My iPhone brought me closer to the Sun.

(Click play to listen.)

I suspect many years of smartphone usage has had some affect on the way my brain receives and integrates information.  You know, that whole neuroplasticity thing.

Words and images.  Concepts and questions.  Thrills, tears, discoveries and other Gifts of Life, all whirling around in my bio-miraculous container.  Thanks to my iPhone, global connectivity is almost always in my palm or in my purse.  And in those rare, rural instances when a signal is not accessible, I still have functions available that are essential to a Techno-Nature-Mystic-Artist who values tools that help me behold beauty; digital tools like VoiceMemo and a camera to capture still and moving images.

On a recent backpacking trip with my dear friend Jacquelyn in the backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park, there would be no outlets or electricity with which to charge my phone.  And for the reasons stated above, I was motivated to find an alternative.  Sure enough, there was one:  Goal Zero’s Nomad 7, a foldable solar panel for charging handheld devices.

Three nights and four days in wilderness helped me pay attention to things normally so routine I pay them no mind.  Things like:

  1. How much garbage do I produce each day?
  2. How much waste do I produce each day?
  3. How much water do I drink and clean with each day?
  4. How much electricity do I rely upon each day?

That fourth question opened my eyes to my relationship with energy.  I live in a high-rise condominium with no solar panels.  My reliance upon modern conveniences is still very much plugged in to traditional grids and fossil-fueled sources.  But seeing my iPhone charged by the Sun did something to me.

The Sun, which democratically and freely shines on All, has more than enough energizing power to sustain our lives’ needs…  without provoking biospheric damage, inequity or resource-based war.  So why isn’t the world solar-paneled and retro-fitted tip to tail?  Is it not mass insanity, permitted by ignorance or apathy?  Co-signed by passivity?


  • Does solar activism make sense to you?  Get involved here.
  • “Old bottle + water + Sun = LIGHT.”  (Thanks, NextWorldTV!)  Wanna see some radical innovation?  Click here.
  • Ever wonder about backpacking and diversity?  I wrote some thoughts about it in this month’s Mindful Metropolis here.

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6 Responses to “My iPhone brought me closer to the Sun.”

  1. Mike Says:

    I really enjoy your posts, and appreciate the time and effort to share your thoughts with people. Stopped off in a cafe at lunchtime today, a little tired and disillusioned with the world. I sat down with my chicken salad, pulled out my iPhone and read yr post. It made me reflect on the day I was having, and how there’s so much more to explore in life. Thank you. I’m heading back to the office now with a renewed sense of purpose. You’ve really cheered me up! M

    • Erika Harris Says:

      Mike, you’re a masterful storyteller! Really, I felt as though I was right there having lunch with you :-) Thanks for the immediacy, and transparency, of your comment. I so appreciate it.

  2. Grace Kerina Says:

    Hi, Erika

    I recently found out that in the first six months of 2011, 20% of the energy produced by Germany was from sustainable sources. This feeds my soul. There are solar panels everywhere you look here in SW Germany, including covering entire roofs and many panels atop covered stretches of the highway. A good friend of mine here makes money by selling his leftover solar power to the local utility company. Fun stuff to be around, for sure.

    You and we are on the right track. xoxo

    • Erika Harris Says:

      Hi lovely Grace! Oh, that the US would follow Europe’s progressive, systemic lead in renewable energy. You’re light-years ahead of us… in so many ways ;-) But you’re right to celebrate right tracks wherever we may find ’em. My sweet home, Chicago, is doing wonderful things to green the city. I love hearing of your magical home. XO

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