Recurring tasks, when you are, say 7 billion strong, can become quite a strain on the environment that supports them. Since the discovery of fire, humans have fundamentally changed the face of the Earth. In his landmark book Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari points the mastery of cooking as one of the cusps in the relationship between Humans and nature.
Humans are able to digest cooked food much easier than raw as well as limit the risks of parasite and sicknesses. As more and more little humans started peppering the planet, trees followed the opposite trend. With fire, humans could now burn down entire forests in a matter of days to make space for fields, or force game out of their dens.
Thousands of years later, the great-great-great-great grandchildren of these early humans face the same challenge, on an entirely new planetary scale. How can we, not only feed but also preserve our forests and other fuels that have been the main driver of human welfare for all these years? It’s estimated that forest cover has already receded by as much as 80%.
In a previous article, we had seen how humans had been overusing resources for an extended period of time now. These problems have been with us since the dawn of days, as soon as our early American ancestors woke up one morning and discovered the mega sloths they were lunching on a bit too regularly. It wasn’t long before sabertooth tigers, woolly mammoths and dodos met the same fate to the hands of humans.
To this day, the use of woodfuel represents between 40-60% of total energy consumption in areas such as Oceania or tropical Africa. With an ever-increasing population, entire virgin forests are at risk. Local populations lack access to other fuel than the wood that surrounds them. Biogas (gasses produced by the breakdown of organic matter like agricultural or human waste, plants or foods) is becoming a viable alternative to cutting down the forests around the villages. In Brazil and Burundi,
Cooking happens 2-3 times a day. Between a classic open firewood stove and an improved firewood stove like the ones our partners from BUN-CA are equipping Central American Maya communities, a family saves 66% of wood on average. This translates into thousands of hectares of forests preserved from chopping.
The social consequence of these cooking stoves is that these people, especially the women – disproportionately burdened by the tasks of wood collection and cooking – have more time to develop economic, personal and community initiatives. Communities surrounded by healthy ecosystems are also guaranteed a better environment and security from natural disasters.
The organisation BUN-CA works to provide such cooking stoves to Maya communities of Guatemala and Honduras. The majority of the members of this community were displaced by the conflicts of the 90s and 2000s. All the mentioned organisation host live climate action campaign on our crowdfunding platform www.plana.earth. If you haven’t found what you were looking for, explore our climate action globe and find a project that you want to support!