The Sun as Sous Chef—Solar Cooking in Kenya
July 12, 2007With concern over climate change, the sun promises a clean and renewable energy source, which those of us in rich countries often associate with expensive photovoltaic panels for generating electricity. Yet in poverty stricken areas, a far simpler technology—using ample sunlight as a free source for cooking—may transform the lives of women socially, economically and politically, and through them, their families.
|Sustainable DesignJust as CSD-15 was getting underway, further uptown in New York “Design for the Other 90%” opened at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design to showcase a new and important trend—socially responsible, sustainable and “humanitarian” design. The title is meant to suggest that this new breed of socially conscious designers tackles the needs of those traditionally ignored by the design profession, which caters to the privileged 10%. Among more than 30 works—all of them affordable—is a parabolic solar cooker, used in schools and hospitals. Dwarfing the modest panel type device, it is made of bicycle parts and a mass of small variety store vanity mirrors. One of the show’s posters outlines the kind of problem these designers hoped to address: “In rural Africa, women transport more than three times as much goods as men, often carrying fuel, water and produce on their heads—often at great cost to their physical health….often fifteen to thirty hours a week.” The exhibit continues through September 23.—Regina Cornwell|