People with no access to an electrical grid or power source (generators, solar panels) have no access to the internet or to 21st century business opportunities, and nearby educational facilities are probably inadequate to prepare them for success in a hot, flat, crowded world.
Thomas Friedman argues in his book Hot, Flat, and Crowded that environmental and climate factors will make life exponentially more difficult in undeveloped areas of the world, as lack of access to electricity and education will keep even talented and ambitious people from escaping parts of the world devastated by drought, deforestation, or other environmental catastrophes.
I don’t recall much news coverage of this issue, and the author contends it hasn’t received widespread attention. My August 2009 Internet search turned up a number of recent sources on the topic, though, including:
Energy Poverty 101 (from Center for American Progress)
Energy Poverty Action (from the World Economic Forum)
Both of these documents, and others, cite health and environmental problems arising from the need to burn “biomass” such as wood or dung for fuel and heat (CO2 emissions and deforestation problems from biomass burning were highlighted in the previous post).
Next on Sunroom Desk: Yet another threat to the rainforest – biodiversity loss.