The Untours Foundation loan recipient, EcoZoom, has been nominated by Smithsonian and Cooper Hewitt for the People’s Design Choice Awards. People’s Design means that we, the people, get to vote! If you’re already on board, please do vote for them right here, every day!
The dirty story of cookstoves
As I’ve gotten to know EcoZoom and their products, I decided to dig a little deeper into the background of cookstoves, and I was shocked to learn about the terrible state of affairs for many people in the world who cook for their families. Traditional cookstoves, used by over 3 billion people, create a great deal of smoke, which is dangerous to those nearby, and adds significantly to carbon emissions. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves estimates that over four million deaths a year are linked to traditional cookstoves, with the victims primarily women and children.
“It’s about women taking care of their families”
Julia Roberts, an ambassador for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, reflects:
“It’s about women taking care of their families and what an incredible challenge it is for a myriad of reasons, and how fixable it can be. I saw a picture of a woman with a baby on her back, just like I would be with one of my babes on my hip, cooking at the stove. Her hut is full of toxic smoke, and that child is in tremendous peril. It’s my…honor to cook three meals a day for my family, and it’s a luxury on a level that I didn’t even realize.”
EcoZoom brings a clean – and affordable – solution
For the good news, EcoZoom’s cookstoves are one of the antidotes to this situation. The nominated product is the beautiful and efficient Jet “jiko” charcoal cookstove, which, according to EcoZoom, offers “fuel savings of 60%, fewer emissions and a reduction in burn risk.” The EcoZoom Jet seamlessly blends good design with a great cause, as these cookstoves are designed to be both affordable and empowering. Their designer Diana Sierra had these amazing words:
“Smart products take into consideration all the variables in a user’s environment and no matter how tough those are, they still will be able to offer functional, ergonomic, beautiful and aspirational solutions that dignify people and empower them to unleash the incredible potential that exists in every human being.“
All the design nominees are fascinating examples of creative thinking, some very high-tech, some specialized for personal use, military purposes or environmental monitoring. They are all worth a look, but we hope you’ll vote for EcoZoom!