photo courtesy Sungevity
It's only 10/6 and the first 10/10/10 Global Work Party event is already over, or will soon be: President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives' new solar panels have been installed on the roof of the presidential residence. The 11.5 kW system was designed by Sungevity in California and installed with the help of local Maldivian staff. On a press call earlier today, President Nasheed touted a number of aspects of the benefits of solar power on his super-low lying nation. Nasheed said,
Solar power helps combat climate change, reduces our dependency on imported oil and more importantly cuts out electricity costs. The Maldives stands at the front line of climate change and we don't have the luxury of time to sit and wait for the rest of the world to cat. We are getting to work to start the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
That transition away from fossil fuels has an target of making the Maldives carbon neutral by 2020.
Which is the quote you get from Sungevity's press release, but frankly other comments made by Nasheed on the call really drive home his commitment--as the first democratically elected president of the Maldives, it's worth noting--to fighting climate change, both through domestic and international action.
President Nasheed post speaking at Klimaforum09 in Copenhagen. Photo: Matthew McDermott
US Government Won't Act Without Citizens Wanting More Action
When asked what he would like more citizens in the US to do fight climate change and help Maldivian efforts, President Nasheed responded:
I think that governments can do very little, unless the people what the government to do more. We have to be able to galvanize the people of the United States into...a little direct action, on raising awareness on the issue. [...] Basically it's up to journalists, the media and civil society to take the word to the people, and make sure their leaders listen to them. As long as the people of the United States are not aware and not willing to move forward, you can't expect the government to be very active about it at all.
White House Solar Plans 'Natural Course of Events'
Commenting on yesterday's announcement by the White House that it would be installing solar panels and a solar hot water heating system--just weeks after rebuffing efforts by Bill McKibben, 350.org and Sungevity to do so, even if the system was free--Nasheed said,
I met with him during Copenhagen and also during last year's UN general assembly. We did discuss at length the situation we are facing. I've always felt that President Obama is a believer. So, in my mind [installing solar panels on the White House] is just the natural course of events.
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More on 10/10/10:
White House Will Install Solar Panels After All, Huzzah!
Nine Days to Go Until 350.org's Work Party on 10/10/10 - Here's Ten Top Events To Inspire Action
Protesting Coal, Roof Painting Parties & Weatherization 'Barnraisings' - More Great 10/10/10 Action
VegPledge Campaign Tackles Every Angle of Greener Eating