Being able to obtain boiling water quickly, easily, and safely, is taken for granted by most members of developed nations. But for the estimated three billion people around the globe who still use firewood to cook, obtaining boiling water is anything but quick, easy, and safe. In fact, millions of children become sick every year — and many of them die — due to a lack of access to clean drinking water; while the most common way to purify non-bottled water, in impoverished areas, is by boiling. Furthermore, smoke inhalation is oftentimes unavoidable for mothers and their families, and results in untold health problems and household fires. Thus there is a clear and immediate need for a reliable method whereby low-income people in developing nations can boil water without resorting to burning wood, animal dung, and other substances that give off carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
The answer may be the Kyoto Box, a solar-powered cooker made of common materials — mostly cardboard, acrylic, and aluminum foil — that can be built for roughly five euros, and yet provide an incalculable benefit to humanity and the environment. It is made using two boxes that, ironically enough, leverage the greenhouse effect: One box is placed within the other, with a clear acrylic cover on top, which lets in the sunshine and traps the heat. The outer box is lined with aluminum foil to concentrate the heat on the inner box, which is painted black to better absorb the UV rays. The inner box can be insulated from the outer one by separating them with straw, wadded up newspaper, or some other light material. The Kyoto Box can boil ten liters of water in two hours, which is more than enough for the typical family's needs.
The device was designed by Jon Bøhmer, a Kenya-based entrepreneur and owner of the design firm Kyoto Energy. He notes that his company can produce these ingenious devices with corrugated plastic instead of cardboard, for greater durability, yet at the same cost as the cardboard prototypes. He is planning on deploying 10,000 such cookers in ten countries, including India, Indonesia, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda. He hopes to use the data from these trials to apply for carbon credits, which could generate a yearly profit of up to 30 euros per cooker. Any excess revenues can then be used to launch other solar-powered products, such as a torch, a smokeless cooker to burn biomass, and a plastic bag that heats and cleans water.
The Kyoto Box is such a simple yet potentially invaluable invention that it won the most recent FT Climate Change Challenge, which is a worldwide competition intended to attract the most innovative solutions for our climate change problems. It was announced on 9 April 2009 that Bøhmer's cooker edged out more than 300 other entries, taking the first prize of $75,000. The competition was sponsored by technology giant Hewlett-Packard, and created in conjunction with the Financial Times (FT) and Forum for the Future. The winner was chosen based on public votes from a panel of business leaders and climate change experts. The prize money will be used to fund the aforesaid trials in various countries.
Given the legendarily wet and cold weather of the British Isles, it is obvious that British mothers must have learned through innumerable generations how to keep their babies and children dry and warm. Fortunately for them, some of the finest wool in the world is grown right there on their native soil. From the tip of Cornwall up to the Highlands of Scotland, the climate and vegetation are ideal for raising sheep unequaled for the comfort and warmth of their wool. In this high-tech era, the Internet makes it possible for mothers the world over to obtain clothing and toys made with that superlative material. The first place to start is Cosytots Organics, located in St Columb Major, Cornwall, England. The enterprise was started by Miss Kathy Broussart, who has always enjoyed knitting as a hobby, and at age 15 began to knit with her grandmother, who used to be a knitter for Phildar, a French wool company. In August 2008, Kathy teamed up with her partner (when both lost their jobs) and her mother (who is unable to work outside the home for health reasons), for a home business. Kathy noticed that her children did not have the same enduring relationships with their teddy bears as Kathy did as a child, so she started with a pattern book devoted to teddy bears and soft toys. She also began researching organic wool and its many benefits, and discovered that organic wool in the UK is only produced by two companies, and her own county has its own organic wool. So now Cosytots Organics makes available classically-styled teddy bears and other toys handmade from organic wool, as well as hand-crocheted baby blankets. Visit her site today and find the ideal home-crafted blankets and teddy bears for your children.
For such a relatively young country, America has a long tradition of environmentalism — beginning with the ecological stewardship of the Native American Indians, defended in the writings of authors such as Thoreau, formalized in conservation groups such as the Audubon Society, and now culminating in countless NGOs and other organizations working to protect our remaining wilderness and unpolluted waters. In addition, the Internet has made it extremely quick and easy to research greener alternatives in every area of life, including consumer goods. Yet even today there are far too many Americans who apparently are clueless as to what their consumerism is doing to the planet, and how they could help turn the tide. Tammy Wilson, of Earthlover Shopping, may on occasion encounter people who think going green is just another fad. But she still enjoys educating all prospective buyers as to the environmentally friendly options that are available to them. Earthlover Shopping — located in Moultrie, Georgia — was founded in October of 2008, when Tammy and her family decided to start an environmentally-focused business — one that would have a positive impact on the world, especially for children, many of whom are growing up with the attitude that all shopping is done at the mall, with no consideration for the fair trade and recyclability status of the products they choose. In contrast, Earthlover Shopping offers a wide array of eco-conscious products for the home, including personal care items, decorations, toys, baby accessories, and gifts. All of the items are fair trade, natural, handmade, organic, recycled and recyclable as much as possible — making it the perfect destination for shoppers who love the Earth and want to make a world of difference.
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