Have you ever felt weather so hot that you could fry an egg on the sidewalk? There is so much energy from the Sun hitting Earth everyday that it could cook every last egg on the planet! Harnessing that energy is a vital part of creating a more sustainable future, from massive solar power plant complexes, like the planned "solar tower" of Australia, to smaller scale projects like solar powered vehicles. Today, the United Nations Development Program has partnered with the Global Environment Facility, the European Union, and the Chilean government to harness the power of the sun, prevent deforestation and bring renewable energy to local communities in northern Chile.
The people who live in these communities traditionally relied on wood to fuel their stoves, but thanks to UNDP are now embracing solar ovens as a way to rehabilitate their damaged environment. The overcutting of firewood in northern Chile has accelerated deforestation, drying up already-arid lands. Solar ovens bring an eco-friendly alternative to cooking needs, and lay the foundations for greater renewable energy use in the future. But UNDP is not just providing solar ovens, it is training locals to construct their own ovens so that they may pass the knowledge on to others in the community. Alejandra Alarcon, National Coordinator of the UNDP Small Grants Programme’s Global Environment Facility, stressed the importance of providing not just the materials but the know-how, "The only way to see long-lasting results is if people can build their own ovens and share the knowledge with other communities.”
To learn more about solar ovens in Chile, and how they are sparking green-change and green-entrepreneurship click here