Our next amazing speaker is a representative of an organization we respect very much: Meglena Antonova, a climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace in Sofia. She is an environmental activist with a master’s degree in environmental and energy law from the University Of Oslo, Norway. Her attention is dedicated mostly to the fields of coal and renewable energy, often from a legal perspective. Recently, she has also started exploring the issue of air pollution as a strategist in the region of Central and Eastern Europe.
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment. They promote peace by catalyzing an energy revolution to address the number one threat facing our planet – climate change. They challenge the power of fossil fuel corporations, bolster support for renewable and citizen-powered energy and seek to hold big polluters to account. When it comes to energy independence for the people, Greenpeace help to create the progressive frame to empower citizens to be part of the energy system.
Find out more about Meglena in the interview below:
Who are you?
I consider myself to be first a person, who is part of a community, then a citizen with responsibilities towards this community and then also an activist, who is vocal on issues that concern our society such as human rights and protection of the environment. By day, I work on energy issues and air pollution as part of the team of Greenpeace in Bulgaria.
Why did you decide to join the speaker’s lineup of LibertyBits conference?
The conference is opening for discussion topics in the energy sector that are barely touched upon by the big stakeholders that usually dominate the debate – public institutions, big energy utilities and producers. This is not surprising because what we want to build up is a democratic energy system where the citizen is no longer considered “small” or “unimportant” but actually plays a key role in the production of our energy. The energy system of the future is decentralized and millions of Europeans have solar or other renewable energy installations in their homes, businesses or in cooperatives, together with other members of their community. I find the idea of such a system trilling because it challenges the current status quo of dominance of the energy utilities and as a step further – puts the people in the driving seat.
What is your understanding of “liberty” (freedom) and what are the most underestimated threats to our modern society?
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of « freedom » are the 4 fundamental freedoms, which Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke of in 1941 – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
Even though almost 80 years have passed since the time of this speech, these 4 freedoms could be considered even more relevant in our time. We as humanity have been able to achieve a lot with respect to all these freedoms but on the other hand, we also have a lot more to lose when they are under threat.
When we talk about energy, in order to be able to exercise these freedoms, we need to solve the so called “Energy Trilemma” – security of energy supply x energy equity x environmental sustainability. Instead of considering it a threat, I prefer to think about it as an opportunity – how can we produce energy, which is less damaging to the environment and our health and everyone has access to it without shortages because it is sufficiently affordable?
What is the most fascinating or inspiring thing about the independent living?
If we think of the independent living as the opportunity to produce your own energy from renewable sources and manage your consumption in accordance with the dynamic energy markets, then the most fascinating number in this calculation is that over half of the citizens in the European Union could be generating 45% of the community’s electricity needs by 2050.
This means that half of our friends and family members have the potential to be active citizens that promote energy democracy and encourage the production of renewable energy, which is affordable and accessible for everyone, by becoming active generators of this energy themselves.
What risks should a person take into consideration to be able to live independently?
The process of decentralisation and democratisation of the energy production necessarily involves taking away power from bigger actors and giving it to the people. However, we cannot expect that these big energy players will stay back and watch how power and respectively money are taken away from them. This is why it is so important that people work together and « fight back » demanding their rights.
What are your expectations from the conference?
I am very excited to have the opportunity to meet people from different fields of work and interest and hear their thoughts on the grand topic of energy democracy. I will be particularly interested to find out how environmental protection in the context of energy production is perceived by the other participants.
Respect, Megi! A young lady with a vision, expertise and determination to change the world for the better! As part of our Independent Living squad Megi will raise the awareness about the “Energy Citizens” concept or how we can effectively disrupt the system by producing our own energy.
If you would like to be a part of that change too, come join us at LibertyBits 2019!
#LibertyBits2019 * 25th June 2019 * Sofia Tech Park
Take the chance and reserve your seat A.S.A.P. for the second edition of LibertyBits Conference here: