November 25, 2017
Many rural areas around the world don't have access to power, so they cook over fire. Those fires are usually fueled by wood, manure, or coal. The fuel often has to be purchased, which can become quite a financial burden for families surviving on little income. Solar ovens have saved people in rural India, Africa, Haiti, and other areas fro the major daily expense of cooking fuel. It allows them to prepare the majority of their meals using the free energy of the sun.
One people are forced to survive longer-term power outages. The people of Puerto Rico, for example, had their power knocked out by Hurricane Maria recently. Most are still without power as of this writing, two months later. They will likely remain in this state for at least several more months. Locals are having to find alternative ways to cook and accomplish a number of other tasks they probably took for granted prior to Maria. Those who have solar cookers of some sort are in much better circumstances than those that have the scrape by in other ways.
The Gaza strip has, at times, been cut off from utilities and other resources they have relied on for cooking and the normal functions of everyday life. Eventually, they needed to find other ways to cope with the situation, so resident Yousef Abu Tawahina used basic materials - like 15 cement bricks, mud mixed with straw, some sheet metal, and a couple of sheets of common glass - to create a solar oven that could help them to cook with the sun. Others soon took notice, and before long, 40 to 45 other families, often in rural areas, were using similar ovens of their own. 1 It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. Yousef’s need led to an invention that made the difficult circumstances of many families in Gaza much easier bear.
Utility prices seem to continually be on the rise in the United States. When you’re on a fixed income, or when your income isn’t growing, those changes can be especially difficult to manage. If you aren’t careful, in many areas your power bill can end up being higher than your mortgage or rent payment each month.2 Rising utility costs have forced some families to search out additional ways to limit their energy consumption and expenses. Like the families in Gaza, some families are turning to solar cooking with devices like the Sun Oven. Instead of cooking every meal on an electric stove, they pull out their Sun Oven and are able to cook nearly anything they desire using nothing but the sun.
Circumstances in places like Puerto Rico, Haiti, India, and the United States are quite different, yet in many cases, families across the globe are finding that solar cooking is solving problems that make other cooking methods impractical or unavailable.
1.Bergstein, Rachel (2008, November 30). Solar Cooking Ovens: Another Eco-Solution from the Gaza Strip [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.greenprophet.com/2008/11/solar-ovens-...