Two extracts from the first chapter of my new book set out its premise. Like the previous book, it will be a live serialised linear narrative, telling a vital story of our times as it unfolds. The two scenes in the first chapter are in the Albert Hall, London, and at the 2017 Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan.
“The idea has grown on me that the conundrum of expensive and high-carbon kerosene vastly outselling inexpensive and zero-carbon solar is a defining test of humankind’s instinct for collective survival. If we cannot quickly replace oil-for-lighting with solar lighting, given all the blindingly obvious economic and social imperatives for so doing, what chance do we have with all the many other global problems we face? In an age of climate treaties and UN Sustainable Development Goals, where we are making progress on many fronts, how can we be taking so long to kick this open goal? How can we be failing this test?”
“An ambitious notion is beginning to take shape in my mind, triggered by my experience in the Albert Hall a week ago. Sitting in that hall, that night, were companies and organisations that could eradicate the kerosene lamp from the world within a matter of years, if they chose to work together with seriousness of intent. There were plenty not present who could add considerable fuel to such a campaign. It seems clear to me now what SolarAid should do in the next year. We should try to work with enough of those companies and organisations, in clever enough ways, that we play a useful role – maybe a catalytic role, if we can – in ensuring that civilisation passes The Test.
How exactly? Next week I leave for Africa, and a tour of SolarAid’s front line nations. I will learn much on that trip that I can’t glean from an armchair in London. After it, I am hoping a plan will take shape.”
You can read Chapter 1 here: The Test.
I really hope you will find this, and the subsequent episodes, worth the chronciling. As with the previous book, I look forward to the impact of people-power editing. Each chapter will be edited, in the light of incoming comments, when the next chapter is published. In this way I hope that the book ends up as accurate and fair as I can make it, and if people end up not liking what I write, at least they will consider it that.