Amy Smith: Cooking Stove Designs to Save Lives
This TED talk is about Amy Smith, a researcher at MIT who takes an interest in solving problems with the way that developing countries struggle to do everyday things. She stated that the number one cause of deaths in children under 5 years of age was smoke inhalation from cooking fires in developing countries. Outraged by this fact, she dedicated years of research and travelled to Haiti and India to develop solutions to the current cooking methods used. In Haiti, the people made charcoal briquettes to cook their food, but the amount of trees that were being cut down was causing floods and harm to the people, so they looked for an alternate source of fuel. They noticed that the sugar cane straw that was left over after producing sugar wasn't being used for anything, and they developed a way to convert it into briquettes that burned more efficiently and lasted even longer than the charcoal briquettes they were already using. In India, where the primary cooking fuel was cow dung, they were able to devise a way to convert corn cobs into briquettes, therefore making fuel out of what was previously thrown away.
What Amy Smith and her students did for these two developing countries was amazing, they helped solve a problem and even make a new way for the people of those countries to profit off of by making their own charcoal instead of buying the more expensive wood charcoal. It is amazing how easily one person's efforts can influence others into making a huge difference in the lives of those who aren't as fortunate in life, so I suggest that everyone should take a few moments to be inspired by this TED talk.
Smith, Amy. "Cooking Stove Designs to Save Lives." Web. 2 June 2014 http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_smith_shares_simple_lifesaving_design