Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour and Solar Cooking

On March 29th, between 8 and 9pm, people are being asked to turn off their lights to participate in Earth Hour (traffic lights, street lights, etc. will still be operating as necessary). The event, run by the World Wildlife Fund, began last year in Sydney, Australia but has been expanded to a global effort. The goal is to highlight the problem of climate change, encourage energy conservation and demonstrate how easy it is to take a small individual action (with the notion that millions of small individual actions add up to a large effect). Individuals and businesses can sign up on the Earth Hour website, but it isn't required to participate. Even McDonalds has pledged to turn off golden arches across Canada (where, incidentally, more people have signed on than our southern neighbours). For those who are local, Ottawa Hydro will be reporting on how much energy was actually saved after the event.

If you want to get more active in energy conservation, you may want to look into solar cooking. Reflecting sunlight to cook food is nothing new, going back as far as the late 1700s, but cooker designs have progressed beyond the basic tin-foil reflector (though not by much, they all work on the same principle of concentrating sunlight). Of course, how useful they are depends on time of day, year, amount of sun, etc. That hasn't deterred the Indians though: the world's largest solar cooker that can cook almost 40000 meals a day has just been build in Taleti. This is no 4th-grade science project - the system can generate temperatures of 650 degrees to produce 3-4 tonnes of steam for use in cooking. Time for lunch!


Anonymous said...

Screw the solar cooking dude, s'all 'bout the solar bowl.