Fighting climate change is the responsibility of the people and civil society. This is the belief expressed by 56.5% of the 1,400 French citizens who participated in a public debate in September 2015 on issues surrounding the Paris Climate Summit (see survey). This number is striking, for while the answer ‘signing of an international treaty’ received backing by 72.2% of the participants as one might expect, it is far greater than the proportion of citizens who attributed this responsibility to national governments (25.5%). This is an exciting result for all those interested in tackling climate change and its significance is simple: for this issue, more than others, the onus lies with us.
In the face of the anxiety-inducing nature of climate change and the helplessness it generates, many have had the idea to give the people the power to act. For many in my native France and surely a number of other cultures, this can imply a type of contribution that at first thought can be cause for discomfort: money. Yet the equation is simple: our savings has the power to change our energy.
People working for the planet
Among the most significant initiatives in this sense is the emergence of crowdfunding platforms, especially those exclusively dedicated to financing sustainable energies. These initiatives are working! Each individual, with his or her own means, can help make the energy transition a reality. Such action is much more concrete than waiting for the solution to come from the top!
In Germany, for example, nearly 900 energy cooperatives – the predecessors of crowdfunding platforms – are bringing together local residents to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. They helped to support the development of renewable energy, particularly wind, in proportions similar to those which France needs today. It is obvious – the solution lies with us. Luckily, our pooled resources are not trivial. Indeed, the savings of French households amounted to €4,259 billion or 10 times the state budget in 2015!
The power of our savings
Realising the power that we hold goes against conventional wisdom. This power has been strengthened by the digital revolution as well as by new legislation on crowdfunding arising in countries throughout Europe. In France, the new law on the energy transition will soon multiply this potential for positive change.
Each of us can decide to act. If every French person decided to put 10% of his or her savings towards sustainable energy projects tomorrow, 100% of the energy transition in France would be financed; the situation is surely similar for most other European countries.
Our savings actually have the power to change the world and the sources energy upon which we rely. This will remain true regardless of the outcome of any international treaty! We can no longer say that we did not know.
By Alex Raguet
CEO of Lumo www.lumo-france.com
This article was originally published on Citizenergy.eu