Gore Requests a Bit Less Soot for the Bottom Billion

When it comes to clean technology for the developing world, something as simple as a cleaner stove could help avoid a few impending public health and ecological disasters.

Al Gore brought up threat posed by dirty wood-burning stoves at the recent Cornell Global Forum on Sustainable Enterprise.


In a panel moderated by Charlie Rose, Gore brought considerable attention to south Asia, where much of the regional water supply comes from the Himalayas. Local wood stoves emit soot which leaches into the water table and, at higher altitudes, accelerates ice melting.

"You have an incredible, looming water crisis in southern Asia," said Gore.

An April Times article documenting the problem in India described how the collecting soot, also known as black carbon, was responsible for 18 percent of global warming, only second to carbon dioxide's 40 percent. With stoves producing the bulk of black carbon in Asia and Africa, the search for the cleaner stove has begun.

The most recent innovation is the Kyoto Box, a five-dollar stove that received the $75,000 FT Climate Change Challenge Award. The two-box model is designed to capture enough solar energy to bake and boil water. Kyoto Energy, the company behind the box, has apparently received requests for trials from 20 different countries and hopes to reach 500 million households.

Another intriguing design comes from Colorado State University's Envirofit International and the Shell Group's Shell Foundation.

Last year, the partnership worked to introduce the first market-based clean-burning wood stove model to 10 million homes, beginning with India, Brazil, Kenya and Uganda. The program was inspired by the less-documented problem of indoor air pollution created by dirty stoves. According to a 2008 Times story, the World Health Organization estimated that 1.6 million people a year died from indoor toxins created by old stoves.

While other groups are working to create similar clean-burning stoves, the movement to outfit the poor with these stoves hasn't yet gained real traction. But with Gore's blessing and the work of innovators like Kyoto, the bottom billion could cook its food far more sustainably.

Should you defend the free speech rights of neo-Nazis?

Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
  • In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

Moon mission 2.0: What humanity will learn by going back to the Moon

Going back to the moon will give us fresh insights about the creation of our solar system.

Videos
  • July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing — Apollo 11.
  • Today, we have a strong scientific case for returning to the moon: the original rock samples that we took from the moon revolutionized our view of how Earth and the solar system formed. We could now glean even more insights with fresh, nonchemically-altered samples.
  • NASA plans to send humans to a crater in the South Pole of the moon because it's safer there, and would allow for better communications with people back on Earth.

Top vets urge dog lovers to stop buying pugs and bulldogs

Pugs and bulldogs are incredibly trendy, but experts have massive animal welfare concerns about these genetically manipulated breeds. 

Photo by terriermandotcom.blogspot.com
popular
  • Pugs, Frenchies, boxers, shih-tzus and other flat-faced dog breeds have been trending for at least the last decade.
  • Higher visibility (usually in a celebrity's handbag), an increase in city living (smaller dogs for smaller homes), and possibly even the fine acting of Frank the Pug in 1997's Men in Black may be the cause.
  • These small, specialty pure breeds are seen as the pinnacle of cuteness – they have friendly personalities, endearing odd looks, and are perfect for Stranger Things video montages.
Keep reading Show less

U.S. Air Force warns UFO enthusiasts against storming Area 51

Jokesters and serious Area 51 raiders would be met with military force.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Facebook joke event to "raid Area 51" has already gained 1,000,000 "going" attendees.
  • The U.S. Air Force has issued an official warning to potential "raiders."
  • If anyone actually tries to storm an American military base, the use of deadly force is authorized.
Keep reading Show less