05 Jul Light for Light
As we began our descent into Los Angeles, I lifted my window shade. As far as I could see there were city lights. Miles and miles and miles of lights. Looking out from my window seat, it seemed as if the entire world was lit up. But I know better.
Electricity is something I know I take for granted everyday. Most of us do. The glow of a lamp, a tv, a computer monitor, a cell phone (sometimes all on at the same time) are things we all have the luxury of experiencing any time we want. And quite often, all at the same time. Imagine if that wasn’t the case. Imagine if we didn’t have access to electricity. Imagine if we didn’t have light. A great many people don’t.
* 7 out of 10 people living in sub-Saharan Africa don’t have access to electricity.
* 30% of health centers in Africa function with no electricity at all.
* over a third of primary schools in Africa have no electricity.
* 8 out of 10 people in sub-Saharan Africa heart their homes and cook food using open fires. Inhalation of the smoke and fumes produced from burning traditional fuels results in over four million deaths per year, mainly among women and children. More deaths than from malaria and HIV/AIDS combined.
It’s hard to even believe, let alone comprehend. But, what we can comprehend is that beyond the most obvious inconveniences and challenges, lack of access to electricity and modern energy sources profoundly limits economic development, constrains people’s life chances and traps millions in extreme poverty. But, there just may be a light at the end of this tunnel. With the a bill like the Electrify Africa Act, we can help shift the electricity inequity and provide 50 million people in Africa with access to electricity for the first time. The bill has been, all we need to do is make sure that congress passes it.
As a photographer, the thought of a world without light is unimaginable. Light is my creative tool, my muse, my inspiration. Without light, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love most in this world; capture what matters most to me in my photographs. Here’s one of my recent favorites.
I want to urge you to help us bring this issue to light by spreading the word about Electrify Africa and the petition. The easiest way I can think of is July’s Light for Light blog relay. All month long photographers and bloggers are writing and sharing pictures to shed light. I encourage you to read One’s blog post about Light for Light and visit Elizabeth Atalay at Documama tomorrow when she shares her thoughts and pictures. Even more, we ask that YOU share your own photos of light filled images using the hashtags #electrifyafrica and #lightforlight. There’s great power in sharing our visual language. Let’s electrify instagram with our images and shine the light on #electrifyafrica!