Sustaining Culture with Sustainable Stoves: The Role of Tradition in Providing Clean-Burning Stoves to Developing Countries

Victor, Britta

The focus of climate change mitigation is on greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, but there is another form of carbon that contributes greatly to climate change and that, if cleaned up, seems to be a quick and easy way to slow climate change. This is black carbon, or soot, and the majority of the world's black carbon comes from the basic cooking stoves of poor people in developing countries. These same stoves also pose significant health risks to their users, and many researchers and philanthropists are working to put cleaner stoves in their kitchens. This quick fix is not so easy, though. In the quest for the perfect stove, a key detail is left out: the cooks do not want to give up their old stoves. This study juxtaposes the research of stove engineers with ethnographies of rural communities, writings on women's rights, and theories of imperialism, to explore the complex cultural obstacles to the success of clean stove programs in developing countries.


Also Published In

Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development

More About This Work

Academic Units
Earth Institute
Published Here
December 1, 2015