Across the Himalayas, rural farmers and villagers rely on open, wood-fuelled fires inside their homes to cook their meals. The sheer amount of smoke created in these unventilated homes makes thousands of people ill every year, especially the women and children who do the cooking and spend most of their time indoors. In fact, lung diseases caused by household air pollution kills at least 23 people a day in Nepal alone. The Himalayan Permaculture Centre (HPC) is a grassroots organization that’s working with these families and teaching them how to build permanent, healthier ovens in their homes. These stoves are created from bricks made with local materials, and not only do they use far less fuel that open cooking fires do, all smoke is whisked out of the house through a chimney pipe.

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In the training videocreated by the HPC, a group of Nepalese men and women sing about how one’s health is their most important possession, and how creating these new cooking ranges can be of huge benefit to all family members. They reach out to their brothers and sisters with encouraging lyrics, and the video itself shows how simple it is to build the stoves, and how much they improve life overall. These stoves also help to improve the health of local forests, as they burn slowly and make efficient use of all fuel, so much less wood is needed to create the heat required for cooking. Check out the Himalayan Permaculture page for more information, or watch the demo video with subtitles on to learn more about how the ovens are constructed. Although the stoves are being implemented across the Himalayas, their simple design can be adapted for all kinds of dwellings around the world.

+ Himalayan Permaculture Centre

Lead image © Braasch via World View of Global Warming

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