What Would Life Be Like Without Electricity?
Sleepily, I roll onto my back and let out a deep, long sigh. I feel hot and sticky, which strikes me as strange, considering I left the air con turned on last night.
The discomfort however isn’t enough to warrant getting out of bed.
I fall back asleep.
The sound of people shouting incoherently outside on the street below startles me.
What time is it? I wonder. Have I slept through my alarm?
Disturbed and unable to relax again, I feel around blindly for my iPhone on the nightstand. Yanking it free from its charger, I raise it up above me and squint at the screen.
Usually, this kind of movement is enough for it to light up. Impatiently, I sigh again and push down hard on the home button.
I grab my glasses and try again.
“Um, hello?!” I sarcastically moan out loud. “I charged you last night, what’s going on?”
Confused and frustrated, I sit upright, as if acquiring a more serious position will make all the difference.
After about 5 minutes of messing around with different button combinations, I give up.
Screw you Steve Jobs and your overly expensive piece of crap!
I contemplate hurling the phone across the room when a wave of panic swiftly creeps up my back.
Am I late for work?
I literally have no idea what time it is.
A feeling of guilt, mixed with undeserved privilege and embarrassment sweeps over me.
Wait! I still have my laptop! I smile with joy. Who needs a phone, anyway?
Jumping out of bed, I rush over to my desk and flip open the screen.
My heart sinks.
I’m greeted with the exact same black nothingness as my phone.
Jeez, is Steve Jobs haunting me from the grave or is this some kind of twisted game?
Shaking off the heebie-jeebies, I quickly run through my options in my head.
Watch? Nah, the battery died on that in 2002.
Clock? Um, I don’t own one.
Microwave? Erm, it’s flashing red…
Loud shouting once again grabs my attention.
I’m closer to the window now than before, and I can clearly hear what’s being said.
“C’est un blackout, quoi!”
“Non, non, en fait, c’est absolument le fin du monde!”
Shaking my head in disbelief, I almost laugh out loud.
Wow, this must be what lucid dreaming is all about, huh? Good one. I must remember to write about it in my dream journal when I finally wake up.
After what feels like an eternity, I realise that I still haven’t moved from my spot by the window.
I pinch myself.
I’m definitely not dreaming then.
Okay, this is super weird.
Still unconvinced that there’s been a power outage, I decide to explore the rest of the apartment.
However, switch after switch, yields no light.
Flush after flush, brings no joy.
Not to mention, there’s a rather weird smell coming from the fridge…
Tired and in need of caffeine, I decide to investigate the Nespresso machine.
Please God. Let there be coffee…
Hoping for the best, I press the button.
Previous confusion is momentarily replaced with anger before quickly dissolving into fear.
White. Hot. Fear.
I’m now acutely aware of the fact that I’m a) alone and b) with no form of communication to the outside world.
It suddenly dawns on me.
How am I going to contact my boyfriend, who’s working 5 minutes away?
How am I going to update my Facebook with the “marked safe during Blackout” status?
Yet, most troubling of all, how am I even going to begin to deal with this situation without my morning chai latte??!
Every millennial’s nightmare, right?
According to Joel Gordes, research director for the US Cyber Consequences Unit, all of us in the western world are “woefully unprepared for any large-scale geographic outage”.
In fact, we are so dependant on readily available power, that many of us take it for granted. Indeed, the majority of people when asked what life would be like without electricity, moan about lack of wifi and phone connection.
However, the issue goes a lot deeper than that.
Without power, we’d actually have to relearn how to cook, wash ourselves and our clothes, entertain each other, and travel from city to city, country to country. We’d have to find other alternatives to health care and disease prevention. Indeed, without proper working hospitals and preservation of antibiotics and vaccines, medical treatment would be almost non existent.
In truth, we’d be rendered utterly clueless, helpless and hopeless.
Now, many of you may scoff at me, chalking it up to a highly unlikely post-apocalyptic world that only exists in science fiction film.
But what if I told you that there are in fact 1.2 billion people in the world right now who are living without electricity? That’s 17% of the world’s population! And of that percentage, 173 million are actually living in urban areas.
That means no jobs or economic infrastructure.
That means that at night, there are no street lights to guide and provide people with safety.
That means lack of proper sewage drainage system resulting in high levels of infectious diseases and in some cases, even death.
At Electrify, we don’t think that’s acceptable.
We strongly believe that everyone has the right to electricity, regardless of where they live in the world.
To us, electricity is as essential to human life as water and air.
But not just any kind of electricity, it has to be GREEN electricity, or in other words clean energy.
Because aside from the well known fact that burning fossil fuels for energy is harmful to us and the environment, the current electricity system in the modern world is centralised. And we don’t agree with centralisation.
So, what’s the solution?
For us, the answer relies on Blockchain technology. In fact, we are building a fully decentralised ecosystem, using Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), which will not only benefit the environment, but also every individual person on the planet, from the western to the developing world.
Wow, I hear you gasp. How’s that even possible?
Well, glad you asked.
Our first step involves the deployment of microgrids, primarily in Africa and South East Asia, which will allow households to produce their own clean energy independently from the main power grid. This is great news for rural villages that would otherwise have no access to electricity. It’s also fantastic news for when fossil fuels run out (because they will) and we still need electricity to power our modern lives.
Resilient, reliable and green microgrids will also give communities throughout the world the best chance of survival, whether a natural disaster (caused by climate change), a cyber attack (due to terrorists) or a zombie apocalypse (hey, it could happen) brings down the main power grid.
By themselves, clean energy and microgrids are an excellent solution to the issues mentioned, however, we believe that much more can be done.
We have a much bigger vision.
Indeed, we imagine a future of smart cities based on the values of the sharing economy, where energy is traded from peer to peer, freely and without barriers.
Decentralisation of energy is the future.
Electrify Network is the future.
Victoria Goulding is a UX Designer, Freelance Writer & Blockchain Evangelist, who believes in the power of stories.