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Clean cookstoves r you...

Rick's interview with American journalist Burkhard Bilger (Oct 21/24), about the climate and health crisis in the world caused by cookstoves, brought some comments about the quest to design a clean cookstove that might serve millions of families across the world.

Susan Gage of Victoria writes:

The interview with Burkard Bilger on clean-burning stoves warmed my heart. I was there last February, in the little Guatemalan village of San Antonio Palop├│, Guatemala, when the truck arrived with its load of clean-burning, fuel-efficient stoves. I'll never forget the sight of the waiting families rushing out to help carry the heavy cement blocks, the fire-box parts, the metal planchas, up the steep lakeside hill to their homes. Goodbye to smoky open-hearth fires, to burns and respiratory diseases, to spending a big slice of their small earnings on firewood.

Susan Gage continues...

I'm a member of InnovativeCommunities.Org a small Victoria-based charity that has worked for several years to install clean-burning stoves in San Antonio and other Mayan communities on the steep sides of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. Already, we hear from the nurses in the health clinics that health is improving in the region. But what I didn't know, until I heard your interview with Bilger, is that open-fire-cooking is the second-biggest source of global warming. What an inspiration to keep on madly fundraising to install more stoves!

 An even greater inspiration came, sadly, in the last few months. At the end of last May, and then again in early September, San Antonio and its neighbouring communities were hit hard by storms and torrential rains. Huge landslides swept down the mountainside, bringing death and destruction. One of the causes, as well as the record-breaking rains, was deforestation.

All of those open-hearth fires have been gobbling up all the trees that once held the soil in place. When you replace an open-hearth fire with a clean-burning stove, you not only improve the health of families and reduce the number of C02s in the atmosphere; you reduce the amount of firewood by 70%.

Michael Irwin of Kelowna adds this:

I enjoyed the segment on cookstoves. But I was disappointed that the carbon credits section was not more expanded.  Google Luciastove and Worldstove Haiti.

Nothing was said about how the stoves might qualify for carbon credits.  Given the huge size of the potential market, the carbon negative aspect of pyrolyzing stoves offer more than smoke free indoor air but also significant free soil enhancement, the use of crop residue fuels (saving forests) and even the possibility of selling biochar.

These stoves are the tip of the iceberg of the positive story of biochar which should be making the news in a big way.


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