Like a Falcon

March 6, 2018
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cookstoves installed to date!

In the ancient Incan language, the name “Mamani” means “like a falcon.” Juan Mamani has lived all his life here in the Qori Q’oncha region of Peru, farming his family’s lands. Juan likes to organize his day by tending to the farm animals in the morning, then cook a big midday meal to get ready for a long afternoon tending the fields. But collecting firewood, he says, was taking so much time because the forests had receded over the years. “And the smoke,” he says, “the smoke from cooking would fill the house. I sometimes couldn’t even stay inside to cook.” That was before, when Juan Mamani cooked on a traditional open-fire stove. Through this project, Juan has installed a new efficient cookstove in his home that reduces firewood consumption by as much as 60% and ventilates harmful smoke from the house. “I can’t believe we cooked on those old stoves for so long. All my life. Now we know!” This project has, to date, installed over 107,000 simple but effective improved cookstoves in Qori Q’oncha, reducing CO2 emissions by 500,000 tonnes annually and saving forests by reducing firewood use by over 360,000 tonnes (equivalent to millions of trees!). The use of firewood is said to contribute to 50% of the world’s deforestation and to emit 25% of all black carbon pollution worldwide, so this project not only helps Juan and hundreds of thousands of others in Peru to live better, healthier lives, but is also saving our climate and the future of our planet. You won’t meet a nicer man than Juan Mamani, nor one more appreciative. Seated on a weathered bench overlooking the nearby hills, Juan is trying to find the right words. Gesturing toward his house, he says, “This new stove…” He pauses. “This new stove…” Then, smiling, “To all the people who made this possible…thank you!