Let’s give solar light to the Philippines

For the month of April, I’m choosing to give solar light to families in the Philippines. Click here if you’d like to contribute.

Each day, we have so many things to be grateful for. The sun coming out, a delicious cup of coffee, not being in lockdown for another day. Sam and I have lived in the van for just a few weeks now and these privileges are becoming even more apparent to us. For one thing, we have the opportunity to travel around the beautiful unceded lands of Australia. Also, it’s not unlike us to be without power for a night – we rely on solar for electricity – yet we can bring out the gas oven and our solar lantern for a few hours before bed.

Now what if you lived in Catanduanes, Philippines? Or Agusan or Zambales? Perhaps, you’re still deeply affected by the 2020 typhoons which are an ever increasing occurrence in the Philippines. If you’re from a family who can afford it, perhaps you’ll purchase a kerosene lamp to last for the night. If you’re a family who can’t, then maybe you’ll just have to go without.

Whilst I’ve never personally visited these communities in the Philippines, I can speak for my experience of visiting Simulao which is within the Agusan del Sur province in the Philippines. My cousins and relatives are so precious and I miss them dearly. Here’s some photos from my last visit.

It’s not just about light…

In Australia, it’s a privilege to even be able to reflect on the environmental impacts of our day-to-day decisions. The United Nations (2019) wrote that the unprecedented impacts of climate change are disproportionately burdening developing countries. The Philippines is one of these countries – the unprecedented frequency of typhoons are just one of the measurable impacts.

The climate might feel like this insurmountable load on our shoulders when we tackle it one by one, but if we are to take one step at a time, our collective impact can change the world.

Let’s start by giving light to families in the Philippines.

Issa Barte is a visual artist and co-founder of For the Future. If you want to read more, her article on vice.com documents her recent visit to Catanduanes. Her pictures tell a thousand words.

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