The overlooked blessing of light

In this modern age I feel there are many things we take for granted. One of the most significant in my eyes, aside from food, is light. For a large part of the world a simple flick of a switch will light your home all night.  This light is also constant and bright. If a bulb goes out, we just replace it and if we need more light, we just add another source like a lamp or buy higher wattage bulbs. This has not always been the case.

Throughout much of history civilization patterned its life around daylight. This is because having light was difficult or costly. The first campfire build by man much have been a glorious sight, Turning the darkness into light, providing warmth, deterring predators, and allowing food to be easily cooked. It probably took a short time for that fire builder to come to understand how hard it is to gather enough wood to keep the fire burning all night, If it rained, things became an even bigger deal. Light took work. Further through time people developed “better” ways to provide heat and light. One form would have been an oil lamp. Whether it was whale oil, olive oil, or later kerosene, these needed fuel. Again people found that they needed to work to gather that fuel or at least pay someone else to do it.  The light given off by these lamps was dim and smoke often accompanied it. All the way into the late 1800s many people were still limited by the need for this fuel if they wanted extra hours of light.

Jump to present day and you will find a significant portion of the world has access to reliable electricity which translates into light. Now, I fully understand that we still have electric bills and thus still pay someone for the “fuel” for our lights. The big difference now is that in reality a kilowatt of electricity is dirt cheap compared to the alternative fuels of the past. This has lead to many people depending entirely on electricity for light an heat. Aside from a flashlight or two, most people have no other way to provide light. They assume that they will rarely need an alternate source. Take a look at people that are long term residents of areas prone to power outages from snow, ice, hurricanes, or tornadoes and you will see something different.

These people that, for various reasons, understand that electricity is not a 24/7/365 guarantee have been forced into planning for lack of it. This planning means that, while it still may be a inconvenient, it is not an emergency. This is something that many people should learn from. Having alternate forms of light can prevent an extended outage from becoming a personal disaster. There is also a chance that the power outage could be a symptom of a much larger event that causes it to be much longer term. This makes it even more critical to have a secondary plan.

Planning for this does not have to mean a huge investment. A good beginning is to purchase either a battery or fuel based lantern. These provide area light and can be moved around. Battery ones are convenient, but propane or liquid fuel ones do not require battery upkeep. Here are a few options.

This one uses the same one pound propane bottles that the Coleman camp stoves do. If you have a stove, this might be a good option that can share fuel.

Coleman Gas Lantern

This is another Coleman type lantern but it runs on liquid Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline. This gives you the option to use the fuel stored in your car if need be.

Coleman Premium Dual Fuel Lantern with Hard Carry Case

Coleman also makes a stove that is dual fuel like the lantern

Coleman Guide Series Dual-Fuel Camping Stove

This is a battery only lantern that is good if you prefer ntyo to use liquid or propane fuel. I suggest storing the batteries with it, btui not in it so that if they leak, they do not destroy the lantern. Also, swap the batteries out routinely.

Coleman 1000 Lumens LED Lantern with BatteryGuard

These are just a few of the options for providing light when electricity from the grid is not an option. Other options like solar panels with battery banks, generators, wind powered devices are also possible, but much more involved and expensive. So I advise getting the basic level covered before venturing into those.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *