Fellow Since 1995
This profile was prepared when Pedro Serrano was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1995.
The New Idea
Convinced that current patterns of energy use, which involve a heavy reliance on firewood, are producing increasingly disastrous consequences, Pedro Serrano is employing a holistic approach, encompassing appropriate technology, education and government action, to achieve the needed changes. Pedro is persuaded that a successful attempt to introduce energy-efficient practices on the scale required to protect the environment and benefit the poor in Chile's arid regions requires carefully orchestrated actions in each of those areas.Pedro has long played a leading role in the development of energy-efficient technology, including solar-powered stoves and other appliances, as a means of combating traditional, inefficient energy practices that deplete Chile's firewood resources and contribute to desertification. But he believes that "real change will occur only through vigorous, systematic efforts to educate and prepare the public for an energy efficient culture." Seeking to avoid the mistakes that have characterized attempts to introduce solar and other energy-efficient technologies in India, China and elsewhere, Pedro is convinced that the key to the successful introduction of these technologies is education and careful cultural preparation, and he also recognizes that government action, including subsidized distribution of appliances, mandated training in energy efficiency in the public schools and a sustained policy focus on alternative energy sources, will be required.