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Get Soot Done: Healthier Homes and a Healthier Planet through Cleaner Cookfires

3 Billion people still cook over smoky, sooty fires everyday - BioLite is replacing those fires with a revolutionary stove.

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There is something we can do right now to curb climate change that can have an immediate impact on both people and the planet: reduce black carbon, or soot, in the atmosphere.

How do we tackle soot? We look to the fires.

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3 billion people still cook over smoky, sooty fires and four million people die prematurely as a result - that's more than AIDS, TB, and Malaria combined. Those same fires emit more soot than all the cars and trucks in the world. When that soot enters the atmosphere it warms the air, melts glaciers, and disrupts weather patterns. Soot is the second leading cause of climate change behind CO2. However, unlike CO2 which can take a century to cycle out of the atmosphere, soot has a much shorter lifespan and can clear up in as little as two weeks. This makes it a powerful short-lived pollutant whose eradication can have a direct impact on both health and climate.

The BioLite HomeStove reduces soot from these fires by up to 90% while simultaneously providing usable electricity by converting waste heat from the fire into power. BioLite has spent the last five years designing and refining this stove with extensive field-testing and has sold over 10,000 to date across India and sub-Saharan Africa. 

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We believe in a market-based solution to create self-sustaining change and that means expanding our networks, hiring local teams, and creating micro-financing programs – and this all requires capital. Using BioLite's unique business model called parallel innovation, we are able to use the revenue from our outdoor recreational audience to fund the market-establishing costs required across India and sub-Saharan Africa without relying on a one-for-one model. The result is a mission-driven organization with a community that is directly connected to scaling our impact. 

Many challenges lie ahead: Moving into new geographies, building new partnerships, engaging potential HomeStove households who don't even know we exist, and continuing to develop new products and technologies that serve both our outdoor and emerging market customers in an increasingly competitive environment are just a few of them. We are ready to roll up our sleeves and Get Soot Done and we hope to reach new audiences that see the HomeStove as an actionable and tangible way to create near-term climate results while helping to shape the future of energy on a personal scale.

Ready to scale our efforts in 2016, BioLite launched a special ten-day campaign from December 1st - December 11th where 100% of every dollar earned at the BioLite Shop will be directly re-invested in BioLite’s emerging markets goal of reaching 50,000 Households in 2016.

Get Soot Done was a huge success in helping people understand and rally around this important issue. But for many, it was their first time learning about soot's impact on climate and public health around the globe.  As we work to reach 50,000 homes in 2016, we need to continue getting the word out about how individuals can join BioLite in making this goal a reality. Will you help us?

You can see more at www.GetSootDone.com  

Where is this innovation/innovator located at? Be as specific as you can (country and city).

Brooklyn, NY, USA. We also have local field teams across India, Uganda, and Kenya.

If you are an innovator, how can OpenIDEO support you? What are your current needs? If you are not an innovator, tell us what you do and what your needs are.

Okay, we're gonna get super specific here: we want OpenIDEO to help us design and produce an immersive Virtual Reality experience that helps our outdoor community directly connect with the work we do across India and Sub-Saharan Africa, and vice-versa for our HomeStove users. So many leaders and changemakers talk about their catalytic moments being when they saw something firsthand or experienced something in person -- we want to make that available to millions, giving them a chance to immerse themselves in the challenge and solution at hand: - Go on a VR Fuel Walk and experience what it's like to collect daily fuel - Explore an indoor open fire and how much smoke suddenly fills your view - Sit in on a meeting of women community leaders and watch them cook on the HomeStove for the first time Very exciting and inspiring stuff is coming out of the Bay Area with regards to VR and immersive technology. Help us use it to inspire awareness and action.

How did you find out about this challenge? (Check all that apply)

  • Email from OpenIDEO
  • A friend

Would you like to be involved in Accelerate in the future? (Check all that apply)

  • Yes! I'd love to be involved in some way.
  • Host an event
  • Attend an event
  • Help tell stories of climate innovators
  • Help raise awareness about Accelerate
  • Help connect Accelerate to potential partners

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Photo of Matthew Ridenour

Hi Erica – fantastic post and so glad you are "Getting Soot Done!" Congratulations on being our featured contribution!  https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/climate-stories/stories