Organic Consumers Association

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Cooker Reduces Black Carbon Problem

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Organic Transitions page.

It's a wonder gadget. It safeguards eyes and lungs.

It protects glaciers from melting. It saves forests. This miracle device is... a cooker.

The organization Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves says the smoky mud stoves used in developing countries are a health problem that disproportionately affects women.

In many traditional societies, cooking and fuel collection remains a woman's responsibility. And the black smoke from these stoves is wrecking the health of millions of people each year.

It's only more recently acknowledged that the black smoke from the stoves is also heating the atmosphere and contributing to the decline of glaciers.

Sooty particles from the open fires drift up to mountains where they settle on gleaming white ice, making it darker and more prone to absorbing heat from the Sun.

A recent paper concluded that soot from Europe's industrial revolution could have shrunk Alpine glaciers.

The same is happening now in the Himalayas where the glaciers supply tens of millions of people with meltwater which keeps rivers flowing during the dry season.

A remedy that tackles both problems is a new-style cooker which reduces smoke by 80%. It also needs only half as much wood fuel, which reduces the strain on forests and saves people time.    

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