From the team

Follow our energy journey

For most of the Creative Team, energy is a relatively new field of investigation. We are constantly exploring, learning, asking questions and – to be honest – feeling challenged about our own lifestyles and consumption patterns. You simply can’t stand in a hill-top Nepalese village with one teeny solar panel and not think about the taxis, planes and 4X4s that made the moment possible. Or how you had the luxury of charging multiple camera batteries while you slept in a warm hotel room, whereas the villagers use their cell phones in rotation because the next charging station is a two-hour trek away.

Whether we’re in the office, attending conferences, doing interviews or out in the field, we want you to know what we’re doing and what we’re thinking. This will be our space for diverse mini-blogs: sharing news stories that catch our eye, jotting key points from longer reports, or posting journal entries about our personal experiences with energy.

We all use some form of energy, every minute of every day.

Isn't it time we started to give that a little more thought?

Day 1

Landing in LiberiaLanding card liberia

You know it the minute you step from the plane: light loses in Liberia. Descending the stairs, you have no sense of where you’ve just come from or the landscape around you. Ahead, an exterior lamp struggles to illuminate the signboard over the entry: ARRIV.

During the 50-km drive to Monrovia, lone porch lights give vague hints of surrounding villages. Impossible to guess how far they stretch across the distance: “fade to black” encroaches a few feet from the front stoop.

 

City dwellers from the West travel great distances to marvel briefly at nights pitched so deeply. Liberians live within this ink – 7:00 pm to 6:00 am, 12 months of the year.

More often than I expect, the headlamps reveal roadside walkers, most in small clusters. Elongated shadows accentuate crowns of firewood, bananas or plastic buckets…even a six-foot wooden bench. But turn to look out the back window, and already the walkers are gone.

As we reach the streetlights and bustle of Monrovia, a strange thought dawns on me. I can’t really conceive the stories my father told about daily life before power lines reached the family farm in rural Alberta, Canada.

Many children in the Liberian capital would hard-pressed to imagine what their parents describe as life with steady access to energy. At what age do they start to grasp that the rebels who systematically destroyed the energy system ultimately destroyed their own future?