The World Health Organization reports that around three billion people cook and heat their homes with an open fire that burns biomass such as wood and coal. That’s HALF of all people in the world! Nearly two million people die prematurely from illness attributable to indoor air pollution from household solid fuel use. Eighty five percent of those people who die are women and children.
Those are staggering numbers! How many of us in the developed world knew about this? I mean the last time I lit a wood fire was on a recreational camping trip. Not to eat my next meal.
You may wonder why so many people burn wood, coal, or dung for heating and cooking. Simply it’s because these are often the only resources available and affordable. People use what they have to survive. Oftentimes they go to great lengths, like walking many miles, to get fuel such as wood.
Fortunately there are clean stoves that can greatly reduce the poisons that are emitted when heating and cooking with biomass. These stoves are based on the Rocket Stove. It’s design helps combust all the material that are being burned. That way it doesn’t end up in the air.
One example is the StoveTec Stove developed by the Aprovecho Research Center. They have models that burn wood, coal, and pasteurize water. They range in costs from approximately $90 to $115 USD. But you can buy one for someone in need for only $15.
For some of us in the US these stoves could be a great alternative to the gas grill you have out back. Do your part in reducing the demand for natural gas in the US. Use waste wood instead and put the remaining charcoal in your soil for the garden. Plus you can put fewer greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and help slow global warming.
I’m going to get one for someone who really needs a clean stove and try it out myself too. Join me!
Tech for Good 001
The Aprovecho Institutional Rocket Stove (Video)
This is cross posted from Chapelboro.com. Thanks to them for allowing me to post it here.
Al Gore calls for “100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.” What are our local governments doing to take this challenge and make it a reality locally?
This was originally a comment on a thread at OrangePolitics.org.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of seeing Van Jones speak. He co-founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and is founder and president of Green For All. He spoke convincingly of a future of increased equality and how one of the roads to this future is green jobs. Green-collar jobs are employment in the environmental or agricultural sectors of the economy. [Source: Wikipedia] But they also include any work that will help transform our society into a more environmentally sustainable one.
One way our local government leaders could participate in this national movement is to sign the Green Jobs Pledge. Its goal is to "rebuild American competitiveness and environmental leadership by growing a green economy that fights global warming, pollution and poverty at the same time." Here are the five steps this pledge asks our leaders to agree to:
- Commit to Action
- Create a Green-collar Jobs Taskforce
- Identify Goals and Assess Opportunities
- Create a Local Action Plan
- Evaluate, Leverage and Grow
So far the the U.S. Conference of Mayors has agreed with Green For All that this pledge is good idea. Mayor Martin ChÃ¡vez of Albuquerque, New Mexico and County Executive Ron Sims of King County, Washington have put there name on it. You can download the Green Jobs Pledge Packet here. [PDF]
Let’s discuss ways we can build a green economy from the ground up, and see if we can get our elected officials to take the pledge.
This post was first published on OrangePolitics.org.
Another informative blog post from Tree Hugger. This one about the movie Garbage Warrior. WATCH this trailer.
What do beer cans, car tires and water bottles have in common? Not much unless you’re renegade architect Michael Reynolds, in which case they are tools of choice for producing thermal mass and energy-independent housing. For 30 years New Mexico-based Reynolds and his green disciples have devoted their time to advancing the art of “Earthship Biotecture” by building self-sufficient, off-the-grid communities where design and function converge in eco-harmony. However, these experimental structures that defy state standards create conflict between Reynolds and the authorities, who are backed by big business. Frustrated by antiquated legislation, Reynolds lobbies for the right to create a sustainable living test site. While politicians hum and ha, Mother Nature strikes, leaving communities devastated by tsunamis and hurricanes. Reynolds and his crew seize the opportunity to lend their pioneering skills to those who need it most. Shot over three years and in four countries, Garbage Warrior is a timely portrait of a determined visionary, a hero of the 21st century.
Earthship n. 1. passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials 2. thermal mass construction for temperature stabilization. 3. renewable energy & integrated water systems make the Earthship an off-grid home with little to no utility bills.
Biotecture n. 1. the profession of designing buildings and environments with consideration for their sustainability. 2. A combination of biology and architecture.
Recently Duke Energy received permission from the State of North Carolina to build a new coal fired power plant in Cliffside, North Carolina. Despite the facts that this new plant could be a major polluter of CO2, mercury, and evaporate 21 million gallons of water each day. You can find all the details here on NC Warn’s website.
Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers claims a giant coal-fired power plant would be â€œgood for the environment.â€ This is nothing but green scamming. Watch this short video about his claims and the facts.
“Stopping this new plant is the best thing you can do to stop global warming.” – Dr. James Hansen, Director, NASA’s Goddard Institute
When you’re done contact Mr. Rogers and tell him to cancel Cliffside!
Jim Rogers, CEO
c/o Duke Energy
PO Box 1090
Charlotte, NC 28201-1090
By now the bad drought the South Eastern United States is experiencing is old news. We are already in stage two [PDF] water restrictions here in Orange County, North Carolina. But today I found a map that blew my mind. North Carolina looks like the worst hit overall than any other state right now. Check this out.
via: U.S. Drought Monitor, University Nebraska – Lincoln
See that state that is almost completely covered in dark oranges and reds? Yep that’s North Carolina. We’ve got a bad drought going on. Not to belittle other states around us who are suffering too like Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia. So now check out the close up.
