This past week brought some pretty major storms through our area. Ice covered everything – the roads, the walkways, and the trees. As beautiful as the ice-encased trees are to look at, they almost always mean one thing: trees are going to fall and the power is going to go out.
Storms knock out our power a few times a year. Usually, the power is restored within a few hours and we’re back to our normal routine. When the power is out during the day, the house gets cold and we have to get creative about the food we eat (we try to avoid opening the fridge and there’s no way to cook anything)…but the kids look at it as an adventure. When the power is out at night, things get a little more tricky. We pull out the flashlights and lanterns and turn on the kerosene heater, which provides both heat and light. And we get by until the power comes back on again.
Next Tuesday and Wednesday, my family and I will be participating in challenge. On night one, we will not use any light source (and yes that includes no cell phone or computer use). On night two, we will have the use of one solar-powered LED lantern. Sure, we’ll still have a working heater and fridge. But a night without any lights during the winter when it gets dark at 5:30? It’s going to be tough. I’ll be reporting back after our experience next week to let you know how it went. I’m particularly interested to see how my kids react. No TV, no iPods, no light when they use the bathroom…
The biggest question, of course, is WHY. Why are we taking the one night without light challenge? It’s all about offering a brighter future for some families across the world…and for teaching my kids about Brighter Lives for Refugees.
Brighter Lives for Refugees
The Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign will help to provide solar street lights, indoor solar lanterns, and other renewable energy technologies such as fuel efficient cooking stoves in UNHCR refugee camps in countries including Ethiopia, Chad, Bangladesh and Jordan. In addition the campaign will also fund improved primary education.
IKEA will donate one euro (or USD $1.37) to the UN refugee agency UNHCR for every IKEA LEDARE – LED light bulb sold during the campaign period, from February 3 through March 29, 2014. Additional information can be found here.
What a Difference a Light Can Make
Why solar lights? How much of a difference will a few lights make?
- The absence or lack of light after sunset can have a devastating effect on safety and security for those living in refugee camps. Simple activities such as visiting the toilet, collecting water or returning to the shelter from elsewhere can become difficult and dangerous, particularly for women and girls.
- The improvements funded by the campaign will make each refugee camp a safer and more suitable home for refugee children and their families.
- Solar street lights can improve safety in refugee camps by reducing the risk of crime, sexual and gender-based violence.
- Solar lanterns help girls and boys in refugee camps study after dark, improving results in school.
- Solar street lights help improve life in a refugee camp, enabling more community gatherings and social activities.
- Solar lanterns allow refugees to continue important income-generating activities such as weaving or sewing during the dark hours.
- Solar lanterns enable refugees to run their small shops and kiosks into the evening, increasing prospects of generating a sustainable income.
Key Facts About LED Lighting
- LED lighting consumes 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 20 times longer.
- If one million people changed one bulb each into LED, this would in terms of CO2 emissions correspond to taking almost 6,700 cars off the road, or planting 17 million trees per year.
- The total annual cost saving (including purchase price and energy consumption cost) of switching one incandescent 40W bulb to a corresponding LED bulb, is approximately $6.25 (5.3 Euro) on average.
- LED bulbs use substantially less power than incandescents or CFLs. Replacing existing lighting with LEDs can save between 50% and 90% of lighting energy costs.
- LED replacements are already available for many bulb types and can fit virtually all of your existing lamps.
I can’t wait to share our experience this coming week as we go a whole night without lights. Join me on Thursday, February 13 at 5:00pm PT/ 8:00pm ET. Yes, there will be prizes (Seven $50 Amex Gift Cards, Five portable solar lanterns and One $150 Amex Gift Card Grand Prize). RSVP here. Feel free to RT the tweet below and meet me at the party!
— Lolli Franklin (@1momof5) February 8, 2014
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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