The other day I went to the NWTF branch office in Hinigaran to interview clients that recently purchased an Envirofit cookstove. Cookstoves have received a lot of positive publicity recently as a cheap and effective solution to the problem of indoor air pollution – a problem that claims 1.4 million lives every year. The predominant stove in use by the poor – a basic design with a fire lit beneath a pot resting on three stones (a “three-stone stove”) – burns inefficiently. Much of the heat from the stove is lost due to lack of insulation and the fuel – sticks or charcoal – does not burn completely, requiring more to produce the same amount of heat. What’s more, partially-burnt fuel produces smoke containing particulate matter that is particularly harmful to the lungs when inhaled. The Envirofit cookstove, designed in conjunction with researchers at the University of Colorado, is the product of air-flow modeling and rigorous testing. It is designed for efficiency.
I am in the process of researching an article about the impossibly complex topic of using carbon credits to finance small-scale energy ventures in the developing world. The experience reminds me of a religion course I took in college on the Old Testament. I was confident that my five years of Hebrew school (I graduated when I was 12) would be sufficient to land me a high grade without much effort. Unfortunately, I found out (too late) that there are, in fact, six five books of the Old Testament and I was familiar with a very small part of one those books (Genesis). Likewise, trying to learn more about this topic has led me to everything from arcane parts of the Kyoto Protocol to how the global market for carbon has fluctuated in the downturn. I wish I had chosen an easier topic, but the damage is done and now, hundreds of articles later, I know something about it. Continue reading
The core philosophy of microfinance is the double bottom line. It refers to the goals of the organization, which are a) to be profitable, and b) to be socially impactful. But there is another philosophy known as the triple bottom line, which adds ecological impact. Sometimes referred to as “people, planet, profit,” TBL promotes an environmentally-friendly approach to development. To that end, there are a host of products that serve each of the three goals. In this post, I will talk about one in particular: environmental cookstoves. Continue reading