Think of the faint, dancing flow of a burning candle, the sparkly, iridescent quality of fairy lights or the stark, sophisticated display of house lighting; regardless of its form, light is a fundamental part of our lives.
And yet, so many live without it.
Electrification rates in rural parts of the world are morbidly low, with many planning their lives and schedules around daylight hours; an issue only our elders had for many.
Light not only provides sight, and potentially heat, but also uplifts one’s mood. Through our nervous and endocrine systems, we are programmed to respond to bright beams and rays, as it causes our mind to be more awake, active, and engaged.
This, therefore, perpetuates an endless, gloomy cycle for those without light; those in Chad, with an electrification rate of just 8%, or those in Papua New Guinea where 1 in 5 of the population have access to electricity, may therefore also be facing mental health issues of a lack of stimulus or activity, over and above the very real burden of the practical issues of limited electricity access in and of itself.
This lays the groundwork for why it is extremely important to bring economic solutions to such parts of the world. Yes, there are those out there who do not have access to clean water, or food; albeit, there is likely some crossover between these people and those without access to electricity. While light may not be on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, warmth, security, and self-actualization (via creativity) are, and light can enable all of these.
The next time you flick a switch, take a moment to appreciate your ability to have bounds of electricity at your fingertips, quite literally.
Photo Credits: Rodion Kutsaev