Sometimes we flick through headlines without giving them a second thought; we readily accept the destruction and devastation in the world without thinking about the causes and consequences. Beth Thayne takes a step back and looks at what is happening around us from a different perspective. Be ready to agree, be ready to disagree, but most of all, be ready to look twice at our world and see it with a fresh pair of eyes.
You’re sitting scrolling through Reddit on a Saturday afternoon, putting off that coursework you really should be doing in favour of pictures of oversized vegetables and gifs of back-flipping goats when BAM! The lights go off. You shrug it off and continue to scroll. You click on an entertaining looking picture of a girl wrapped in Lidl bags and you are told that you are not connected to the Internet. You wander through to the router, cursing under your breath about the bloody broadband and see that none of the lights are flashing. You turn it off and on again at the wall but nothing happens. A power cut. Damn.
On the 1st of November, Bangladesh experienced a nation-wide blackout. The entire country pretty much lost power at noon and 24 hours later only 60% of the country had regained electricity, leaving 40% still in the dark.
Imagine a full day without electricity. You’re shut off from the rest of the world, left alone with your own thoughts.
Imagine a full day without electricity. No Wi-Fi – that’s fine, you’ve got 3G, right? But then your shitty smart phone dies because you haven’t charged it for four hours. You’re shut off from the rest of the world, left alone with your own thoughts and you don’t even think about everyone else struggling on, powerless.
Industries all across Bangladesh went into shut down mode, unable to continue without electricity. Hospitals and the international airport in the capital, Dhaka, were forced to run off of emergency generators. Not ideal.
But what happened? Who turned off the lights? The source of the problem was a failure on the transmission line running from West Bengal in India to the Kushtia district in the south of Bangladesh. This transmission line carries electricity from India to Bangladesh. That’s right. Bangladesh relies almost completely on Indian electricity.
It’s not exactly a promising sign if the entire country becomes literally powerless when one transmission line goes askew
Although the power cut only lasted a day or two, it’s not exactly a promising sign if the entire country becomes literally powerless when one transmission line goes askew, but importing electricity is necessary; Bangladesh is one of the energy-poorest nations in the world. The blackout has ironically shed light on a problem that plagues not just energy-poor nations, but all of us. More than half (53.8%) of the EU’s energy consumption comes from imported resources. The UK alone imports 45% of its energy. Can you imagine the uproar if London suddenly had no power? It’s almost unthinkable. No streetlights, no coffee machines, no underground. The city would almost inarguably come to a standstill. 45% of our energy is out of our control. Now here is the frightening thing. The failure in the transmission line between India and Bangladesh was a technical fault, an accident. But what if countries exporting energy started exerting their power over us. What if we accidentally pissed off The Netherlands and they decided to snip the line. What if Putin finally lost it and decided that the EU’s punishment was to lose its oil (of which 34.8% comes from Russia.)
Surely now is the time for enlightenment, or else risk plunging ourselves into darkness
With the shaky political climate we live in, and ever-tense international relations, shouldn’t our priority lie in becoming self-sufficient? Shouldn’t we put all of our power into our own power? Unlike Bangladesh, we have the technology and the capability to produce energy. Surely now is the time for enlightenment, or else risk plunging ourselves into darkness.