More than a billion households around the world depend on wood, charcoal and other biomass for their daily cooking, leading to respiratory disease and deaths, wasting of meager household incomes spent on fuel, time lost collecting wood, in addition to land degradation, deforestation and biodiversity loss from gathering fuelwood and a significant global contribution to climate change. Much of the burden falls on women and children. Most of these households are found in places where sunshine is abundant. Solar thermal cooking offers a healthy, no-cost, pollution-free, ecosystem-friendly alternative to biomass cooking. Its use can contribute to the resilience of people, communities, ecosystems and the planet, by reducing the need to collect or purchase biomass for fuel and providing a cooking method which produces zero air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
This poster will demonstrate how substituting the sun for wood or charcoal cooking can protect forests, land and biodiversity. Adding solar cooking components to reforestation and ecosystem restoration programs can further expand community and ecosystem resilience to climate and other global change. The poster will introduce the multiple resilience benefits of solar cooking – human health, economic, community, ecosystem and planetary. It will draw on examples of solar cooking projects around the world and their contributions, particularly recent projects in the Dominican Republic and Haiti of Solar Household Energy, The Nature Conservancy and Grupo Jaragua in which solar cooking is being introduced to reduce the harvest of wood for cooking and charcoal. To our knowledge, solar cooking has not been introduced at an IUCN Congress before, and this valuable alternative is one that all IUCN members should know about. In sun-rich regions, solar thermal cooking should be one of the tools available to contribute to building resilient ecosystems and communities.