We have long known that our Earth, our most precious heritage, was fragile and threatened by our productivist and globalized economic models. In this unique health crisis, we now understand – in coughs, fevers and unfortunately sometimes mourning – that humanity itself is vulnerable, but also – through shortages of health protection equipment or tensions over the food supply chain – that our globalized system has reached its limits. Let us learn from the unprecedented and painful period that we are going through to accelerate the ecological transition via the development of local sectors, and this in all sectors, starting with the most vital: health and food of course, but also energy.
Solidarity and Support as ramparts for fuel poverty
Humanity has changed in a few days from an open world, where everything was traveling without brakes, to a world where one can no longer deviate from more than 100 meters from home without written proof. As a direct effect of confinement, the electricity consumption of household households has increased significantly (around + 15% on average according to our assessments). This unusual consumption constitutes an additional budget which is far from arriving at the best time, in particular for households already affected financially by loss of income, often due to a work stoppage for childcare, a partial start-up or even closing a business.
This crisis, if it is of a health nature, tends like the previous ones, to accentuate even more the existing social inequalities. However, we have seen it in the past: in terms of energy, poor management of a crisis can have long-term consequences. Take the example of the oil crisis of the 1970s. It led to a massive introduction of electric heating in France without this new use being accompanied by information on good consumption or insulation practices, electricity then being predominantly nuclear and inexpensive. Above all, a productivist logic, which has greatly contributed to fuel poverty for the next 30 years.
As of today, we must reflect and find the support methods that will allow us to avoid this type of dramatic consequences after the crisis. So that everyone starts by reducing their energy consumption, we must first – players in the energy sector – to share our knowledge, our advice and tips for better consumption. Only, faced with the urgency of the situation, it is not only advice that the French need, but also concrete, human actions. In this fragile world, mutual aid must be our guide. We can see the impact of this crisis and not change anything. Or we can make the more courageous choice of solidarity. The only choice, I am convinced, that will bring the strength that our fellow citizens, our country, our planet, need.
Stop productivism, localism at the end of the crisis
If we came out of the oil crisis through a productivist logic, it is now essential to make a return to the locality. The controversial subject of health masks is a glaring example of the limits of our globalized economic models. The result of offshoring policies aimed at producing at low cost, we no longer have the necessary means of production on national, even European, territory today. The same is true in the energy sector. The virus, which first affected China and slowed down its economy, has complicated the supplies of producers of renewable energies, in particular in photovoltaic panels.
If we want to emerge larger from this crisis, without it slowing us down, but rather allowing it to accelerate the dynamic of energy transition that has started, we must choose a supply of renewable energy produced exclusively locally, therefore, for who concerns us, in France. Local energy production that will create value in France by promoting local jobs, social integration and the agricultural transition. While containment measures offer nature the possibility of gradually regaining its rights and radically change the relationship we have with it, let us make sure that this pandemic is not an obstacle to ecological transition, but rather an accelerator and the starting point for a new, more local economy. The answer must be collective and we all have to do our part: states, governments, elected officials, associations, businesses and citizens.