Title

Carbon, Cookstoves, and Kitchens: Case Studies of Fuelwood Use and the Potential for Ethanol Substitutability in Rural India, Vietnam, and Tanzania

Student Authors

Alyssa L. Bosold '13, Gettysburg College

Jessie M. Pierce, '14, Gettysburg College

Quinn M. Heist '16, Gettysburg College

Document Type

Poster

Publication Date

3-31-2016

Department

Environmental Studies

Abstract

Fuelwood constitutes the primary domestic cooking fuel in many rural communities throughout the Global South. Unsustainable levels of fuelwood consumption, however, contribute not only to local forest degradation but also to global climate change through the release of black carbon and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Moreover, as a driver of indoor air pollution, it also negatively affects human health. Indoor air pollution linked to cooking smoke is among the leading causes of preventable respiratory disease, and negatively impacts women and children through disproportionate and repeated exposure. While many "cleaner" and "more efficient" alternate stove designs have been developed for use in fuelwood-dependent communities, culturally-based user incompatibilities and technical design problems can lead to lack of widespread adoption. Although fuelwood dependence has also been offset by the availability of subsidized commercially-available fuels such as kerosene or liquid petroleum gas (LPG), the need persists for a clean, efficient, locally available, and sustainable fuel source for use in household cooking. This poster presents the results of three related, pilot project case studies about the potential for alcohol-fueled stoves to serve as a pathway to fuelwood substitution. The poster explores questions of cultural feasibility and the related roles of gender/class/ethnicity dynamics within a community, cooking and fuel preferences of stove users, and religious considerations related to non-consumptive alcohol use. Our study raises important issues for advocates of alternative technologies to consider, including the potential for resource capture by elites, openings for promotion of gender equity, and opportunities for socially and environmentally sustainable development.

Comments

Presented at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, San Francisco, March 31, 2016.