Guest blog by Bahareh Seyedi, UNDP Energy Policy Specialist.

As the screen fades to black and before the credits roll tonight on the series finale of NBC’s post-apocalyptic show ‘Revolution’, viewers will see the startling fact that 1.3 billion people worldwide live without electricity.

Throughout Revolution’s second season this blog has highlighted a number of global issues the show illustrates, including the use of child soldiers, the danger of maternal mortality, the value of vaccinations and the menace of war lords. However, the core of the show rests in the hardship of life lacking in energy and for a staggering 2.6 billion people around the world this reality remains after the series ends.

Energy affects all aspects of our lives from the way we prepare our food and keep our homes warm to our education, health, and environment.

Bahareh Seyedi, UNDP Energy Specialist, and Carlos Islam, UN Creative Community Outreach Initiative, on set with Revolution cast and crew.
Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

In Sub-Saharan Africa close to 80% of people still use wood, animal waste, charcoal and other pollution-causing fuels to cook their food and heat their homes. In 2012 alone, 4.3 million people died because of indoor air pollution due to these types of fuels – more than those killed by malaria and HIV/AIDs combined.

In India around 25% of the population lives without electricity at all. Gaining access to energy would mean more children could go to school and study after dark, more women could invest in starting up a business or taking care of their health (instead of spending hours every day collecting firewood and painstakingly preparing meals), and more companies could extend their working hours and offer job opportunities.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has supported more than 100 developing countries in the past 20 years by providing sustainable energy solutions and advocating for energy to become a development priority. We also partner with the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative, which aims to achieve three goals by 2030: ensure universal access to energy; double energy efficiency; and double the use renewables. As part of this initiative, UNDP is developing a global hub to scale-up actions that will provide access to energy through decentralized and community-driven solutions for schools, health centres, households, and women-led enterprises in hard-to-reach parts of the world.

While tonight’s episode says good-bye to the cast of characters on Revolution and its sci-fi world, our efforts continue to turn on the lights for the 1-in-5 people around the world living in the dark. Join us at www.action4energy.org to learn more about the challenges of energy poverty and help us power the world.

The UN Creative Community Outreach Initiative (CCOI), an office of the United Nations Department of Public Information, has collaborated with the writers and producers of Revolution to highlight the UN-related issues exemplified in Season 2 of the show.