Ahmed Mohamed Qaalib (Student)
Mustafe Mohamed Ibrahim (Student)
Hamze Faisal Abdi (Student)
Sarah Brinn Smith (Teacher)
Ubah Abdi Ali (Student)
Abaarso School of Science and Technology
High School History Class
We are from the Abaarso School of Science and Technology, located outside of Hargeisa, Somaliland. We are four 12th grade students who have worked together with our History teacher to come up with an answer to this important question. Together, we have put into action the values of our school, integrity, tenacity and reasoning. Once every other week for the past four months, we have gotten together to brainstorm, discuss, and outline our thoughts into a cohesive argument.
One of the biggest difficulties facing today’s world is how to effectively and efficiently produce energy in the developing, modernizing and most populous countries in the world. We believe the wide scale adoption of sustainable energy technology is one way to overcome this challenge. The way to achieve this goal is through the collaboration of the government and youth in school communities across the world. We’ve identified Africa and Asia as prime locations to start this revolution.
Energy is needed to sustain modern life. Computer technology, electricity and transportation, the lynchpins of mobility, all depend on energy. Today, the vast majority of energy production is reliant on fossil fuels. While this method has allowed our world population to reach unprecedented levels of development, it is not without problems. For instance, oil, the main source of energy in Somaliland, is of finite supply and, consequently, is increasingly scarce and expensive. Moreover, the burning of fossil fuels causes distress to our environment in the form of pollution. Oxygen, water and fertile soil, resources crucial to human health and survival, are negatively impacted by pollution.
Beyond fossil fuels, other sources of energy are readily available. These resources include solar heat, water and wind. Solar energy panels, wind turbines, hydropower electricity, bioenergy fuel, hydrogen fuel, and geothermal electricity are examples of energy technologies that harness the power of renewable sources from our Earth and sun. So-called “green” energy resources are more abundant, cheaper and cleaner than their fossil fuel counterparts. The use of such resources would clear up the issue of energy scarcity and the plague of pollution. Although these technologies already exist, unfortunately such modes of energy production are not as widely disseminated or utilized.
Just as our small group of five people has done over the past few months, our diverse world population must work together in order to achieve the goal of utilizing new energy technologies on a wider scale. We believe collaboration starts in the classroom. In school, we are socialized to interact with others and become members of our community. Just as education is needed to establish academic literacy in society, our community habits and attitudes are also formed in school.
This is why investment in sustainable energy should target the young generation. Governments and providers should vow to make sustainable energy an integral part of educational curriculum in primary and secondary schools across the world. Students will not only learn about solar energy or hydropower; Youths will witness the use of these technologies on the school campus and will play a role in maintaining and operating the equipment. Every day, students will build the habit of using and living with such technologies. This experience should allow future generations to make an easy transition to using sustainable energy technology in greater society.
The most populous and youthful societies are distributed across the developing countries of Africa and Asia. The challenges associated with using fossil fuels pose a serious problem for countries in this demographic, such as Somaliland, that are just beginning to develop the wide spread use of energy. For instance, in China, the most populous country in the world and one of the most rapidly developing, burning coal is the government-sponsored method of producing heat. In the city of Beijing, where our teacher has spent much of her life going to school and working, the sizeable population that has adopted the use of solar technology is completely at a loss during the winter months when the burning of coal creates a black haze that covers the entire city. This example illustrates that our societies must be incentivized to embrace sustainable technologies as the primary source of energy in order to be effective on a wide scale. It also points to the necessity of collaboration across different levels of society.
The youths of developing communities across the world will be the forbearers of the sustainable energy revolution. We, the youth, are the future leaders of tomorrow. As we are just beginning our journey down the road of energy production, our habits are not yet solidified and we are in a good position to champion these technologies and promote their greater use.
At Abaarso School, we have initiated this process. Located on the top of a mountain in the desert, Abaarso is in a prime position to employ solar and wind energy. In 2014, Abaarso School was the recipient of a $50,000 USD grant for being the runner-up in the Global High Schools Category for the Zayed Future Energy Prize. Among the energy-saving and renewable technologies the prize has allowed our school to establish, the use of solar water heaters has eliminated the reliance on fuels used to heat water for bathing and cooking. The grant also helped the school continue the process of constructing a wind turbine, which will decrease our reliance on our expensive fuel-burning generator. As part of the grant, volunteers from the ARC Initiative traveled to our school to install the new technologies and transfer their knowledge to the students and teachers about sustainable energy. At Abaarso, we hope to set an example this century as we call for the greater implementation of sustainable energy technologies in schools and communities throughout the world.
As we face the eminent burden of a fossil fuel shortage in the process of transforming and modernizing our societies, it is high time to heavily invest in sustainable energy technology. Collaboration of governments, energy architects and educational institutions for the youth is the key to successful implementation. In Africa, initiatives such as the Zayed Future Energy Prize, USAID’s Power Africa and the African Development Bank’s Sustainable Energy Fund are supporting the dream of sustainable energy. It is the communities, such as our Abaarso School, that will make the implementation of sustainable energy a reality. As the future of Somaliland, our commitment to sustainable energy in our nation is our commitment to our continent and to our world.