When you think of environmentally friendly practices, most likely you imagine actions you can take at home to impact the environment. But some people are looking at the global environment, choosing to go Green beyond the United States border. Bolivia is one of the world’s most economically challenged countries. In this South American country, 85% of residents make their living selling vegetables,working in markets or on the streets. The majority of Bolivians live in one-room homes heated by fire pits. They burn llama dung, brush and wood to provide heat and fuel for cooking. This contributes to indoor air pollution, which is the 3rd leading cause of death in the country. Collecting and burning biomass also promotes erosion and flooding in an environment that already is fragile. Suzette Phillips visited Bolivia in May 2007 at the urging of her son, Chris. He’d spent 6 months in Bolivia with engineers in technical and humanitarian opportunities of service, a University of Dayton program. Chris’ mother accepted his challenge and went to work with an organization called Sobre La Roca. The project’s objective is to promote everyday solar cooking across Bolivia. By purchasing a $150 solar cooker, families spend less time seeking fuel sources and have more time for other activities. Solar cookers reduce wood usage by 35% to 50% and are safer and healthier to use. To work properly , a solar cooker needs to be placed in a spot that’s sunny for several hours a day and protected from strong winds. They don’t work at night or on cloudy days. They’re practical for people who live in climates that generally are dry and sunny at least 6 months of the year. Smoke-free and nonpolluting, the cookers convert sunlight into heat energy and retains it for cooking. The units also can be used to purify water for drinking and cooking.
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