We have 40 years of oil left, but five billion years of sunshine. Hoping to get more and more Egyptian to harness the power of the sun are three earth-loving friends. We speak to Mohammed Safi to find out more...
We're typing away on 250 watts of energy, a claustrophobic breeze whisks the back of our neck at 1400 watts, lit up by another 60 watts. Much like charging things to our credit cards, we spend away these watts frivolously without thinking about the consequences at the end of the month when the absurd electricity bill comes in. What about the consequences at the end of the century? Or even the decade, when we come closer and closer to that dystopian environmental collapse that subtly tugs away at our consciousness? Will we be left in the polluted dark whilst the richest echelon of the world sell their souls for a fully charged Vertu on a private jet, and a tighter grip on the worlds oil markets? Solar power is no longer a novelty, but a necessity. A way to literally bring power back to the people. At current rates of consumption, the world's oil reserves will be sufficient to last 40 years; the sun is set to burn out in five billion. You do the math...
Green Scene Egypt is a new retail project founded by Mohammed Safi, Hisham Nabil and Aly Shalakany, determined to add their weight to the global fight against unsustainable energy with a massive range of very handy solar powered items and the tagline The Power of Freedom. But their products aren't just for that hippie, one earth, one love kinda person you've currently got in your head or the mountain climbing adventurer; it's for everyone. When you're sweating away in Sisi-enforced power cuts, don't you wish you could carry on watching the latest Dancing With the Stars? When you're on the beach and The XX has stopped blaring from your speakers, pinching you out of your bliss... When you're trekking through the desert, your Jeeps stalls and you need to make an emergency call for help... All of these situations can be saved by keeping a handy solar powered charging unit.
We speak to co-founder of Green Scene Egypt, Safi, who plans on harnessing the power of the sun to make a quick buck before it runs out in five billion years... cheeky bastards!
How did Green Scene Egypt come about?
How far behind do you feel Egypt is in terms of usage of sustainable resources?
As a country that has some of the world's highest levels of daily sunlight andwind, we are definitely very far behind. We should be generating enough solar and wind energy to supply other countries, but that's a different Global Big Oil conspiracy theory for a different day...As a nation that up-cycles and recycles almost everything, we are more advanced than we know. That said, there is still mountains to climb when it comes to proper use of sustainable resources. The foothills of those mountains are our simple perception of what solar or wind energy is, and how we can benefit from it directly in our daily lives whether we're at home or rally driving across the Sahara.
What kind of products will you be selling on Green Scene?
A wide range! We're starting with a portable solar solutions line called Goal Zero, which is by far one of the best in the world. It's basically solar power on the go. Whether you want to charge your phone, tablet or even laptops TVs and mini-fridges, we're very excited about these Goal Zero products. We'll be expanding soon to more solar products and brands, in addition to other mind tickling gadgets. The sky is literally the limit. If it's going to make your home, life or adventures greener and more efficient, we'll look into it!
What kind of people do you expect will be buying from Green Scene?
Everyone, hopefully! Although we are mainly targeting outdoor enthusiasts and environmentally conscious consumers, our products will also be geared to offer you green home and work solutions as well. From backup solar generators, to power packs than you can charge your phones, cameras anddevices from, to electric bikes.
Our clients will understand the benefit and use of harnessing renewable energy to power their lives, and will appreciate having power even in the remotest of places, just like we have. Or to power up your gear during an epic Cairo power cut. So whether you're an executive, photographer, fisherman, architect, shawerma guy, or someone who needs the comfort of having their phone powered at all times for that all important selfie, everyone can (and should really) use our products!
Do you think we'll see solar power becoming the norm in hot countries such as Egypt in our lifetime?
Absolutely. If not as a matter of progressing as a civilisation, then it shall be as a matter of pure necessity. Unlike fossil fuels, no one really has a monopoly on the sun or wind. We've been granted insane amounts of free energy every day, and we aren't making use of it. Solar technology is getting better and better, and soon it will hit a point where it is more efficient to use renewable energy than it is to drill the Earth to death. It hasn't gotten there yet, but to answer your question, definitely in our lifetime.
Of course it is! Everyone needs to have some sort of power pack on them these days. We live our lives running from one place to another trying to charge our gadgets, why not have portable power with you on the go, and for free? You can't put a price on needing your phone for an emergency and you're all out of juice. We've mostly used them during Cairo power cuts to keep our WIFI routers, laptops, phones and fans charged up! Once you start using them, you'll realise that, as cliched as it sounds, no one can really take your power away from you.
As for static solar infrastructure, you don't have to deck out your entire house in solar panels just yet. Everyone can get simple items like solar water heaters, or backup generators. You'll find down the line that the renewable energy option is almost always more cost efficient.
I know you're quite the adventurer, have there been any situations where using a solar powered product has saved your life/helped you in a bad situation?
More than you would believe. I've literally been saved at sand and sea by these gizmos. From charging my phone and camera on mountain climbs and tuktuking across India, to powering a backup GPS to guide us home when a boat's power went dead, the sun has always been there for me!
Shouldn't mobiles be solar powered by now anyway? We mean there were solar powered calculators back when we were in school...
What? And put all those electricity and battery making companies out of business?! Ha, seriously speaking though, they will be soon. We're bringing in a range of top notch solar phone battery backs!
How does CairoScene become GreenScene? What can we do or use as an office to become more 'green'?
Cairo needs to go green for that! Well, you guys could start with a Yeti 400 solar generator at the office and link it up to a Nomad solar panel; that way you can charge your phones and USB devices indefinitely. Not to mention the Sherpa 50 portable power pack, which would be perfect for your photographers and social media minions, keeping them powered on the go. Imagine: solar powered social media. Bam.