Thoughts on Bill & Melinda Gates’ 2016 Annual Letter

I’ve recently learned of two influential people by the name of Bill & Melinda Gates, are you familiar with them? If not, please check the wifi connection for the rock you’ve been hiding under. They have been wielding their formidable influence and wealth for the greater good for some time now, and their powerful gaze has landed upon the issues of time poverty and energy poverty in their hot-off-the-presses Annual Letter.

This is as close as I'm legally allowed to get to Sauron's Eye without permission from Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema
This is as close as I’m legally allowed to get to Sauron’s Eye without permission from Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema

The theme is broached when Bill & Melinda are asked by a student what superpower they would pick, if possible. Since nobody asked me, mine would be time travel. This is so I could eat an All Star Breakfast at Waffle House, then go back in time by 30 minutes and eat it again, over and over, but I digress. Bill chose more energy, and Melinda chose more time. The paper was silent as to whether anyone had a throwdown Redbull on hand to upstage Bill.

Without taking any of the Gates’ considerable thunder away, let me share with you a few of my favorite quotes from their letter…

At some point today, you’ll probably do one or all of these things: Flip a switch for light. Take fresh food from a refrigerator. Turn a dial to make your home warmer or cooler. Press a button on your laptop to go online.

You probably won’t think twice about any of these actions, but you will actually be doing something extraordinary. You will be using a superpower—your access to energy.

Does that sound ridiculous?

Just imagine, for a minute, life without energy…

…About 1.3 billion people—18 percent of the world’s population—don’t need to imagine. That’s what life is like for them every day. – Bill Gates

Economists call it opportunity cost: the other things women could be doing if they didn’t spend so much time on mundane tasks. What amazing goals would you accomplish with an extra hour every day? Or, in the case of girls in many poor countries, an extra five or more? There are lots of ways to answer this question, but it’s obvious that many women would spend more time doing paid work, starting businesses, or otherwise contributing to the economic well-being of societies around the world. The fact that they can’t holds their families and communities back. – Melinda Gates

In case you haven’t noticed, Pasqual exists specifically to end energy poverty and time poverty. We couldn’t agree more with both Bill and Melinda, which is why we are partnered with five different companies that produce compatible clean cooking technology. We represent solutions which can lower household cooking energy costs by over 75%, and can reduce the amount of time spent cooking and gathering fuel by a similar amount as well.

Our partner, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, also has a thing or two to say about the Gates’ Annual Letter…

Clean Cookstoves and Fuels: A Launch Pad for the Gates’ Superpowers – Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

If you don’t have time to read their full letter, please take at least a few minutes to read the conclusion.

We’re not saying that everyone needs to dedicate their lives to the poor. Your lives are busy enough doing homework, playing sports, making friends, pursuing your dreams. But we do think that you can live a more powerful life when you dedicate some of your time and energy to something much larger than yourself. Find an issue you’re passionate about and learn more. Volunteer or, if you can, donate a little money to a cause. Whatever you do, don’t be a bystander. Get involved. You may have the opportunity to make your biggest impact when you’re older. But why not start now? – Bill & Melinda Gates

To paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis: Whole lotta quotin’ goin on..

Pasqual needs you to get involved. We are veritable munchkins, and need a crowd to hold us on their shoulders. Please take a moment to add your email to our followers list, and follow us on Twitter @pasqual_sinhumo (Spanish for Pasqual without smoke) and help make our very own hashtag #IntegratedCooking popular and trendy.

Thanks – Kyle

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