Getting good coffee on a flight is not always possible, as coffee lovers world over know. How about getting a good coffee and do good at the same time? Sounds like a pipe dream, right? Well, in 2009, Southwest Airlines introduced a new onboard coffee experience called LIFT, a dark-roasted 100 percent Arabica blend of South and Central American coffees that sounds and tastes delicious. And it’s not just coffee experience. It’s also a way of connecting clients with sustainable projects in Central America in the fields of renewable energy.
When passengers purchase LIFT, they also donate to green-energy projects in coffee-growing regions. In total, the program has distributed $45,000 in funds so far. The first project to receive LIFT funds was the Guatemala Light Project, which brings electric power to isolated villages.
In June 2012, the airline started to support green light projects in Peru through Light Up the World (LUTW), which connects villages with no access to the grid with clean, sustainable power. LUTW has brought solar power to more than one million in 54 countries, in partnership with more than 200 organizations.
LUTW has helped supply homes with solar-powered LED light systems and have funded training for villagers on how to install them. LUTW says that it’s essential to train users on how to maintain solar technology, hence the emphasis on training and mentoring technicians in the communities assisted. So far, 81 technicians have been trained as part of the activities of the projects.
In Peru specifically, LUTW’s actions has included the installation of 321 solar home systems in 18 villages and nine community buildings. They have benefitted more than 1,000 people with electricity to their homes while nearly 8,000 people have got access to electricity in their communities.
The arrival of clean electricity is a relief to those people who, in the absence of that, have to resort to dirty alternatives such as kerosene and candles to get light. Besides being toxic to the environment, those alternatives can be very expensive because they need to be constantly replaced.
Conversely, solar power costs nothing to run and produces no emissions. It enhances lives in a safe, economical and comfortable way. Besides, it provides new educational opportunities.
If you are coffee lover flying on a Southwest Airlines flight, get a LIFT coffee. It provides more than caffeine-fueled energy.
Image credit: Southwest Airlines
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