Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cooking with Solar

Jane and I attended Jack Layton’s Hundred Mile barbecue at Riverdale Park this past weekend. The gathering of course was to raise the consciousness of local food. The only vegetarian option available was prepared on a solar barbecue, which also heated a very nice espresso.

Let me tell you – the barbecue was nifty. We’ve been thinking about purchasing a solar element and oven and boy-oh-boy did my mouth water - not just because of the tasty dumplings that Stephen Kerr, President of Sun Baked, cooked up.

Also on display was a solar oven, a box that traps heat through mirrors that focus solar energy into the oven. Stephen explained that temperature reaches as high as mid 300 degrees Celsius. Obviously, it works best during sunny days; however it doesn’t mind a few clouds. The oven and barbecue are meant for outside. While it is possible to use the oven indoors provided it has contact with the sun, the oven works best when it’s not behind a window.

Aside from the materials used to make the oven and barbecue, as well as carbon miles to get it to your backyard, this is carbon free cooking and a perfect way to cook during the hot dog days of summer when you don’t want to heat your home. It’s also a great way to reduce your gas or electricity bill. Keep in mind, you can use it all year round – but your cooking time is greatly reduced during the winter.

For the fancy ovens and ranges you can pay anywhere between $200 and $600. Or, if you are an engineer/handy person/rocket scientist, you can make your own! Click here to find out how.

Cooking Solution for Regions in Need
A great number of people on the planet depend on wood in which to cook. In many areas this need has lead to devastating deforestation, not to mention respiratory problems for women who cook indoors. Solar ovens and barbecues are seen as powerful agents to end this dependency on wood. Solar ovens also pasteurize water, something that millions of people are in desperate need of.

Two organizations that provide solar ovens to regions in need are Solar Ovens International and The Solar Oven Society. Both are based in the United States. In my brief conversation with Jack Layton, he said that providing these ovens as international aid is one area that Canada needs to support. I agree.

In the News

Thanks to Stefan of the Element Agency for letting me know about his company’s informative blog - My Green Element. It’s worth checking out.

Making Fish Fair
AVAAZ is at it again. Help turn around an ecological nightmare in our oceans. If we continue business as usual, we will see the collapse of world-wide fish stocks in a few decades. Let’s tell our children that we did our bit to prevent this from happening.
Rule to Expand Mountaintop Coal Mining
When will the Bush administration end? How many more sleeps?

Other News

BBC – The Greenroom

Ecoshock Radio

Green Bloggers

Grist Magazine


My Green Element

New York Times – Environment

Tree Hugger

Zerofootprint Blog

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