Solar energy as a justice issue

At Day Job, I sit near the front door. We don’t get a lot of visitors and very few are unexpected, so when one comes by, I stop doing What I Do and greet him or her.

Or yesterday, them. Two people, after visiting another office on our floor saw the name of Day Job and wondered if we might have something in common. We didn’t, but as it happens what they represented one of my favorite causes: the use of solar energy as an appropriate technology for food preparation and water purification. I write often about computers and the Linux operating system, but don’t believe computers (or Linux) are always what people need. I’ve written about this before.

Sometimes the need is a really good peanut huller, improved food packaging, an efficient lamp, a health care manual, a fuel-efficient stove or a way to sterilize contaminated water.

Disease-ridden water needs to be boiled hard for (like) five minutes to be safe, right? Wrong. 65 degrees Celsius will quickly kill parasites like worms and giardia, E. coli, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and others. A solar cooker can do that.

Check these sites. I’ll talk about giving money later. I’ll talk about how you can make your own solar stove as a learning experience (and a practical tool). I’ll talk about how you can help. I’ll talk about what appropriate technology means in this case (and a case of really cool design). And I’ll talk about giving money.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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