Surely you jest! Take it easy, folks. It’s still okay to seek sage advice from your favorite rock & roll band, they would never lead us astray on purpose. But when Jagger croons about time being our our side, the science says otherwise.
Did you know that unimproved cookstoves contribute to global warming?
The everyday task of cooking poses a major health threat for billions of people worldwide. A global effort is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into making better cookstoves. Companies are responding with new designs. The question is, how much better are they? Researchers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are finding out. VOA’s Steve Baragona has a look.
We grew up in Dallas, a city that seems to change at a greater rate than much of the US, but perhaps that is just my perception. Our favorite family Thai restaurant got bulldozed for a Super Target, and many of the haunts of our youth are long gone now. Change is inevitable I suppose, and the more we experience change the more accustomed we get to it. But not all change is good.
We seem to have adapted to a nation where people smoke far more infrequently than they used to. I can’t barely stand to park next to a car in which the driver is smoking, or begin to understand how people used to eat in a restaurant full of cigarette smoke. But I remember the days when cigarette vending machines were everywhere. I’m glad those days are gone.
Many moons ago we bought a pop-up camper, and many fun family trips ensued. We got a Suburban to help pull it, and to fit all of our camping accoutrement. At the time gas cost just over a dollar a gallon, so it’s thirsty habits were not much of a concern. Well, we all remember what happened after that, don’t we! Forget long trips, we even had to sell the camper. These days the price of gas has gone down a lot; I’m sure when the gas company realizes it has an overdue book from the library we will be thrust back to 2008.
I have never taken the time to read the poem “The New Colossus” that is enshrined on our Statue of Liberty, though I’ve heard snippets of it throughout my life. Add to that, I’m not really a fan of poetry. But, sometimes, when the moon lines up with Pluto, I can enjoy a verse or two. I guess today is one of those rare days, and I’m proud to know that these verses helped solidify our Lady as a welcome host to the world’s castaways.
We’ll talk more about what was wrong with the old ways later. Today I’m going to touch on our project region, Latin America. As far as the global population goes, there are far more people who cook with solid fuel in places like Africa and Asia. Relief agencies and government bodies have spent the bulk of their resources addressing this very real need, and rightly so. Projects have been done in Latin America, but for a variety of reasons this region tends to get sidelined. Well, not anymore.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in the last eight days. We’ve introduced you to our Cook, we’ve shown how she and her family suffer at the hands of cooking smoke, we’ve talked a bit about the poverty cycle, and we’ve introduced you to some solutions that exist to help Cook out of her predicament. But what does Pasqual have to do with that, and what makes Pasqual so different from the status quo?
We’ve met the antagonist in our play, Smoke. He’s quite a naughty fellow, and he isn’t alone. Let’s meet his buddy, Three Rocks. These two make quite an ensemble, you won’t find one without the other. Three Rocks is the progenitor to Smoke, and he’s been around a long time. But what are the origins of Three Rocks? How did he get caught up in all this?
Mara and I wake up every morning and put the kettle on for the coffee. Maybe we’ll have some eggs for breakfast, maybe not. Later in the day some quesadillas perhaps, or brown some meat for spaghetti. Boil the noodles. Who want’s a delicious cup of Mexican hot chocolate? The mechanics of cooking never enter our thoughts, we just turn the knob and out comes the gas, quick as you please. Rarely do we even think about turning on the kitchen vent, this ignominy is usually reserved for burned tortillas or popcorn. Call it taking things for granted if you want, we live in a world where cooking is relatively consequence-free. Sure, maybe we shouldn’t have another quesadilla, at least the quesadilla isn’t going to give us emphysema.
They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single footstep, and the time to take that step is upon us. I’m very proud to be able to introduce Pasqual, our new organization. But before I elaborate on what Pasqual is, I have to raise a question… what is an organization? Why do we have them, what purpose do they serve? I’m not going to play the role of interweb dictionary, but instead I’ll offer my own interpretation of what organizations are and why we have them.