Leaving the capitalist system to go back to the solar system – Written by: Fernando Ortuño
March 22nd, 2020.
-A text about my energy change, collaboration, and how we can get out of the current crisis –
A few years ago, after starting my own business, I undertook an experiment along with my family and we built a life that depended only on the sun. It meant several beginnings: starting a new business, a family life at the coast, and a solar adventure.
The experience of starting a company has made me aware of things I already knew and of others that I had no idea about. Finding solar energy as a way of life and business happened because of a signal I paid attention to, culminating on what until today gives food to our family. Since day one I have never thought or felt anything negative, I only knew that I wanted to do this no matter what happened; the interest has been focused on the amazement of a solar cell functioning. This has led me to experiment what in a capitalist world means to flourish, many times taking us out of focus and taking us out of what is essential. But above all, this had taken me to reflect and question myself about many things that happen in the world and the system we live in.
Since we have had the use of reason and since we were kids, we have turned a switch on and off without asking ourselves where does the energy come from or how much do I have to pay at the end of the month for that power that allows me to have a cold fridge, hot water for the coffee or tea, light that shines on us at night, or something as simple as what makes the blender work for the morning smoothie. We have been raised to think that we will have it forever, that is something that simply exists, that it is in our lives and that has no end.
The fact that we think that energy is unlimited (or have been taught to think this way) has generated, in a direct proportional way, that we have no measure of the growth and impacts that come with producing something that incorporates into a consumer world, from a product that makes our lives easier, an app that teaches us how to exercise, to disposable toys for kids that end up becoming trash.
Over time, the ideas that embodied in any business directly require energy to operate and function, everything moves with energy. We have never stopped to count the impact of the energy we consume in our operation; we only count the energetic expenditure through a bill, just like a number that plays against our personal or business economy. We assume that the energy that comes to us is an unlimited service that will be available if we pay. This is why we have ended up thinking that economy is unlimited as well and that the game of life is about who produces more to see who earns more money in the end.
To a lesser extent it happens that we are aware of the energy we harvest (produce, storage and manage our energy): we think and analyze that the energy is limited and that the more efficient we are, the less energy we will need and therefore, we have products and services that are less harmful to our environment.
Today, more than ever we should ask ourselves: Are we capable of harvesting our energy? To solve this part of the equation is basic and crucial to flourish not only in an economy that, somehow will continue, but in a nature that is asking us desperately that we should do accounts and balance with it. Perhaps this is a viable way in which we can continue to grow consistently and at the rate in which nature grows.
It is time that this analysis shows up in our accounts so that this makes us more aware and automatically put ourselves in a more complex situation, where the challenge is to solve in a permanent and integral way, contrary to how we have been doing globally
Today, more than ever, we should use our resources wisely, being aware that they have a limit, changing the capitalist formula that states that success is reached only at an economic level.
Balance with nature is imminent. It must become a feeling that we perceive head-on as human beings, feeling and seeing it in explicitly rather than implicitly by means of an income statement in an accounting, through financial reasons that supposedly tell us how “healthy” or how “well” our business is.
Our family has been harvesting the energy we need in the past four years and, we can attest that it really penetrates into our behavior and leaves us at the door of a more conscious life. We have become familiar with the different parts of the solar system that sustains us, from the five-year-old kid, to the twelve-year-old one, being the ones that incorporate it to their lives the fastest. Why is it so hard for us adults, decision makers, to understand that we can look at each other as part of the system that we have always belong to? We are beings that exist in a solar system, where we fulfill functions. There is enough for everyone if we align what we want to what we really need.
Finally, in our family we all understand how valuable is the energy storage and how important it is for us to take care of it and use it wisely and efficiently. We know that only during the day we can turn on the A/C to cool a small space to spend the hottest moments of the days, and that, during those hours is when we receive more sunlight. It has also taken us to analyze how we can use water more efficiently since we live in a place where water is limited. Which plants don’t need water? How can we reuse water after treating it? Can we produce some of the food we need in a small space? How can we travel from place to place without generating a negative footprint? What can we do to not use plastic? These are questions among many others, which have made us venture into actions that allow us a degree of self-sufficiency, but more importantly and without realizing it, a degree of balance with our environment. In the end and as a result, we end up with a simplicity feeling that fills us and teach us how to share, and this is only the beginning.
After what we are living as a society at the moment, comes the challenge of implementing and taking advantage of this knowledge at a business level, where challenges are even bigger since it encompasses not only an office operation, but the transportation to be able to carry on with the business. It’s not about become wealthy from selling a product or service, or in our case selling photovoltaic systems, it’s about asking ourselves how can we develop the business and truly be aware and consequent with the balance we need to have with nature. Are we capable of producing the energy we need to make this happen?
These are exciting times that none of the living have experienced, where collaboration is key not only to subsist, but to feel better as a community, as a society, as humanity. Feeling closer to one another makes us produce a shared passion which will be the fuel to achieve any milestone or overcome a challenge. These are times of great opportunities and to take advantage of them correctly, we need to seek for an integral solution, without leaving any of the essential elements behind to achieve it. It is time to become aware of what everything costs in a chain that in the end, becomes a cycle, and that it must and has to spin around of what we marvelously see every day in front of our very own eyes: nature.