This week a conference in Istambul, promoted by Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci, gathered many solar energy scientists with a scientific as well as political aim. A thoughtful declaration was established, which highlights the fact that solar energy is correlated with a peaceful, clean, democratic, green and sustainable future for mankind. See the full petition below, and don’t forget to sign it.
Following this event, and International Summer School on Solar Energy was celebrated at the International Center for Theoretical and Applied Physics near Marmaris. There was a wonderful opening talk by professor Walter Kohn, Nobel laurate in chemistry (1998) that spoke of a life of science and humanity, facing adversity at difficult times, always taking the best side of the people around. It was a truly moving speech, by the height of intellectual achievements as well as by the good humor and the force of never forgetting the dramas and sufferings of the past.
I will never forget when he said that when he was still very young, an organization established by certain peoples eventually led to the murder of his parents. This is of course the Holocaust, that took great force in Austria. But the way he expresses it removes the moisture of an abstract fate of history and points to real persons that devise a system, in which no one seems anymore responsible. It is a social fact, a set of rules that function with some unavoidable necessity. But Kohn really points the finger to the persons, someone did it, many accepted and supported for it to work. The horrific, simple consequence of murder of the loved ones, happened.
Today, also “organizations” exists that justify the sanctity of society, the acts and decisions that affect so many. We should not forget the not so distant past when states and other social constructions led to terrible crashes causing immense suffering. Today we are living enormous crisis but we cannot see very well the faces of the organizations, the great causes, they will be apparent only in the future. But in my country, and in many others, a few “organizations” have caused huge suffering and misery to millions. They are backed up by the market forces, the justification is the functioning of economy. Of course the market economy bring enormous wealth and progress. But in Spain, and in other places, a few large companies in energy, banking, and a few more issues, simply exploit the whole population with total support from supposedly democratic politicians. Competition is a joke, there are monopolies and they are ruthless. Really big companies pay less taxes than a couple of dentists.
We should support all the positive aspects of the modern society. But perhaps something more is needed, than just looking at the other citizens in terms of what can they do for my own interest. Maybe some ideology should complement the free market so that we can look at others seeing their humanity, feeling some compassion when the times of disgrace arrive, having social motivations that lead to actions. In the time of total connectivity of the peoples throughout the world, any strong case for solidarity seems to be vanishing from the real forces that shape the society. Energy is one of the crucial issues that will demonstrate if a future of fairness and well being can be arranged for mankind and not just to a few. So please read the refreshing Sariciftci declaration.
Petition for using the solar energy for a peaceful, democratic future for the world
We, the undersigned to this letter, wish to emphasize the potential contribution of solar energy to a peaceful and democratic future for our planet.
Energy is essential for the development of human society. It is the right of every human to have access to energy sources for sustaining a dignified standard of living. With fossil fuels as the dominant source of energy in modern societies, being depleted at an alarming pace, energy becomes a commodity for those who can afford it. Hundreds of millions of people in the developing world have no access to affordable energy for a sustainable life. Even the developed countries have to spend a major part of their national income for importing fossil fuels. This dependency imposes a heavy economic burden and associated volatility. Today human society looks like a “fossil fuel addict” throwing away its future.
The control of fossil fuel supplies by a few corporations at both the international and national levels permits an oligarchy to undermine any true democracy in future.
In contrast to nuclear and fossil energies, which are associated with catastrophes, wars, inequality and power politics, solar energy is correlated with a peaceful, clean, democratic, green and sustainable future for mankind. Solar energy can never be monopolized. Human society needs decentralized solar energy for realization of global democratization. With energy independence and autonomy through solar energy, the world will have a better prospect to realize global democratization and prosperity and to ensure harmony among regions, nations and people. Solar light is widely distributed on our planet and has the capacity of providing many orders of magnitude more energy than we consume as a human society today.
With this motivation in mind the delegates of the conference “Solar Energy for World Peace” (www.solar4peace.org ) came together in Istanbul to exchange scientific information on new solar energy technologies. A particular aim of this meeting has been the transfer of know how to the developing countries in Africa and the Middle East, with emphasis on the need for mutual cooperation at the scientific and technical levels in order to make this technology available to every human being on earth with equal rights to this free source of energy.
The undersigned participants request responsible persons at all national and international political levels to support the research, development and dissemination of solar energy. As scientists and engineers, we will strive to create the science and technology needed to harvest and utilize solar energy economically for all people on our planet. The future of human society and of our planet will depend upon the widespread use of solar energy as an abundant, free and clean source of energy