Liter of Light.

This is so cool! Made of just water, chlorine, salt and a plastic bottle, these ‘light bulbs’ provide just as much light as a light bulb during the day, lighting houses which are dark during the day because of the building materials. They are being used across the Phillipines at the moment. This is the latest initiative of MyShelter, named Liter of Light, and is brilliant because it’s a technology that can be reproduced by the people who use it. What a brilliantly appropriate solution!Liter of Light

I love the movement of Appropriate Technologies. I’ve read a few things about it in books and magazines, and really appeals to my problem solving side. It sort of evolved from the work of a rather interesting economist called Ernst Friedrich Schumaker, who would have been seen as whacked out eccentric amongst the economics circles.  I mean, a guy who wrote a chapter on Buddhist Economics advocating ” ‘How to obtain given ends’ – the dignity of the human – ‘ with minimum means’ ” (1) is not going to be popular at a table of chappies discussing production possibility curves, exponential growth and equations for how to make more money in options than everyone else.

It was basically a big finger at the ‘one size fits all’ economic growth strategy that had been.  Old Schumacher called for Intermediate Technology – a technology to fit the development level of the place it was being used in. For numerous reasons, mostly to do with the way ‘intermediate’ made the technologies seem second rate, and ignorant of social and cultural factors, the term was changed to ‘appropriate technologies’.(2)

“…it has evolved into a development approach that is aimed at tackling community development problems. Viewed in this way, appropriate technology cannot be seen simply as some identifiable technical device; rather, it is an approach to community development consisting of a body of knowledge, techniques, and an underlying philosophy.” (2)


Here are some more brilliant appropriate technologies you may not yet have heard of:


Concrete Canvas Emergency Shelters

The Hippo Roller

And a few more on youtube…


Consanguineous References

1. Timmerman, P. 2009. ‘ Schumacher, Ernst Friedrich 1911–1977’ Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy. Ed. J. Baird Callicott and Robert Frodeman. Vol. 2. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA. p237-238.

2.Akubue, A. 2000. Appropriate Technology for Socioeconomic Development in Third World Countries. Journal of Technology Studies.