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How social media can drive the conversation on renewable energy

The Paris Climate Accord signaled the first step in a global endeavor to recognize and combat the threat posed by climate change. The Agreement saw majority of the countries across the globe commit to curb their greenhouse gas emissions and help curtail climate change. This in turn brought renewable energy to the forefront of the public eye as a key component to achieve this goal.

If the world is to win the battle against climate change then there is need to wean ourselves off the dependency on unsustainable energy sources. Renewable/green energy sources such as solar, wind, tidal and geothermal heat offer the best solution to this problem. There is thus need for public education on the cons of unsustainable energy and pros of renewable energy.

In several parts of the world there is a dependence on energy sources like charcoal and diesel powered engines which in turn have had a detrimental effect to the environment. Steps are being taken to address this as highlighted by a recent article by GDC MD and CEO Eng. Johnson P Ole Nchoe that discussed the need to introduce new energy sources. The conversation on these alternatives is still however far and wide.

With the onset of the digital age, the statement ‘information is power’ rings true. Social media has already provided a tool for change in other spheres of public life such as politics, corporate engagement and governance. Nelson Mandela is quoted saying that education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. With regards to green energy, social media offers the new frontier for education and advocacy especially with the decline of traditional media. Through social media there is a platform to drive the conversation on what impact green energy can have not only on a macro but also on a micro level globally.

On a global level, platforms like Facebook and Youtube have already surpassed the billion mark in terms of users. The Communication Authority of Kenya estimates the Internet penetration in Kenya to be above 85 percent. According to Facebook, there are 6.1 million Kenyans on Facebook and Nendo, a digital research company, estimates there are 2.2 million monthly active Kenyans on Twitter. 1 million of them use Twitter every day.

The medium is a powerful tool not just to inform but, of most importance, to engage. Engagement through social media allows for a two-way conversation where stakeholders in the energy sector not only pass on information but are given instant feedback from the public. This can be used to not only answer questions that arise but assuage any doubts and misconceptions with relation to green energy. Through social media the public has easier access to industry leaders and policy makers and can help further the agenda to incorporate green energy alternatives.

Social media also allows for a versatility in messaging by incorporating different forms of media from text to images to videos and GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format). You can now condense large amounts of data into an info graphic or video thus making it easier to disseminate information to the public.

It is no secret that renewable energy endeavors can be very capital intensive thus the need for widespread support with a look into future gains. We now live in a world where information is practically at the tips of your fingers but we also need to live in a world that has sustainable energy resources available for current and future generations.


Written by Euticus Mola, Corporate Communications and Marketing officer.

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