The Stovers

“More than half of the world’s population—three billion people—cook their food and heat their homes by burning coal and biomass, including wood, dung, and crop residues, in open fires or rudimentary stoves. Indoor burning of solid fuels releases dangerous particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and other toxic pollutants, and releases greenhouse gases into the air. The resulting indoor air pollution levels are 20 to 100 times greater than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) air quality guidelines allow. Unfortunately, the health risks and threats to the environment are on the rise: the International Energy Agency estimates that 200 million more people will use these fuels by 2030.

“WHO estimates that 1.5 million people die prematurely each year from exposure to indoor smoke from burning solid fuels. In fact, indoor air pollution from household energy is ranked fourth in the list of serious threats to health in less developing countries, after malnutrition, unsafe sex, and unsafe water. Women and children face the greatest risks. Breathing unsafe levels of smoke indoors more than doubles a child’s risk of serious respiratory infection and is associated with pregnancy problems, such as stillbirth and low-weight babies.” Partnership for Clean Indoor Air

I call them “Stovers”, a loose network of people who are experimenting on smokeless stoves that use very little fuel and ideally produce charcoal for use as biochar or for other heating.

A prominent pioneer in this field is Nat Mulcalhy of WorldStove.  His explanation and demonstration of this great stove is far better than the video, but please bear with it… and don’t worry, there are english subtitles!

I would love to get my hands on one of his Lucia stoves. I just happen to think this would be a great catalyst to trigger conversations that I could video.

Here is a combination of grass-roots organization and appropriate technology which contributes to the local economy.

In this next example, solar stoves at a refugee camp for Darfur refugees.

We can see how the stoves are made in the local community.

There are many other examples of economic development and stove technology coming on this website. But they all adhere to the belief that we must cut down on the amount of fuels we use for cooking and heating.

Bear in mind:

Nationwide, the estimated 60 million barbecues held on the Fourth of July alone consume enough energy—in the form of charcoal, lighter fluid, gas, and electricity—to power 20,000 households for a year. That one day of fun, food, and celebration, says Tristram West, a research scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy, burns the equivalent of 2,300 acres of forest and releases 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. It also produces other air pollutants — including a few that might surprise you. Sierra Club


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