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Cooking can kill, but these Rotarians are changing that

By Cathryn Wellner / November 18, 2015
The stove looks simple, but it is efficient, can be used indoors safely, and saves lives; photo from Stove Team International's Facebook page

The stove looks simple, but it is efficient, can be used indoors safely, and saves lives; photo from Stove Team International’s Facebook page

 

For millions of people around the world, cooking is a deadly activity. Fire gets away and kills eight times more children than malaria. Fumes cause respiratory, eye and skin problems. Even finding the fuel to burn is a huge problem, and burning that fuel contributes a billion tons of greenhouses gases.

Enter Stove Team International, the non-profit launched by Nancy Hughes. When she met a Guatemalan woman whose hands were burned shut because of a cooking fire and learned of sick babies who could not be intubated because their lungs were choked with creosote, she knew she had to do something.

She galvanized the Eugene, Oregon, Southtowne Rotary Club. They designed a stove that would be more efficient and less polluting. The result was the Ecocina. It uses half the wood, reduces carbon emissions by 68% and particulate matter by more than 86% and produces very little smoke. The stoves are built on site, by local people using local materials.

These Rotarians saw a serious problem and swung into action. They give me hope.

You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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