Hard as it is to believe, nearly 1.3 billion people on this planet live without electricity. They have no choice but to use either fire or kerosense.
Panasonic wants to do something about that, with your help. By 2018 they plan on donating 100,000 solar lanterns to those places around the globe that so desperately need light. Cut Out The Darkness is a cool, if not slightly punny initiative to add some beauty to the process.
If you go Cut Out The Darkness, you can submit a paper design as well as vote for other entrants designs. The top 100 designs will used to make real lampshades for the solar lanterns that will be shipped around the world. They even have paper artists judging the designs.
And while I appreciate some degree of quality control, (don't want nasty things being craved in a design) I think with so many people in need of light, it might be better to have nixed the contest element and just let people submit designs. The more important thing is knowing I helped some underdeveloped places see at night. Beyond that I don't get any reward out of it. Indeed, what I do get is the possibility of having my design get rejected by some artist I haven't heard of.
B- for effort.
At least Panasonic is putting its money where it's mouth is, so to speak. It has already donated 8,000 compact solar lights to non-profits, and NGOS in Myanmarand India and in African refugee camps.