lightforlight

Every night in the summer months, we decide whether to sleep with the bright street light and copious ambient light flooding our bedroom or to give up the fresh breeze in exchange for closed window, shut curtain darkness. The soft kind of darkness – the chosen kind. We live in a busy section of a busy town with power of almost every type abundantly available to us. Here, darkness is rare and a choice.

It’s easy to forget, to go about our busy, fast days thinking the whole world is out there doing their version of the same thing with relatively equal resources. When we stop and think about it though, we know that’s not the case. So many {too many} others have so much less available to them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate for guilt or shame when it comes to these things {at all actually}. I am however, an advocate for educating ourselves, doing what we can and for cultivating compassion and empathy.

Can you imagine what would happen if we didn’t have this power, this electricity at our fingertips? No light at the flick of a switch, no plugs for our many fabulous and relatively essential gadgets, no refrigerator to keep our food healthy and fresh? This is real {and dangerous} for too many others.

* 7 out of 10 people living in sub-Saharan Africa don’t have access to electricity.
* 30% of health centers in Africa function with no electricity at all.
* over a third of primary schools in Africa have no electricity.
* 8 out of 10 people in sub-Saharan Africa heart their homes and cook food using open fires. Inhalation of the smoke and fumes produced from burning traditional fuels results in over four million deaths per year, mainly among women and children. More deaths than from malaria and HIV/AIDS combined.

The truth is, I can’t really wrap my head around it. I read the words but I have no idea what it would be like to live without electricity. No idea. What I do know, is that our lives would be profoundly impacted if we didn’t have or were limited in our access to electricity. Beyond the obvious disappointments and inconveniences, our economics would suffer, our health would suffer, our safety would suffer.

This is really big stuff.

When my friends from One Campaign {knowing I’m a huge lover, seeker and reflector of light} asked me to write something about this issue, to share with you the opportunity to make a difference by supporting them in their efforts to let congress know how important the Electrify Africa bill is, I did my best to get informed, to get a sense of the impact of living with limited light. It wasn’t an easy assignment but as I sit here typing on my beloved desktop computer, I am acutely aware of my desire for our entire world to be filled with power and light.

All this month photographers and writers are sharing light filled pictures and words as part of July’s Light for Light blog relay. Take a look at One’s blog post about light for light and tomorrow you could check out Ana Flores’ post. You can also share your own images using the hashtags #electrifyafrica and #lightforlight. We all know the amazing power and magic of coming together this way through social media, let’s use it for something really good. Let’s do our part to become informed and to take action towards making our world a lighter, brighter place for us all.

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