In the 1930s, only ten percent of rural dwellers had electricity because private utility companies thought it was too expensive to string electric lines to isolated rural farms. President Franklin D. Roosevelt believed that if private utility companies could not supply electric power to all of the people, then it was the duty of the government to do so. In 1935 the Rural Electric Administration was created to bring electricity to rural America. By the 1940's about 33% of rural households had electric power and we went to war.
My history is like so many.
I lived in rural Ohio and remember when we finally got electricity in the 1950's. This didn't mean we could afford appliances that ran on it. Small radios and electric irons were among the first appliances sold. Washing machines were in big demand in the North while refrigerators were more in demand in the South. Every farm bought a security light that burned all night.
Have we created a problem?
In the cities today 10 billion dollars is spent each year on useless lighting. This amount is growing 3-5% each year. We are looking at light pollution.
If so, can our students solve it?
It used to be 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. Our circadian rhythm is affected by our lack of darkness. Have we lost our connection to the natural world? Am I the canary in the coal mine? Do you discuss with your students how they can save electricity? Your students are our future. They will have to deal with this problem that we have created.
How can kids reach for the stars when they can't see them?