By Chere Di Boscio
The Middle East may have abundant oil now, but the future security of their energy and environment is at risk: with oil being a finite resource and with global demand constantly rising, many analysts are claiming ‘the end of oil’ may be nigh. Consequently, several Arab nations, particularly the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are investing heavily in cultural and financial services, but there is now a recognition that renewable energy is the only way forward.
Stunning and intelligent, Queen Rania of Jordan is a particularly strong advocate of renewable energy, as she is worried about how climate change, the end of oil and increasing energy demands by a growing world population will impact the next generations.
The Head of several children’s charities, including the Jordan River Children Program, which aims to stop child abuse, and the Al-Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans, the Jordanian Queen made a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) in January 2013, where leaders, government ministers, experts in the fields of energy, environment, food and water, as well as participants from some 150 countries, gathered to address energy, water security and sustainability challenges around the world.
Her speech made her concern for the future of children clear when she took the podium to state: “The most crippling effects of energy poverty are felt by children. It is a cruel irony that those who’ve had the least to do with climate change and energy crises are paying the highest price. And they know it.”
She added to the powerful audience: “By being here today, you’re already part of the solution to the global energy crisis…with capital investment and political will, we could light up schools for children… power health clinics for mothers and their babies…and pump clean water for families.”
“In the absence of long-term, sustainable solutions to our energy needs, progress will be slow and uneven. Not just in this region, but everywhere,” she warned.
The Queen also noted that there are still 1.4 billion people in the world without access to grid electricity, and for a billion more, access is unreliable. This is important, she stated, because “without sustainable energy, there can be no sustainable development”.
Her Majesty’s inspirational speech also highlighted the fact that Jordan and other countries in the region are committed towards making strides in renewable energy and sustainable development.
A graduate in Business Administration and an ex- employee at both Citibank and Apple, there is no doubt that Queen Rania is caring, beautiful and brainy–but best of all, she’s using her formidable assets to ensure a greener, more prosperous future.
Images: World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org) by E.T. Studhalter via Wikimedia Commons