Exploring humanity’s unique relationship with our brightest star.
It is literally the oldest story in the book, and no matter how you interpret it, we can all agree that the sun sparked and sustains life on Earth. Without it, our planet would probably be nothing more than a ball of ice and as for humans, well in all likelihood we wouldn’t exist. However, our relationship with the sun goes so much deeper. Beyond sustaining an environment in which we can survive, it powers our minds and bodies, is an intrinsic part of culture and everyday we find more ways to embrace its power and let it light the way towards the future. Let’s take a closer look.
The light in our lives
Primitive humans worshiped the sun. Cultures from the Aborigine to the Aztecs, Mesopotanians and more have passed down legends, artifacts and structures, all dedicated to explaining its power and trying to understand its movements and influence over our lives. An influence that continues even today, as traditions celebrating the sun Goddesses or Gods are still honoured in some form, across the continents. Another tradition that continues is the need to study and understand the sun from a scientific perspective as well. The sun is an iconic symbol and continues to be a source of inspiration for storytellers, artists and scientists alike.
The sun pretty much powers the world around us. It warms our planet and sets into motion chemical and physical processes. It drives the water cycle and influences the weather, keeping the oceans from overflowing and ensuring that rainfall is plentiful. Its light and warmth sustain vegetation, allowing plants to grow, produce oxygen and be available as a source of food. It also influences agricultural practices that have helped civilizations thrive for over 10,000 years. And even the fossil fuels that have been reliant on for a long time get their energy from the sun.
It’s in our DNA
According to an article in the Helix, the ability to capture sunlight is coded into our DNA stating that the human body produces proteins that transform light energy into chemical energy. Some of these proteins detect light and are key players in helping us see and identify colour. One of these proteins, known as melanopsin, uses light energy to set our biological clock and may be involved in embryonic development.
The strength to keep going
A healthy dose of sunshine is also responsible for keeping us physically and mentally strong. It’s no secret that it is a good source of Vitamin D which is essential for bone health, modulating cell growth, immune system functions and more. Emerging research also suggests that it can play a key role in preventing and treating diabetes, hypertension and multiple sclerosis. Sun exposure has also proven to produce beta-endorphins, the hormones that reduce pain, help heal wounds, and promote relaxation. And is known to stabilize moods as well as help us stay focused and happy.
Powering our world
The sun doesn’t just power the natural world, it powers a lot of our daily activities and has been doing so for as long as people can remember. Whether it is shining a light, drying or cooking, the sun is a part of our everyday lives. And with the developments in technology we are now able to harness its energy and convert into electricity that powers so much of our daily necessities, be it homes, electronics, machinery, even planes. And research and innovation continues so that we can learn more about the sun and put its clea, powerful energy to good use.
We are solar powered humans
We think it is safe to say that all of us run on sun power. It connects us to the natural world and to each other. So if we haven’t yet, it is up to us to open our eyes and embrace all the good the sun has to offer, to support each other and to do what we must to protect the world we live in and create a sustainable future for all of us under the sun. Here’s to being more and more solar powered and never running out of charge!