Here are ten ways solar cookers help save lives and the environment.
1. Problem 2.8 billion people cook their daily meals over open flames using wood and agricultural waste, more than at any time in human history. An estimated four million people die each year from breathing this household cooking smoke—making it a larger cause of death than malaria. 500,000 of these are child pneumonia deaths.
Solution Solar cooking does not generate smoke or other toxins.
2. Problem Preventable water born diseases are responsible for 80% of all illnesses and deaths in the developing world. Pasteurization to make water safe to drink requires long cooking times, using more fuel than many families are buy or find.
Solution Solar cookers safely pasteurize water and milk for free.
3. Problem An estimated seven million people suffer severe disabling burns each year, most of them poor women and children in developing countries who use open flames for cooking.
Solution Solar cookers eliminate the danger of death and disfigurement by open flames.
4. Problem Smoke produced each day from these cooking fires contributes to the growing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Solution Solar cooking produces zero carbon dioxide emissions.
5. Problem The destruction of trees for firewood is a leading cause of the deforestation that results in erosion and desert expansion.
Solution Solar cooking reduces the need to forage for wood and brush, helping preserve forests and grazing lands.
6. Problem As biomass fuel gets harder to find and more expensive to buy, families in poverty worldwide now spend 25% or more of their income on cooking fuel.
Solution Solar cooking can cut a family’s traditional fuel needs in half, reducing the need to trade food for scarce cooking fuel.
7. Problem Women and girls—who do most of the fuel gathering — risk attack, rape and death each time they leave their villages to search for firewood. As biomass fuels become more scarce, their searches take longer, and become more dangerous.
Solution Solar cooking increases the personal safety of women and children.
8. Problem Women in developing countries spend the large part of each day stirring food and monitoring fires.
Solution Solar cookers can be designed so food does not need to be stirred, will not burn, and can be left outdoors to cook unattended for several hours.
9. Problem Nutritious foods like legumes and many whole grains take hours to cook, an impossible luxury for poor families relying on costly fuel.
Solution Solar cookers make cost moot, and the moderate cooking temperatures made possible by some solar cookers help preserve nutrients more effectively than hotter fires.
10. Problem Cooking and foraging time spent using traditional fuels keeps girls out of school and women unable to use their time in other productive ways.
Solution Solar cooking frees children to get their education, and women to engage in other productive activities that improve quality of life for themselves, their families and community.