Living in urban Canada, my family enjoys the comforts our modern infrastructure provides. Until just recently I hadn’t given much thought to just how much we rely on energy in particular. I started thinking about it more after a discussion with my husband about how he grew up in rural Jamaica with no access to electricity or running water at his home. I couldn’t imagine growing up without access to energy, so much of my life daily life relies on it!
Just think about even just the most basic services in your daily life. Energy is essential for the operation of clean water systems, sewage systems, healthcare and for the provision of lighting, heating and cooling, cooking, transportation and telecommunications services.
That coffee you need to get going every morning? You can thank energy for that and I am not just talking about the electricity needed to turn on your coffee maker! Coffee beans need to be roasted and transported plus they need be to ground up. Don’t forget access to the clean drinking water you brew it with! Each step in brewing that hot cup of joe relies on energy.
We are fortunate to have access to all the energy we need in Canada, as we are blessed with abundant natural resources, including both conventional and unconventional energy resources. This presents us with the opportunity and challenge to develop our resources in a way that not only supports our quality of life and economic strength here at home but also supports the needs of a growing world. Indeed, one of the greatest challenges of our times is the need to reduce our environmental footprint while meeting the growing need for energy.
It is no coincidence that some of the poorest nations are some of the most energy deprived. Energy has a very real and direct impact on economics and the environment. Unfortunately these three Es are not mutually exclusive. Those living in energy deprived nations rely on solid fuels such as wood, charcoal, coal and even animal excrement for cooking and heating. They cannot rely on modern hospital services, clean water supplies, relief from the heat, or even lighting. They must then spend a disproportionate amount of time gathering fuel to meet their families needs. As you can imagine this creates a cycle of generations unable to improve their standard of living; the effects of energy deprivation and poverty is incredibly far reaching.
Today, roughly 98% of Canada’s oil production comes from oil sands but with continued investment in research, technology and development, renewable energy will make up an increasing share of the energy mix. Producing our oil sands resources responsibly will be critical in securing a stable and affordable energy supply as we make the transition to future forms of energy
When you think about it, responsibility with energy needs to go beyond production into how we consume energy. Effective and efficient use of energy makes good sense in business and in our personal budgets. With new economies emerging worldwide, the number of people relying on secure and affordable energy supplies is growing. Most of the energy that is accessible or technologically viable is fossil-fuel based which is why it is so important that we use what we have more efficiently while we look for viable alternatives.
Shell Canada’s operations produce enough energy each day to meet the world’s oil demand for more than four minutes. That may not sound like very much, but that is four minutes, every single day, for nearly seven billion people on the planet.
Shell Canada’s Energy 4 Seven Billion contest
Shell wants you to share your own dream experience, initiative or project and the ways in which energy can be used to help power it. The most creative, innovative submission that also demonstrates how energy can be used responsibly in the experience will win a $25,000 Grand Prize to help make it a reality.
While my bucket list involves a lot of travel, particularly through the UK and Europe as well as to Disney World with my girls, I would gladly give up my chance to experience these dreams if I were able to help bring a community a renewable and reliable energy source. What an amazing and powerful project that would be with such lasting positive effects! Shell has shared some wonderful ways energy is being delivered to those in energy deprived areas of the world and 25 thousand would go a long way towards providing this technology to those most in need of it.
“Energy 4 Seven Billion” runs from June 23, 2014 – September 30, 2014. Canadians, excluding Quebec, can simply go to www.shell.ca/e47b and describe in 500 words or less their dream energy experience, and how energy would play a role in making it happen. Participants then share their idea on their Facebook page and invite family and friends to “like” their experience. The top 10 most “liked” ideas will be finalists and judged by a panel of energy experts to determine the Grand Prize winner based on the following criteria: 1) Taking a creative, novel/innovative approach, 2) Telling a compelling story, 3) Giving thought to the responsible use of energy in making your dream experience come true, and 4) Identifying the correct ways in which energy would help make your experience possible. The other 9 finalists will receive a runner-up prize. The winners will be announced by November 2014.
Whatever your dream experience may be, energy is involved. Check out what other people are wishing for and see how integral and unexpected energy is in our lives on the contest page.
Energy 4 Seven Billion Official Terms & Conditions
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!