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September 23, 2010

The Bigger Question is Why Wasn't This Done Sooner?

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This week Hillary Clinton announced a, “cross-cutting issue” that affects health, the environment and women’s status in much of the world. “That’s what makes it such a good subject for a coordinated approach of governments, aid organizations and the private sector.” 

The solution comes in the form of a not-so-everyday cook stove--one that on the $20 model is 50% more efficient, and with the "$100 model can capture 95% of the harmful emissions while burning far less fuel to produce the same amount of energy," according to NY Times article.  Smoke from open burning, "kills 1.9 million people, mostly women and children, from lung and heart diseases and low birth weight. Go here for the full article.

Clean burning stoves are an elegant solution to helping women, children and men have a carbon-free home, while not polluting the atmosphere from millions of fires and at the same time keeping more women safe as less fuel is needed and they don't have to forage as far in dangerous territories for wood. [thank you to good guy, John Broder for bringing the story forward]

But why wasn't it done sooner? It's such an easy and elegant fix for many issues; what held others from putting this idea from advancing? In a word, gender. That's not a criticism, it's a reality. If you don't touch the problem every day, you don't feel the issue. Around the world, cooking is women's work and because of that, it isn't on the top of the male mind to fix it. 

Hillary Clinton, a long champion of women's rights, is the spokesmodel for the issue along with Lisa P. Jackson from the EPA and others who have worked together to launch this project on a global scale. Granted, Hillary already admitted that she's not the type to stay home and bake cookies for her man, but she is sensitive to the issues of those who do and that's what makes the difference.

When gender is balanced at a partnership level, good things happen on a global level. Women's issues come to the forefront instead of overlooked. Under a "partnership" economic model, families thrive as well as business. In this case, nearly HALF the people on the planet use inefficient stoves in order to cook food. Providing clean burning stoves and replacing them every few years is a big economic boom to everyone in the supply chain.

It's proof that going green is a good thing for the economy even on its most basic level, and that the leadership for this change will be come from those who touch the issues everyday at home--women.

For more information contact Leslie Cordes, Senior Director of Partnership Development, Lcordes@unfoundation.org and check out www.cleancookstoves.org.

 

 

 

 

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