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Friday Night Lights – International Year of Light Edition
We’ve mentioned it before, but this year is the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies as proclaimed by the United Nations on December 20th, 2013. By recognizing IYL 2015, the UN is trying to provide some focus for the world’s policymakers about the role light and lighting can play in the way we all live.
In proclaiming an International Year focusing on the topic of light science and its applications, the United Nations has recognized the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is an imperative cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century. It has revolutionized medicine, opened up international communication via the Internet, and continues to be central to linking cultural, economic and political aspects of the global society.
What excites me about IYL2015 is the idea that the world will spend a year talking about what light is and why it is important. My favorite page on the IYL2015 website is “Why Light Matters” with subheadings like:
- What Is Photonics?
- Economic Impact
- Light in the Built Environment
- Connecting The World
You can get a sense for the depth and breadth of this year long examination of light. Drill a little deeper into a subject, say, Light in the Built Environment and you will find content on lighting technology innovations for the built environment, resources from the IALD, The Global Off-Grid Lighting Association, The International Commission on Illumination and UL.
Light From a Global Perspective
By looking at lighting from a more global perspective, I hope we in North America can re-envision how we think about light and lighting applications. For example, we are just starting to think about off-grid lighting applications in the US, but around the world 1/4 of the population lives off the grid. Illuminating their world with off-grid lighting solutions could bring educational and economic opportunities previously not possible. Innovating those systems creates technologies that are universal and usable in the developed world. Imagine grid-free street and area lighting around the world and you start to imagine the scope of what’s possible.
In addition to the educational materials available on the web, there are also events scheduled all over the world. A quick glance at the events page shows everything from festivals of lights in Italy to Literary Competitions on St. Petersburg to a history of street lighting in Schenectady NY. There are events planned in places as varied as Iran and Cuba, as well as European design hubs like Paris and London.
The official Opening Ceremony of the International Year of Light will be held in Paris on January 19th and 20th, while there already dozens and dozens of events scheduled worldwide, more events are being added all the time and there is a simple form on the Event Programme page of Light2015.org where organizers can add more events to the list.
I could go on and on about the website. Throughout the year we’ll be providing updates on the IYL 2015 and if you’re looking for more there is of course their website. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Instagram.
What do you think about IYL2015? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.