Energy. Some nations have more than they need, and others need more than they have. This fact lies at the heart of many of the conflicts we see in the world today and is the subject of a thought-provoking new documentary film called The Burden, of which Canadian Solar is a co-sponsor. 

“The Burden” refers to our dependence on fossil fuels and the stress that this places both on the environment and on those engaged in, or affected by the various energy-related conflicts around the world. At an environmental level fossil fuels are a security threat to the continued well-being of humanity and, more immediately, the conflicts they cause result in considerable suffering and political instability.

The only solution is, clearly, to reduce fossil-fuel dependence and, in time, eliminate it completely through the continued development and implementation of renewable, clean energy sources like solar.

As the fighting arm of the world’s strongest superpower, the US military is pretty much continuously engaged in conflicts around non-renewables. In addition, it relies heavily on oil products to fuel its war machine, the resupply of which only adds to the hazards of any military operation. The film makes the point that the US military is the single largest institutional consumer of oil. And this comes at a cost.

“The price for guarding oil is too high. In Afghanistan every 1 in 24 fuel convoys ended with a casualty,” according to the film, not to mention that the US Military spends $85-billion a year protecting oil chokepoints.


Given the above fact it is not surprising that the US Military takes the view that the more it can use, and encourage others to use renewables the better, and it is on track to meet its goal of 1 GW of renewable energy by 2025.

Renewables offer benefits over and above clean energy. The solar industry is also a big employer of veterans, not least of whom is Kevin Johnson, Iraq war veteran, West Point graduate & Director of Federal Business Development at Canadian Solar USA, who has attended first screenings of the movie with the director.

“The Burden is well worth watching,” says Kevin. “It features issues and solutions that could have an important impact on the future of humanity,” he said.