Why does light matter?
Two billion people living in the developing world rely on kerosene lanterns, candles, and single-use battery flashlights for light at night. Not only are these options expensive, dangerous, and harmful to the environment, they also negatively impact health, education, and security. Literacy and Education Our lights provide an opportunity for children to read at night and to extend school hours. This is especially important in developing countries where most children spend all day tending crops, taking care of livestock, or working in cottage industries. Kerosene is increasingly expensive, especially given the recent rise in the price of petrochemicals, so many families cannot afford it. Flashlights are even more expensive, and candles do not provide adequate lighting to read. As a result, many children will never learn to read and will be trapped in a life of poverty. Our lights give them a chance at a better life, thus education is one of the strongest pillars in our vision to light the world.
The BoGo Light
The BoGo Light is a scientific, eco-friendly breakthrough that is making an impact worldwide. From Cairo to Cape Town, from the Caribbean to the Amazon, it is improving the lives of individuals, families, and entire villages by replacing costly kerosene, candles, and disposable battery flashlights with an affordable, long lasting, solar flashlight. BoGo means Buy one, Give one. We want our lights to benefit the less fortunate; therefore, with each light purchased in the developed world, a second identical light will be donated to an organization that will distribute it in the developing world with our direct financial support. Give the Gift of Light, and Help Us Change the World!
Environmental Impacts Global Warming
Our lights help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Dr. Evan Mills of the US Department of Energy states that a single kerosene lantern, used four hours a day, emits over 100 kg of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere each year. As a comparison, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculated that a passenger vehicle emits on average 11,450 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Therefore, replacing approximately 52 kerosene lanterns in the developing world with solar powered lights is equivalent to removing one vehicle from the roads here in the US.
Battery Groundwater Contamination
The EPA notes that “The single largest source of mercury in garbage is household batteries, especially alkaline and button batteries. Mercury is a heavy metal with high toxicity. Long-term exposure can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and fetuses. The major way people get exposed to mercury is by eating mercury-contaminated food, especially fish.” After kerosene and candles, the most prevalent source of lighting in the developing world is conventional flashlights. According to its web-site, the Energizer Corporation, manufactures six billion batteries annually. Consider the environmental and damage to humans when even a fraction of these batteries are sold in developing nations and improperly disposed of. We are committed to addressing this problem. Our products are powered by rechargeable batteries, which only need to be replaced every two to three years, and we are also working on a buy-back/exchange program.
Deforestation and Top Soil Erosion
The actual rate of deforestation for lighting is difficult to quantify due to the lack of specific reporting data. Anecdotal reporting and common sense indicate that wood fires in developing countries are kept going long after the meal preparation to provide residual lighting. The loss of underbrush contributes to top soil erosion, which negatively impacts farmers. We intend to alleviate these two problems by reducing the consumption of wood for lighting purposes.
Health and Safety Cancer
According to the World Bank, 1.6 million people die each year from indoor air pollution associated with the burning of wood, dung, agricultural residues, and coal. That is one person every twenty seconds. The World Bank also notes that 780 million people in the developing world, mostly women and children, are exposed to kerosene lantern fumes equivalent to two packs of cigarettes a day. More than two-thirds of lung cancer victims in the developing world are female, as women are the primary homemakers. Help us change these alarming statistics by giving them the gift of clean, solar light!
Hundreds of thousands of people are injured or killed each year and their homes destroyed by accidental fires caused by the widespread use of kerosene lanterns. Help us reduce these preventable tragedies by replacing their kerosene lanterns with safe, solar light.
Mosquitoes are attracted to kerosene light, but they are not naturally attracted to light given off by white light emitting diodes (LEDs). The reason for this is that mosquitoes have receptors which detect carbon dioxide, and kerosene lanterns emit volumes of carbon dioxide whereas LEDs do not. This suggests that people using our LED powered lights may lower their risk of contracting malaria. This is an exciting idea, and we have contacted the Center for Disease Control about conducting follow-on studies once our lights become more widely distributed.
Poverty and Economic Costs
A study conducted by the joint UN Development Program/World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) found that rural households spending as much as US$10 per month on lighting from candles, kerosene, and dry cell batteries. In some cases, this is up to thirty percent of a developing world family’s income. BoGo Light can be an engine for change. Giving needy families free lights allows them to redirect their limited resources into other areas besides lighting – education, health, etc. Imagine the profound changes this could bring about! And the best part is that light empowers them without creating dependency.
Women Empowerment and Family Security
Night time is a dangerous time for many people in developing countries, especially for refugees. It is expensive to import diesel fuel for generators and kerosene for lanterns into refugee camps; therefore, lighting is regulated and often limited both in duration and areas illuminated. Without portable lights at night, refugees must either travel at their own risk or remain homebound. Even remaining homebound, women and children are too often the victims of armed attacks and crimes in the dangerous dark. The portable, reliable BoGo Light can help liberate these people by giving them freedom of movement and freedom from fear. The freedom to move safely at night will greatly improve their quality of life, and parents equipped with lights can better observe and protect their children at night.
How is the BoGo Light distributed?
The donated lights are distributed to needy individuals and families by organizations that are established and working in the developing world. These organizations include Feed The Children, Samaritan’s Purse, UNHCR, and Invisible Children, as well as many other international assistance groups. Our lights have also been bulk purchased by multinational corporations such as Exxon Mobil and Perenco, as part of their community assistance programs.