The Charter of Light and Energy brings together distinct voices from around the world that encourage commitment and step-by-step action to improve light and energy access.

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Light is fundamental to all life. We need energy and access to light to improve health and education, and to support everything from commerce to criticality. Over 1.6 billion people live without access to the electrical grid today – that is every fifth person in the world. We absolutely must address this unequal access to energy and light.

Little Sun is an affordable solar-powered lamp that I have designed with engineer Frederik Ottesen to compete with the kerosene lanterns predominant in off-grid regions. Little Sun is a work of art that works in life. Its journey into the world began this summer at Tate Modern, London, where the 2012 Olympics provided a platform for spreading the message internationally. Tate events included Tate Blackouts, Sunlight Graffiti, and Little Sun Films. While the Charter of Light and Energy marks the conclusion of the Tate presentation, it will continue evolving in the coming year with more voices joining in.

The Little Sun project can only be successful if the lamp is delivered to the people who need light the most. It requires strong voices and muscle to make this possible. Like a muscle, the Charter of Light and Energy is a tool to move things. Words can make a difference. A feeling becomes thought; a thought becomes word; and word becomes action – bringing energy access to all!

I am delighted and deeply thankful that so many resourceful individuals have lent their voices to this endeavour.

Olafur Eliasson