- 2012 (nationwide) Teachers, it’s time to register for re-energy.ca’s 2011/12 Solar Oven Challenge. Students build, test, and bake with solar ovens using the construction plans provided at re-energy.ca, or using plans of their own design. You submit photos and descriptions of their creations, and in June, prizes are awarded to the class or group with the best submissions. Open to all Canadians, participants have ranged from grades 3 to 12, and from science classes to environmental clubs. To see past winners and submissions and to learn more about GreenLearning’s Solar Oven Challenge, visit the re-energy.ca website. If you’re not in Canada, the activity itself is still interesting and can be used – it’s only the contest that is restricted. Submission deadline with projects will be late May. Solar Challenge registration information
See also Calendar of events
News and Recent Developments
- February 2011: New solar distributor in Canada : Ecolo-Solaire, begin operation across Canada to supply solar BBQ, solar oven and multiple solar items!
- October 2010: Lorin and Fraser Symington, two Ottawa area solar technologists have traveled to Mexico to do research and development on Solar Fire technologies. http://www.solarfire.org describes the technologies and a number of activities around the world pertaining to them. Join the Facebook page to find out what's new!
- July 2010: The Annual Solar Challenge Awards. GreenLearning Canada hosts this delectable renewable energy challenge for Canadian classes every year which challenges participants to build, test and bake with solar ovens. Students use the solar oven construction plan provided by re-energy.ca, or they design their own plans. See award winners...
- June 1, 2008: A fundraising event called “Christmas in June for Darfur” is being held at the Unitarian Church of Montreal 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday June 1 to benefit Darfuri women refugees, Save Darfur Canada has announced. The church is located at 5035 De Maisonneuve West. The funds will be raised through the sale of gift cards to buy solar cookers at $15 each. Refugees use solar cookers to convert sunlight to heat for the cooking of food and purifying of water. For more information on this event, call Mary-Louise Engels at 514-487-2665, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the work providing Darfur refugees with solar cookers, see Jewish World Watch.
- July 2007: Sun Baked, a mission-driven business dedicated to promoting solar cooking as a sustainable practice, is now selling solar cookers through its Web site. The cookers include a box cooker from Portugal and two sizes of parabolic cookers from Germany. Several pictures of solar-cooked food can be found on the site, all of which link to a description of how the food was cooked. Sun Baked also offers a small-scale solar catering service targeted at farmer’s markets and other outdoor public events in Toronto. The organic, vegan menu includes a Sun Burger and a falafel patty plate, both cooked using a parabolic solar cooker. For downtown events the equipment and food are transported using a bicycle cart.
- April 2007: The Kyoto Twist Solar Cooking Society (KTSCS) continues its efforts to raise funds for solar cooking projects that reduce poverty in sun-rich, fuel-poor countries while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (The “twist” part of the name comes from the idea that those living in wealthier nations can change, or twist, their priorities and lifestyles to better share limited resources with those most in need.) KTSCS works with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that have solar cooker experience and a proven track record in countries where solar cookers are an appropriate technology. NGOs can request an application packet for consideration of funding. Project structure, recipient family selection parameters, training procedures, and follow-up services must be described in detail. To track the effectiveness of the projects, and to provide accountability to its donors, KTSCS will track the success of recipient families, their financial savings due to solar cooker use, and their greenhouse gas emission reductions. KTSCS funded its first pilot project in November 2005. The group that received funding -- Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team (AMURT) -- has worked in Haiti for over 15 years and has experience conducting solar cooker projects. “The Spirit of the Kyoto [Protocol] is international cooperation on what is now being called the biggest challenge mankind has ever faced ¬ massive and rapid climate change,” states the KTSCS Web site. “At an average cost of ten dollars per tonne, donating to KTSCS is an effective way to help make a difference. Cooking fires in the world today consume an estimated one billion cubic meters of wood or biomass annually, which produces an estimated one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. Those are easy figures to remember and very significant in the mitigation of global warming.”
