July 7, 2011; Source: Huffington Post | Preparing food over an open fire is still the cooking method of over three billion people around the world. In Kenya, women trek 10 miles a day to collect bundles of wood for their fires. The Paradigm Project wants to change that. The nonprofit has set a goal of distributing five million cook stoves to rural, poor communities worldwide which, leaders say, will save both lives and our Mother Earth.
Health risks are high for families who depend on fires fueled by coal, wood, and charcoal. Pneumonia and smoke inhalation issues are major concerns. Breathing in the smoke is equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes a day.
Greg Spencer, Paradigm co-founder, has witnessed the challenges that cooking with open fire brings to communities. Stoves will save time and money while reducing toxic emissions from wood fires by 40 to 60 times. Over time, the project hopes to be self-sustaining by using proceeds of carbon offsets to fund stove operations and distribution.
To introduce Americans to this issue, a web series follows Spencer Jr. and Director Austin Mann as they show what it's like to prepare an open fire and live on less than $2 a day in Kenya.
Spencer Jr. is impressed with the strong work ethic and positive attitude of the Kenyans that he has met. He wants to change Americans’ view of world poverty and hopes the Paradigm Project will highlight the strength and resiliency of people of Kenya.—Nancy Knoche