I apologize for the crappy image above, but it's hard to get a decent screen grab from a video in a tent where the only lighting is a single LED.
Now imagine if that LED wasn't there.
It's hard to do an awful lot of things without light or electricity. That's why so many organizations focus on clean energy in the developing world, saving lives, improving school performance and providing much needed access to the internet.
But energy poverty isn't just a Majority World concern. In fact, homeless people across the industrialized West face problems with access to electricity too. That's why The World Energy Project, a charity promoting solar lights, has chosen to also work with vulnerable communities in the USA. As Lubbock Online reports, one of their first projects was to install solar-powered LED lighting at Tent City in Lubbock:
“You’ll never get out of financial poverty,” McInturff said, “if you don’t get out of energy poverty first.”
McInturff was a lawyer and businessman in the oil and gas industry for 25 years before coming back to Tech in 2003. Bringing the project to the Tent City was a logical step for him. “Lubbock is part of the world and deserves a World Energy Project,” McInturff said.
The system of 15 solar panels will store electricity in 15 12-volt batteries, which will supply each of Tent City's 35 tents with enough electricity for one LED light. Beyond the practical and safety aspects of having electric light (previously residents would often use candles), there is simply a question of psychological well-being—allowing residents to write letters, read or simply to have the comfort of illumination.
Here's to beating back the darkness.