Our environment and society is threatened by fuel shortages, a changing climate and energy wars. In our race for survival we are awakened to the simple truth that the essential condition of sustainability lies in our ability to live within the limits and renewability of natural resources. It invokes within us an urgent need for transition from an obsolete, destructive and unsustainable energy path to a sustainable path of innovation, renewable energy and peace. The good news is that the technology required to make this transition is already available.
From an author with over thirty years' experience campaigning for and setting up renewable energy projects around the world, this book is unique for its interdisciplinary approach-interweaving technology, economics, environmental science, philosophy, history, spirituality and politics, asserting that to understand the crisis and find a sustainable solution requires a holistic perspective. Readers will understand the vast renewable resource we have at our disposal in the form of solar, wind, water, heat and biogas, and the technologies used to harness this power. There are also the emerging prospects of solar hydrogen fuel cells, biofuels and geothermal. The true economic advantages of a shift to a renewables-based economy (and how we can get there) are also laid out clearly. There's much to learn from examples around the world while we devise local and appropriate solutions.
Written for a crossover readership of students, educators, professionals, academics, activists and policymakers, both nationally and internationally, this is a comprehensive but readable and practical book that will inspire readers to wake others up to our renewable solutions.
Table of Contents
Preface Racing for Survival: Transitioning to a Renewable Energy Path 1. The Sun: The Enduring Light 2. Power to the People: Renewable Energy Technologies-Now! 3. 'A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words' 4. From The Collapsing Economy to A Sustainable Economy: The Real Economic Advantages of Renewable Energy Technologies 5. The Renewable Revolution: Turning Vision into Action 6. An Act of Dialogue Notes Acknowledgements
Sajed Kamal, EdD, teaches in the Sustainable International Development program at Brandeis University and has been involved in the field for more than thirty years as a lecturer and consultant internationally, setting up projects in the United States, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Armenia and El Salvador. He is also an award-winning poet, artist, educational consultant, psychotherapist, translator and published author of a dozen books and many articles in a wide range of areas. In 2007, he was awarded Boston 'Mayor's First Annual Green Award for Community Leadership in Energy and Climate Protection' and in 2008, a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, New England Region. The 'Greener Issue' of The Boston Sunday Globe Magazine on September 28, 2008, featured him as one of the 'Six local heroes whose work is having rippling effects-at home and far away-in making the world a better place.'
'A vision of reconciliation between humanity and the planet.' Ross Gelbspan, Pulitzer Journalist and author, The Heat Is On and Boiling Point 'Sajed Kamal reminds us what we intuitively know - that we must make the transition toward renewable energy as soon as is humanly possible, that continuing to rely on fossil fuel poisons our world with every hour that passes. Even more powerfully, though, he reminds us how possible that transition is. Equally competent with a spreadsheet and a bank of batteries, Kamal is the navigator we need to sail with confidence into this new century.' Bill McKibben, Author of The End of Nature, The Age of Missing Information and Fight Global Warming Now 'Sajed Kamal's book is an immensely important contribution to our understanding of what is happening to our planet and what we can do about it. He combines the careful research of the scientist with the passionate imagination of the poet. I hope The Renewable Revolution will be widely read.' Howard Zinn, Author of A People's History of the United States and You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train 'Dr Kamal lives and writes a vision. It is a vision of reconciliation between humanity and the planet - a reconciliation that is accomplished through the medium of energy - natural energy, spiritual energy, clean energy. In plumbing the implications of solar technology for our survival, Dr Kamal has identified the transcendent nature of that technology. Solar energy, he reveals, is far more than a simple source of electricity and warmth. It provides an elemental bridge between a history which has been based on depletion and exploitation and a future which, if it is to exist at all, must be based on balance, renewal and a most practical harmony with our species' home.' Ross Gelbspan, Pulitzer Journalist and author, The Heat Is On and Boiling Point 'The great value in this book is the picture it conveys of renewable energy today: the long sought transition is no longer a hope for the future, it is already underway. This is a fine survey of the many applications of solar technologies.' Howard Ris, President, Union of Concerned Scientists (1981-2003) 'An important tale that has to be told and Dr Kamal tells it with the passion and precision that's needed. But, The Renewable Revolution is more than a message-solutions are offered and it's our job to follow the solar course so elegantly set for us.' Jane Weissman, Executive Director, Interstate Renewable Energy Council 'An excellent treatise on the practical use of renewable energy. Sajed Kamal has not only pleaded for the worldwide use of renewable energy, but also proven its practical utility in supplying energy to promote sustainable development of communities. He has proven with illustrations, many from his own experiences, that harnessing renewable energy is not only environmentally sound, but also economically viable and socially acceptable.' Kazi F. Jalal, PhD, Harvard University Extension School Environmental Studies Program and co-author of Introduction to Sustainable Development 'In the face of the growing reality of climate change and its devastating worldwide consequences we need solutions. An urgent transition to the renewable energy path is fundamental in that solutions mix. The Renewable Revolution, an exceptional combination of scholarship, personal experience and inspiring examples, charts the path. This comprehensive and highly readable book is both an indispensible educational resource and a tool for action.' Saleemul Huq, PhD, Director, Climate Change Programme, International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED) and lead Author, IPCC Report, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, 2008 'Dr Sajed Kamal proves once again that he is a most thoughtful and knowledgeable advocate of sustainable solar energy and its critical potential contribution for our future. The Renewable Revolution needs to be read by decision-makers at the World Bank, the UNDP, as well as the smallest community-based organizations if the costly mistakes of current policies are not to continue to pollute and impoverish us, threatening our sustainability.' Prof. Laurence R. Simon, Professor and Director, Program in Sustainable International Development, Brandeis University, Massachusetts, USA and former advisor, the World Bank and the UNDP 'At this time of darkness when most people have given in to despair, apathy and powerlessness, Sajed Kamal's book is a true beacon of light. It is hopeful, inspiring and practical. It shows the way to the resolution of the global energy crisis as well as the deeper moral crisis in which the so-called environmental crisis is embedded. A powerful and compassionate work.' Asoka Bandarage, PhD, Author, Women, Population, and Global Crisis: A Political Economic Analysis and Visiting Professor, Elliot School of International Affairs, Georgetown University 'Clear, insightful and compelling. The Renewable Revolution provides us with inspiring examples and information to understand how renewable energy is succeeding, together with the moral vision to realize that we must.' Bruce Allen, Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Seisen University, Tokyo, Japan. 'All life is one-interconnected and interdependent with the rest of Nature. We can survive only if this right understanding is acquired and cultivated. Sajed Kamal conveys this message where knowledge, wisdom, intuition, experience and vision are all combined with a clear agenda for the novice as well as the expert. This one book contains everything that one may seek in one hundred books.' Dr A. T. Ariyaratne, President, Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya, Sri Lanka 'The Renewable Revolution is not just another book on alternative energies: the author is a scientist and a poet as well. He not only started 'solar revolution' projects in different parts of the world, he also lives what he preaches. He brings 'Head and heart and hands together,' as the Swiss pioneer in education, Heinrich Pestalozzi, suggested. All this shines through in this very well written and richly illustrated book and makes it an outstanding tool in this crucial time of change.' Martin Vosseler, M.D. Founder of PSR/IPPNW Switzerland, co-founder of the Swiss Physicians for the Environment and of 'sun21' 'By suggesting alternatives to the readers' habitual actions, The Renewable Revolution could evoke positive actions.' Lauren Landry, Feenway News, April 2010. 'He aims to make the reader fully aware of all that they have to offer in the wide variety of forms and localities in which they are increasingly employed' Bryan Walker