Little Sun image (blue)
Little Sun

It takes a planet to light a candle. The flame is burning because of combustion where the wax from the candlestick is combined with the oxygen from the air. The result is the liberation of energy. This energy will make the air glow: it becomes a flame and the candle lights up.

All you need is wax, oxygen and a match. The candle wax and the match you can keep in your drawer. But the oxygen comes from the air. It has to flow through the flame for the candle to be lit. The only reason there is free oxygen in the atmosphere is that there is life on earth.

Plants absorb energy from the sun. By using this energy, plants can create complex molecules – like the ones you find in wax or in your food. As a by-product, as a kind of waste, plants produce free oxygen (free as opposed to all the bound oxygen present in molecules of water or in rocks). This free energy represents a huge amount of solar energy caught up in the life processes of plants, photosynthesis.

The candle can burn as a result of plant life on Planet Earth. You can be around because you burn plant material by combining it with oxygen. That is, you eat food and burn it using oxygen, thereby releasing the energy to read books or create works of art. You combine chemical energy in food and chemical energy in the free oxygen in the air. Food arrives through the mouth and air through the lungs. Combined in your cells, they provide you with the energy to drive your engine. It takes a planet to take a breath.

Sunlight makes the world go around. It is the energy from the star we circle around that runs the entire show. Everything comes from the sun.

Sunlight makes the ecosystems function. (Even oil, coal and gas have all their energy from sunlight, although sunlight from another geological age that should not be part of the current balance of energy flowing through the environment). Sunlight enlightens our days and lights up our evenings when we release it from batteries charged by solar cells.

All we need is light. Light is all there is – eventually everything is powered by light. Even ourselves. Even our food. All we eat is light.

We should share the light. We are in this together. It takes a planet to stay alive. No matter how rich you are.

Lighten your heart. Go with the flow. Let there be light. Be the light to others.

Tor Nørretranders
Writer, speaker, thinker, Copenhagen, Denmark