Little Sun, the nonprofit founded by Olafur Eliasson, launches new creative digital campaign for Solar Power

Little Sun, the clean energy nonprofit founded by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen, announces Reach for the Sun: Ten Steps to Creating a Solar Powered World, a global creative communications campaign. Illustrated by Nigerian-Italian artist Diana Ejaita and supported by the IKEA Foundation, the campaign aims to help stop climate change by accelerating the transition to a zero-carbon, renewably powered future in which everyone has affordable, clean power. Reach for the Sun consists of a ten-step digital guide to creating a solar powered world. It also includes an open-source communications toolkit and resources for organizations and individuals to take action.

“Now is the time to reach for the sun,” said Olafur Eliasson, Little Sun Co-Founder. “The climate crisis is here: if we are to transition to a world powered by renewable energy in the next decade, we need everyone to recognize the opportunity of solar energy. Art helps us do this; it enables us to feel the power in our hands.”

Conceived as a creative communications tool to convert climate change fear into hope and action, it is for both individuals and organizations working toward the global energy transition. Reach for the Sun seeks to inspire, inform, and activate audiences to achieve a zero-carbon world by 2040.

Identifying ten simple and actionable steps for powering the world with the sun, the campaign charts a creative roadmap from individual to social climate advocacy—from harnessing the power of the sun in mindful exercise to personal behavior change, divestment, community activism and policy engagement. The illustrated guide invites audiences to feel, imagine —then effect—a majority solar-powered world.

“Art comes from a space of freedom. You have the choice to see differently,” said Ejaita, whose illustrations draw upon the visual cultures of the African diaspora and have previously appeared on the cover of The New Yorker. “The sun is our life force, it enables us to thrive.”

Although it provides only three percent of the world’s power currently, research suggests that solar can meet the majority of the world’s energy needs by 2040 and is one of the single most powerful means of preventing runaway climate change if implemented now1. “Solar is a universal constant,” said John Heller, Little Sun CEO. “It is readily accessible, versatile, and affordable. It offers the promise of a better life now, particularly for the 800 million people who live beyond the reach of the electricity grid. Lighting the world is possible – but getting there depends on all of us.”

With Heller at the helm, the nonprofit organization—which began in 2012 as an idea to create a small, portable solar lamp for people living without electricity—has since grown into a global impact project: Little Sun has helped provide power and light to over 3.2 million people who would not otherwise have access to it, and in 2021, is hoping to grow even further. Their work has reduced 800,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions and saved households living beyond the energy grid $150 million in energy expenses2.

Reach for the Sun, conceived and produced by Little Sun’s Head of Communications, Charlotte Webster, begins by enabling audiences to reflect on our connection to the sun. “Humanity is grasping for solutions to the causes and consequences of climate change. Our past fixation with looking for energy underground has pushed us dangerously close to a warming limit that will trigger irreversible conditions for us all.” said Webster. “Yet all we need to do is look up. A solution is visible to us all the time, every day: the sun. With the help of art, we invite humanity to imagine better and re-orientate itself around the sun. If we reach for the sun now, we stand a very real chance of being able to create a thriving world for us all.”

Jeffrey Prins, Head of Renewable Energy at the IKEA Foundation, said: “Reach for the Sun is an innovative way to champion renewables for communities living in poverty and persuade the energy sector to do more. It bridges the gap between knowing something must be done and acting where it counts most.” Organizations are encouraged to share campaign resources, activating their audiences, employees, and stakeholders to accelerate the zero-carbon transition.

The Reach for the Sun campaign is endorsed by the Global Solar Council, the trade body for the world’s solar energy industry, and aims to activate public and political engagement in the potential of solar to meet the majority of the world’s energy needs ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November.

The campaign resources are available at www.littlesun.org/reach-for-the-sun.

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