We recently took the IKEA is challenge to live one night without lights and one night using only one solar-powered LED lantern (provided by IKEA) in order to spark discussion and raise awareness of what it’s like to live in a refugee camp. It was a two night challenge in honor of the Brighter Lives for Refugees Campaign.
The campaign runs until March 29, 2014. The global IKEA store initiative includes a donation of one euro ($1.37)* to the UN refugee agency UNHCR for every IKEA LEDARE – LED light bulb sold. Campaign funds 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. Additional information can be found here.
We were sent this portable LED Lantern with cell phone charger for our second night. I have to say I was excited to do this challenge with my family as I feel it would be a great lesson to learn should something happen and we were forced to live without light.
Here are some 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.
Our night one was a challenge as we had to go lights out with out even cellphone light. I snapped this picture so you get a sense of how dark it is in out apartment with no light. You could just see some light creeping in from outside, but that was the only light. I turned off my phone after taking that picture and we were in darkness the rest of the night. Honestly there was nothing much to do but tell scary stories and go to sleep. It was rather eye opening how reliant we are on our electricity and light. We couldn’t see what was right in front of us and it literally made our apartment a danger zone as you had to try and not bang yourself into anything or step on any dogs. Let’s not even get started on how addicted we are to our technology. We literally had to go to sleep so we wouldn’t be on the tv, phone, computer, or tablet and it was painful!
Being in darkness truly makes you understand what a difference a light can make. It made you feel guilty for taking for granted something we have every day. It’s shocking in this day and age that some people don’t have something as basic as light like those poor refugees this campaign is trying to help. 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.
If it was bad for us just walking around our apartment, I could only imagine what it’s like for those refugees. Night two wasn’t so bad as we had our LED Lamp. What a difference having some light made! Our dog Mr. Pink was in awe of the light as you can see.
He quickly fell in love with it and was rolling all over it. It was fun to be able to see him do this because of the light.
Our overall mood and sense of security was better on this night literally because of the light.
It truly makes a difference to have some light. I snapped these few pictures and went on through out the night with just the LED lamp. It was just such a drastic change from night to night. We could see, interact, and see where we were going.
IKEA continues to lead in sustainable business practices. In October 2012, IKEA US announced it would make a bold move to sell only LED lights in all its US stores by 2016. Already well on its way, the IKEA sale of only LED lights and lamps will and has enabled millions of people to live a more sustainable life at home, and save on their energy bills. LED lights last up to 20 years and consumes up to 85% less energy than traditional bulbs, saving one money.
This was an eye opening experience for me and my family. It’s a challenge everyone should do to see what it’s like to live with out light. You never know if one day you may have to live like this.
For more information about this amazing campaign visit the IKEA Website.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.