Thursday, June 28, 2007

Instead of Buying Carbon Offsets...

...Buy a family in Africa a flashlight.

Yesterday Climateer Investing got a mention at Peak Energy and at the Energy Roundup and I thought I should take the opportunity to republish one of the more important stories in our bookmarks. I had to rummage around in the CI link-vault last night and missed some of the traffic but found it; from the New York Times:

Solar Flashlight Lets Africa’s Sun Deliver the Luxury of Light to the Poorest Villages

...“I find it hard sometimes to explain the scope of the problems in these camps with no light,” Mr. Bent said. “If you’re an environmentalist you think about it in terms of discarded batteries and coal and wood burning and kerosene smoke; if you’re a feminist you think of it in terms of security for women and preventing sexual abuse and violence; if you’re an educator you think about it in terms of helping children and adults study at night.”

...“In places where there is absolutely no electricity or running water, having light at night is a luxury many families don’t have and never did and which we take for granted in developed countries,” Ms. Duke said by e-mail. Mr. Bent, a former Marine and Navy pilot, served under diplomatic titles in volatile countries like Angola, Bosnia, Nigeria and Somalia in the early 1990s.

...Since August 2005, when visits to an Eritrean village prompted him to research global access to artificial light, Mr. Bent, 49, a former foreign service officer and Houston oilman, has spent $250,000 to develop and manufacture a solar-powered flashlight.

Here's Mr. Bent's website: BoGo Light (Buy one, give one)
HT: Environmental Evaluation and Cost-Benefit News (we'll read it and show you the good stuff)

I don't know if the Times deliberately left the article on the free side of their registration wall. If it disappears here's a PDF of the article.
If you've got a website or blog, spread the word; it's a good story, light in the darkness.

Update. We had another link I had meant to include:

The maker, SunNight Solar Enterprises LLC, points out in its product promotion that access to inexpensive lighting also provides an economic and social multiplier effect, lifting societies far in excess of simple illumination and creating opportunity without creating dependency.
From ergoweb