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Why Light?

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Thursday, September 24, 2015

Why Light?

The United Nations has chosen to celebrate its 70th year with the theme, International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies. Why? There are so many reasons!

Broadening our understanding of light:

Let’s start with the basics: remember photosynthesis? We all know light is necessary for the generation of life itself. Another concept that most of us are not as familiar with is photonics, or the study of photons—which are the particles of light. It is believed that the 21st century advances will depend on photonics as much as our prior century depended on electronics. Photonics already is utilized within the technologies of our daily lives—our electronics, smartphones, medical devices, and lighting technologies.

Lighting the World: Advancing Lives

About 20% of global electricity consumption goes to lighting. Lighting allows us to safely venture into our communities for recreation after dark; beyond that, think of the importance of light to work and study every day. Where would our homes, schools, cities and recreation facilities be without light?

Powering the World: Sustainability

Unfortunately, the light (and energy) we are creating isn’t always done sustainably. Light pollution is causing real threats to scientific research as well as the above-mentioned photosynthesis that is necessary for vegetation to thrive. The fossil fuels that are burned to create this light and energy are causing other damage to the planet. What is the solution?  In part—it’s light! Real advances in solar technologies are creating sustainable alternatives, which in turn create economic opportunities.

We hope you are able to join us on October 25-26 as we further explore the importance of light in our society, and how it can move our communities forward in a sustainable way.  More information will soon be available at

Article written by Jade Sims, a Trade Specialist at the Michigan State University International Business Center. She is involved in all efforts to connect the mid-Michigan business community with the resources of the International Business Center (MSU-CIBER) and the Broad College of Business. This work is strongly export-focused, and includes programs such as the Global Business Club of Mid-Michigan, the Michigan Export Growth Program. 

Tags:  70th anniversary  Economic Opportunity  Life  Light Pollution  Light-Based Technologies  Photonics  Photosynthesis  Solar Technologies  Sustainability  United Nations 

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