve this problem - what now has become the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7: to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. This goal has become the driving force behind WakaWaka’s vision to create a world with safe, sustainable solar for all.
The spotlights of the world are now turned to America. While the consequences of this decision will be debated for a long time after today, fortunately, many public officials and prominent business leaders in the US do agree that Climate Disruption is man made. Since the US (and the EU) are the largest carbon contributors (per capita), we have a greater responsibility than any other part of the world to mitigate the effects and prevent further damage. California, a state with one of the largest economies in the world, has been a model example. Together, along with other individual states, they have already begun to implement the Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 2 degrees, possibly below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Way to go California! We hope ALL other states will follow your leadership and join you!
How does this affect our work and our mission? It fuels our passion and our drive (with solar power of course!) to deliver on our ambition to provide 1.2 billion people access to safe, sustainable solar solutions. The urge we felt when we started WakaWaka has only become stronger. We feel more united with everyone in the world, including millions of Americans, who realize that the Paris Agreement is a dead serious agreement that countries made with one another in the best interest of our global future. We are already seeing the impact of climate change with an increase in major flooding and the frequency of hurricanes around the world. Droughts will become more severe, crops will fail more often causing famine, which can destabilize entire regions and drive communities into conflict.
WakaWaka, together with hundreds of thousands of companies and millions of people around the world, is doing what we can to help fight Climate Disruption. The more that we can replace kerosene lamps and candles with highly efficient solar-powered solutions, the more carbon emissions we will prevent. You, as Agents of Light are already helping us make a difference. You are already part of the solution. We will step up our game, and we know you will continue to support us in our efforts to create better living conditions for those who need it most. Together, we will provide Safe, Sustainable Solar for All. Not because we can, but because we must, now more than ever.
No one will stop us, not even a President.
Camille & Maurits
Founders and Agents of Light