Here are the NC archives of this map since 2001.
Soon we may go into stage three water restrictions. But I feel good about our local PUBLICLY owned water and sewer system. Its managed by OWASA. They have planed well and so far we’re not feeling it too bad. I chalk that up to the progressive people in our county that have cared about conservation LONG before it was mandatory. Some real wisdom to be inspired and motivated by.
I found these maps at the NC Drought Management Advisory Council website. Thank you! Such a good way to spend our tax dollars. A website that is actually USEFUL!
Here’s a video about environmentally friendly electricity generation. I have some questions and ideas. Might you have answers? (Seesmic the video community is rocking pretty hard).
Smelled something odd this morning. Didn’t think anything of it. Then I got this email from the Town of Chapel Hill:
Due to the cold front passing through, the smoke from the Georgia wildfires has migrated to North Carolina. You may see a slight haze and smell smoke in the area from these wildfires, the Chapel Hill Fire Department reports.
If you feel your situation is different (if the smoke is abnormally thick or heavy in your area) do not dismiss it. Call 911.
Later came the more cryptic National Weather statement:
FPUS72 KRAH 161418
NOWRAH SHORT TERM FORECAST NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RALEIGH NC 1018 AM EDT WED MAY 16 2007 NCZ007>010-021>026-038>041-073>077-083>086-088-161745- PERSON-GRANVILLE-VANCE-WARREN-FORSYTH-GUILFORD-ALAMANCE-ORANGE- DURHAM-FRANKLIN-DAVIDSON-RANDOLPH-CHATHAM-WAKE-STANLY-MONTGOMERY- MOORE-LEE-HARNETT-ANSON-RICHMOND-SCOTLAND-HOKE-CUMBERLAND- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…ROXBORO…OXFORD…HENDERSON… WARRENTON…WINSTON-SALEM…GREENSBORO…HIGH POINT… BURLINGTON…CHAPEL HILL…DURHAM…LOUISBURG…LEXINGTON… ASHEBORO…PITTSBORO…RALEIGH…ALBEMARLE…TROY… SOUTHERN PINES…SANFORD…LILLINGTON…WADESBORO…ROCKINGHAM… LAURINBURG…RAEFORD…FAYETTEVILLE 1018 AM EDT WED MAY 16 2007 .NOW… STRONG SOUTHWESTERLY WINDS OF 35 TO 40 MPH JUST OFF THE SURFACE WILL SPREAD A SMOKE PLUME ACROSS PORTIONS OF CENTRAL NORTH CAROLINA THROUGH NOON TODAY. THE SMOKE PLUME ORIGINATES FROM WILDFIRES IN PARTS OF SOUTHEAST GEORGIA AND NORTHERN FLORIDA. AS THE AIR TEMPERATURES CONTINUES TO HEAT UP…THE SMOKE PLUME SHOULD GRADUALLY LIFT HIGHER IN THE ATMOSPHERE AND BECOME LESS CONCENTRATED. UNTIL THEN…THE SMOKE PLUME WILL CAUSE HAZY CONDITIONS…REDUCING VISIBILITY RESTRICTIONS TO 3 TO 5 MILES. PERSONS WHO SUFFER FROM ASTHMA OR OTHER BREATHING AILMENTS SHOULD LIMIT OUTDOOR EXPOSURE TODAY.
The Florida fires raging now where said to have been started by lightning. The smoke here in North Carolina far away from Georgia and Northern Florida is an amazing effect. It demonstrates the truly global nature of our environments change. It got me wondering if the amount of lightning has increased and or decreased along with global climate change.
After a bit of google searching I found the document Possible implications of global climate change on global lightning distributions and frequencies. It says:
The results suggest a 30% increase in global lightning activity for the warmer climate and a 24% decrease in global lightning activity for the colder climate.
To me the smoke outside demonstrates the interconnectiveness of everyone on Earth. In this example all of the South Eastern United States. Will it be really hard for future generations to breath? Will we all be gasping for air?
Right now everything is fine. It just smells bad for most folks. But just when you think you can be at a safe distance from the problems in the world…
Welcome to blogging Sierra Club NC. Tom Jensen is the perfect person to help you with this effort. Thanks for joining us. We shall be reading.
What is going on? Last weekend here in Chapel Hill it was 70 degrees. Now we have a light, but sticky, covering of snow on the ground. Is this extreme weather related to Global Warming? Is this the effect of a El NiÃ±o on Global Warming?
One respected climate scientist who has gone out on a limb about the global warming-El NiÃ±o connection is Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He thinks that El NiÃ±o may function as a kind of pressure release valve on the tropics. In an era of global warming, Trenberth says, ocean currents and weather systems might not be able to bleed off all the heat pumped into the tropical seas. Periodically, it has to get rid of the excess that builds up, he suggests, and that safety valve is El NiÃ±o.