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Pivoting to clean cooking

Liu Rongkun & Yi Shaoliang

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Energy-efficient stoves replace open fire cooking in 115 households in Yunnan

At home in the Far Eastern Himalaya

Households in Yunnan, southwest China, predominantly depend on firewood-based open fire cooking, which contributes to air pollution and deforestation. This traditional cooking method poses threats to public health and the rich diversity of endemic flora and fauna in Yunnan.

But a shift to cleaner cooking technology will require economic and cultural considerations, because cooking spaces are the traditional centres of household life in the China–Myanmar border area of the Far Eastern Himalayan Landscape.

We therefore led a collaborative effort to manufacture energy-efficient stoves designed with the local Lisu people’s cultural preferences and cooking habits in mind. These stoves reduce firewood consumption and improve indoor air quality.

Using these stoves can help each beneficiary household save around 9 m3 of firewood annually. This translates to an overall CO2 reduction of around 1,222 metric tons annually, besides gains in other ecosystem services.

Community members, local government bodies, non-government organizations, and private-sector enterprises were involved in this campaign, which was part of a larger project (funded by the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme) implemented by the Global Environmental Institute (in collaboration with ICIMOD) around the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas.

Use of these stoves by the beneficiaries is estimated to reduce around 1,222 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, besides gains in other ecosystem services.

Chapter 1

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