Butterflies

Use Sustainable Energy

Kill fossil fuels before they kill us.

As Butterflies go this one’s pretty sizable. It’s big, like the Queen Alexandra Birdwing butterfly’s big with its wingspan of 32cm. But that makes it sound nerdy when actually it’s cool. It’s more like a hawk. Cool like a hawk from the wrong side of the tracks with attitude to the max and something to prove. Or cool like a pterodactyl using a Blackberry on a skateboard, wearing a leather jacket and swearing.

The planet’s been getting a bit of a kicking lately – since about the start of the industrial revolution – but now we’re fixing that with our efforts. Save a bit of energy, go for sustainable materials and Bob should be your etc. But everything we’re doing to cut down on our energy use is within the limits of our dirty-bad energy supply: coal and oil, I’m looking at you. We’ve known for decades that fossil fuels would doom us to Waterworlds, Days After Tomorrow and Maxes both Sane and Mad, but still we pump them out to power our electric lemon zesters. People, this is madness.

There are alternatives. Switching to clean, renewable, sustainable sources of energy is the Butterfly of Butterflies. Unless I’ve referred to another Butterfly as the Butterfly of Butterflies. There are a lot of these knocking about now; I lose track of what jokes I’ve used already. The point is: this Butterfly is big. Big like the Queen Alexandra Birdwing butterfly’s big with its wingspan of… No, that one’s ringing a bell.

With renewable energy we’re talking the stuff of sci-fi movies: Wind, wave, hydro, solar and biogen. And since this Butterfly was first online our use of renewables has rocketed, by which I mean I’m taking the credit. By 2019, renewables accounted for 20% of energy use in the UK and 11% in the US – the latter at a time when the place was run by a batshit crazy climate denier who loves coal almost as much as cocaine, Adderall and adult nappies. The task now is to get that to 100% all the time everywhere.

As the market grows, renewables become easier to access. In the UK the big six – British Gas, EDF, e-on, npower, Scottish Power and SSE – all offer green tariffs, although their greenness is complicated. Electricity pours into the national grid from dirty-bad coal, future-saving renewables and Kremzeeks, and gets mixed in together. When you sign up for a green tariff you could technically be making a cup of tea with dirty-bad coal but somewhere in the process your supplier will buy renewable energy certificates, generating or paying for renewable-generated electricity to match their percentage of green tariff customers. Greenpeace, Ofgem and Which have all been concerned about the potential for this to be just another round of empty corporate greenwashing, which isn’t unlikely given fossil fuel companies are genocidal capitalists that make 1950s cigarette companies look like a toddler’s lemonade stand.

Some companies go further. In 2020, Scottish Power committed to fully renewable electricity from its own renewable sources – a massive change from one of the sinister six – while smaller operators like Bulb, Ecotricity and Octopus Energy have been at it for years. Some of them also offer carbon-neutral gas, which will have to do while we’re waiting to ditch the mucky shit altogether.

While all this is encouraging there’s a predictable downside: it’ll cost you. Go to a comparison site – yer Money Supermarket, yer Big Clean Switch – you’ll notice fully renewable companies tend to be a bit pricier. But us Zeroes are beyond the fallacy of bargain buys. We know cheap clothes can mean sweatshops, cheap food can mean big footprints and cheap power can mean ploughing through finite fossil fuels, filling the air with CO2 and wiping out the species. Paying a few quid to keep humanity going isn’t that big an ask. Not when you’re getting a big, cool Butterfly like this. Big and cool like a flying Dinobot possessed by the spirit of Samuel L Jackson doing an impression of Henry Winkler in a Parisian beat café. Go switch!

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Photo credit: The Zero

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