I believe strongly in the ideas behind conservation biology, and the efforts of so many dedicated individuals and groups to protect the amazing biodiversity of the natural world we live in.
This internal passion is one of the most important messages I try to instill in my students. They can make a difference in the world around them. We do this by increasing their awareness of some of the ecological threats we are facing today, and examining what we can do to improve the state of the natural world. Something so important, because honestly we are taking it for granted.
Last Wednesday while reading articles from TreeHugger.com, a site that compiles informational content related to the environment, conservation, and technology, I stumbled upon a product that ignited excitement and inspired me. Its pure simplicity paired with innovation that has huge possibilities to make the world a better place for so many.
The product is called LuminAID. Put as simply as it is elegant: it is an inflatable solar light. A water proof pouch that contains a solar panel, rechargeable battery and LED light. The video below describes the LuminAID.
The LuminAID inspires me, catches my imagination, and gives me hope for the future of our planet. Yet, I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what aspect of the LuminAID I find so magnificent.
Could it be its simple, yet practical and innovative design. A small, foldable design that can be used in so many ways. This simple, inexpensive product can provide light to disaster victims, to people in developing nations without reliable electricity, or even to me as I sit at home on a Vermont winter night, when the power is out.
Or could it be the the “Give Light, Get Light” business motto they have taken. For each LuminAID light someone buys, they will then give a LuminAID to the community projects they are working on around the world. An approach that motivates giving.
Or is it the implications for the planet. This simple product could reduce the use of many make-shift lamps and lanters in those same developing or disaster struck areas. Helping to cut down on toxins harmful to both people’s respiratory systems, but also the environment.
The LuminAID isn’t going to change national energy production, and all the detrimental ecological problems aligned with it. However, it is innovation moving in the right direction. Change starts at the personal level. If we are going to change how a nation produces energy, first we have the change how the individual thinks about energy. Making people aware of the successful use of renewable energy, like solar, and increasing its prevalence in our U.S. culture, and other cultures around the world, is the first step in shifting the energy paradigm.
LuminAID has done this for me. It inspired me to share its informational video with all my classes, about 80 students, and some even said ‘cool’ out loud. Perhaps they will share it with their friends or family. It has inspired me to write this post. It has inspired me to “give light, get light.”