Category Archives: Humanitarian relief

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Relieving Haiti’s homefuel crisis through ethanol


Most people in the United States, Europe, or Brazil think of ethanol as a heavily subsidized corn- or sugar-based liquid biofuel that is often mixed with gasoline to power so-called “flex-fuel” vehicles.

But for the 3 billion people who depend on wood, charcoal, or animal dung for their household cooking or heating, ethanol means … … Well, ummm, actually, the word “ethanol” probably doesn’t mean all that much.

One plucky non-profit is hoping to change this by making locally and sustainably produced ethanol an attractive homefuel alternative to solid biomass fuels for the world’s 3 billion energy poor

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Video: A powerful look at the impact of CC on E. Africa’s pastoral communities


A simple yet poignant story about what lies ahead  for some of the world’s most vulnerable people. At The Charcoal Project we don’t normally go for content that strays too far from our editorial mission. However, we decided that Evan Abramson’s short documentary film on the impact of Climate Change on the nomadic tribes that inhabit the border of Kenya and Ethiopia was just too powerful not to share. The impact of water scarcity on some of Africa’s poorest but proud people is a reminder of the challenges that lie ahead for Africa and those least responsible for Climate Change. … Continue reading

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Why solar cookers are not a viable option for the energy poor


Solar cookers do not work as reliable substitutes for traditional biomass cooking.

That’s in part because rural inhabitants in developing countries are often small plot farmers who must get up when it’s still dark out to get things going on the farm. Breakfast, the key meal of the day if you’re a farmers, is impossible to prepare before sunrise using a solar cooker.

The working urban poor have a different problem. If a family is out all day and doesn’t return until after dark, how can they prepare dinner? Also, where can you safely leave your solar cooker with food cooking when you live in a shanty town?

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A personal report and appeal on the devastation in Pakistan


We found this letter from Acumen Fund’s CEO, Jacqueline Novogratz, poignant and important, which is why we’ve chosen to share it with you. Pakistan needs all the help it can get. Please do what you can to help. Kim & Nina Dear Kim & Nina, I just spent five days in Pakistan with my husband, Chris Anderson, invited by Acumen’s community to see for ourselves what is happening on the ground regarding the floods that have displaced 20 million individuals and destroyed 1.2 million (and damaged 4-5 million) homes. Over 5,000 miles of roads have been washed away, and some … Continue reading

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Marketing to the BoP, the death of appropriate technology, and false green solutions


Best of the Web, Monday, 13th September (Click on the titles to read the full story.) 1. If you’re trying to sell stoves or briquettes to the energy poor, then this one’s for you! Marketing to the bottom of the pyramid – Almost a third of the world’s population earns $2.50 or less a day. The enormity of this disparity takes my breath away, but there’s an interesting flip side to it: That’s a market of more than five billion dollars a day. Add the next segment ($5 a day) and it’s easy to see that every single day, the … Continue reading

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