- July 2005: Communities in Partnership, a Canadian organization that promotes solar cooking in Haiti, has introduced a new twist — the "Kyoto Twist." Canada’s government is encouraging its citizens to fight global climate change by reducing individual emissions of greenhouse gasses by one ton per year. Solar cookers in developing countries that displace the use of firewood save an estimated one to two tons of greenhouse gasses per year. The Kyoto Twist — named for the world’s greenhouse gas reduction treaty — enables Canadians to buy a solar cooker for a family in Haiti. The Haitian family gets immediate relief from firewood scarcity, high fuel prices and smoky kitchens, while the Canadian chalks up at least a one-ton reduction in greenhouse gasses. Contact: Jack Anderson, Box 191, Lund, BC V0N2G0, Canada. E-mail: email@example.com
- November 2006: In April 2007, two dozen young adults will embark on a human-powered trek from the North Pole to the South Pole, following an Eastern Hemisphere route. Canada’s Pole to Pole Leadership Institute, which is organizing the trek, "captures the imagination of youth world-wide by undertaking epic journeys that demonstrate how youth can overcome obstacles, become leaders in their own right, and effect positive global change." Working in conjunction with the trek team will be 80 members of advance teams that "work to produce tangible and positive results world-wide by assisting charitable projects addressing social, environmental and sustainable economic issues." One of the 10 advance teams will work on a project to provide solar cookers and training to over 1,000 African families. Contact: Pole to Pole Leadership Institute, Suite 503, 280 Nelson Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 2E2, Canada. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: http://www.poletopoleleadership.com
The History of Solar Cooking in Canada
Much of the nation of Canada is not well suited for solar cooking, at least for significant portions of the year, and with any other than very expensive equipment. However, the nation has provided consistent support and considerable financial resources to the cause of promoting solar cooking in places better suited than their own nation.
Examples of this support are numerous. A community in Canada has consistently supported solar cooking activities over many years in the extremely poor nation of Haiti. As far back as 1977, Dr. Thomas Bowman and his associates from the Florida Solar Energy Center conducted a survey to learn about the situation of cooking fuels in the country. That survey told what was fairly obvious to the eye - that cooking fuel was a major problem in this very poor nation and that some solution would be needed in the near future. A Canadian group constituted itself as Communities in Partnership and began to work seriously in Haiti not long after that time. They found an excellent resource in the Haitian-American Institute, which created a small solar cooking resource center. The Canadian members systematically sought materials to stock the resource center, and it became the de facto core of solar cooking activity in the country for some years.
Haiti has, as all know, experienced considerable political tension and unrest, and still does. Through all the turmoil, solar cooking activity has gone on. After a coup in 1991, the Canadians began even more systematic activity, creating a manual on how to conduct a solar cooking project, teaching local people to carry out training, follow-up, project evaluation, and so on. The Canadians have systematically gathered information from other projects, evaluated it for potential use in Haiti, and then transferred idea to action in applied work there.
Canadian Rotary Clubs have also been active in the support of solar cooking projects. As explained in the description of Rotary activities, the support of Rotary International for initiating a project requires a number of Rotary Clubs to contribute financial resources for the pilot activity. Much of that activity, spearheaded by Rotarian
Wilfred Pimentel of California, has drawn on Canadian clubs for support. Interestingly, a number of manufacturing firms making solar cookers are located in Canada.
Climate, Culture, and Special Considerations
Articles in the media
- October 2010: Riding the long road to sustainability - RosslandNews.com
- June 2010: Mexican students enjoy exchange with Kerlick College. B.C. - CastlegarNews.com
- July 2008: Now you're cooking with ... sun? - Ottawa Business Journal
- March 2008: Interview with a solar chef - EcoSpace Conscious Community
- August 2007: When the sun is shining, break out the solar oven - The Globe and Mail
Audio and video
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
Manufacturers and vendors