Image: U.S. Consulate Chennai via flickr
Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves executive director sat on stage today at the Social Good Summit with prestigious chef José Andrés to talk about cookstoves, an issue that has been gaining attention lately but is still tremendously underestimated.
According to the alliance, meals in almost half of all the world's households are prepared over a fire or an inefficient cookstove that is fueled by wood or charcoal or another solid, pollution-intensive fuel. It's an environmental issue because of the deforestation driven by the need for wood and the emissions produced during cooking, but it's also a health issue: smoke inhalation from everyday cooking is responsible for the premature deaths of nearly two million people—most of them women and children—every year. Andrés made the connection between health and the environment: people keep cutting trees and every time the rainy season comes, "the mountain becomes this cascade of water that washes away the only soil they have to produce food."
The soil goes to the sea, which in turn disrupts marine ecosystems. "Without water we know there is no life," he said.
Andrés said it's the responsibility of chefs like him to talk more about food and hunger around the world, and just as importantly, how food is produced. He said food is the most important fuel in the world, but it doesn't stop at just providing that food. "Clean cookstoves are at the heart of everything because we have to cook that food."
He has been teaching a course at Harvard, saying he wants to be a part of educating the next generation.
"I feed the rich, I feel the powerful," he said, and he and his fellow chefs "hold the truth about how to feed the world."
More on clean cookstoves:
US Invests $50 Million in Cleaner Cook Stoves
US $50 Million Pledge For Cleaner Cookstoves is Big Win For Women, Forests & Climate
A Cookstove Revolution is Simmering Around the World