Tag Archives: Amy Smith


Energy efficiency: what Coca Cola’s World Cup video can teach us

While we wait for Coca Cola to help us produce the perfect video that tells the story of energy-efficiency-technology-and-policies-solutions-to-energy-poverty, (they can help us find a better name, too!) we’ve compiled four slideshows recently published in the New York Times that we think help visualize the energy hunger/energy obesity world we live in.

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On Environmental Brink, Haiti Scrambles for a Lifeline

“With any reforestation campaign, you have to find first a solution for energy.” — Antonio Perera, Program Manager, UNEP, Haiti The satellite image compares forest cover along the Haiti-Dominican Republic Border. A recent New York Times article explains what happens when a country’s energy-poor population exhausts its last remaining fuelwood resources. The country is Haiti and the picture painted is not pretty. With much of its forest cover gone, the poorest (and oldest) developing country in the Western Hemisphere’s stands now on the brink of environmental catastrophe. The story, reported by Nathaniel Gronewold of Greenwire, the web-based environmental policy and … Continue reading


Amy Smith demonstrates how to make briquettes

Folks, We received from Amy Smith (MIT/D-Lab) in today’s post a link to a ten minute YouTube video that is essentially a how-to-make-your-own-briquettes video. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqI63IEg3MM&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0&border=1] What is astonishing is how simple the process can be. From converting the vegetable material into charcoal in a regular 55-gallon oil drum, to mixing it with a binding agent (cassava paste, in this case), and then using the most elegantly simple tools to churn out perfect little briquettes. It’s like witnessing the invention of the wheel! The entire process is very straightforward, although a few steps could use some clarification. For example, we were … Continue reading


MIT's Amy Smith: Visionary, inventor, genius.

Speaking at TED a few years ago, Amy Smith, the MIT professor and McArthur Genius Award recipient, made a compelling case for the widespread introduction of simple technologies that could solve major environmental, public health, and poverty problems in developing countries. Her bio on the TED page sums it up best: Invent cheap, low-tech devices that use local resources, so communities can reproduce her efforts and ultimately help themselves. Smith hatches her ideas at D-Lab, the MIT unit responsible for coming up with some of the coolest technological fixes for two thirds of the world’s population. If her ideas are … Continue reading