Pulling out of the Paris Climate agreement, rising sea levels, a growing scarcity of natural resources. Social enterprises and humanitarians alike: How are you going to help quell this looming fear of irreparable environmental degradation? Providing aid and promoting development is a great start, but in this era of humanitarianism, these actions must be viewed through the lens of sustainability.
Imaginable and tangible.
Promoting sustainability by providing the world with clean, green products and initiating best practices is attainable for all of humankind. Sustainability should be the guiding principle for human development, from disaster relief initiatives to poverty alleviation programs.
Energy and Light. The two go hand in hand and keep the world spinning. Sourcing reliable energy through sustainable means is something that many humanitarians have set out to do in response to international development and disaster relief.
Supplying people living off the grid with a robust source of power is imperative to their development. Likewise, providing people in the developing world with portable light creates a sense of freedom and mobility that might otherwise be hindered. These alternative means of illuminating the lives of people living in energy poverty are pushing the change for productivity and sustainability throughout the developing world.
Portable Lights Leading the Way
Where does the problem lie? 1.2 billion people around the world cannot access energy. With emerging technology and an increasing range in capabilities, these solar lights are lighting the way for people in the developing world.
Waka Waka Power+
This light is a beast, PERIOD. Pocket sized, heat resistant, multifaceted, and solar powered; this light does it all from charging phones to sending out an SOS signal. The Waka Waka Power+ takes 10 hours to charge from 0 to 100%. It has 4 LED light settings, and running on the lowest setting, the Power+ is capable of lasting 150 hours on a full charge. This is perfect for disaster relief, whether lighting the way for a rescue mission or attempting to send out a distress signal with the SOS beacon.
From a developmental perspective, this light offers a triple threat. It can be positioned from a hanging location, like a hook on a wall or branch in a tree, while also being put on a bottle top for versatility, or even free standing if it just needs to charge.
With these lights and many others that Waka Waka boasts, the growing start-up from the Netherlands hopes to rid the developing world of expensive and unsafe kerosene lamps, improve school grades for kids who have to study into the night, and increase income-generating capacity for those who carry the household financial burden.
This is sustainability.
Sun King by Green Planet
Greenlight Planet is built around a diverse team of engineers. To date, they’ve logged 18 million users, installed almost 10 million watts of rooftop solar, and boast an impressive 884,521 metric tons of CO2 offset. These accomplishments go hand in hand with their home solar unit. Easy set-up, with light switches and USB charging capabilities. This light system is perfect for a small home or tent. It sports three wide-angled lights, is water resistant, and carries up to 24 hours of run time on a day’s charge. Having a light that can be set up as a home unit, while still maintaining the capacity to be moved from one place to the next makes it a versatile asset for both disaster relief and human development.
Celebrating its tenth year of lighting the way, D.LIGHT is focusing on providing bombproof solar products off-grid users. This growing Californian social enterprise is dedicated to helping make the world a brighter place. In their most recent durability test, the S300 solar lantern and mobile charger was able to withstand the weight of a Toyota barreling over its compact solar panel. The S300 carries a range of 4 to 16 hours of operation on a full charge, while beaming a whole 10 times brighter than a kerosene lamp. Their vision? It’s simple…D.LIGHT “envisions a future where all people are empowered to enjoy the freedom and improved quality of life that comes with access to reliable, affordable off-grid light and power.”
Bringing it Back
Focusing on the all encompassing aspect of sustainability, these lighting systems are attempting to bring those off the grid into the light with help of the energy from the sun.
Improve school grades, increase income-generating capacities, and reduce carbon emissions.
These three start-ups all have a similar mindset, which is just the beginning in creating sustainable solutions for human development, disaster relief, and a greener generation.