Next year, Rhiya Trivedi '12 will journey to Guatemala, Bolivia, Malawi, Mozambique, and India to carry out her Waston Fellowship project entitled Cooking Two Birds With One Stove: Slowing Climate Change and Building Empowerment Across the Developing World With Stove Technology.
In each location, Rhiya will engage both recipients and distributors in existing cook stove distribution projects to investigate the potential power of bringing climate change into the dialog surrounding stove distribution, which is historically motivated primarily by health concerns.
Scientists recently discovered that black carbon from cooking fires in the developing world is a large contributor to short-term climate change. Distribution of cook stoves to replace cooking fires therefore provides a means by which the traditional climate discourse—which relies on the regulatory power of the world's largest carbon emitters to take action—can be reversed, empowering communities in the developing world, who are most vulnerable to an increasingly unstable climate, to play an active and significant role in curbing climate change.
Rhiya explains that stoves are being distributed across the developing world to alleviate respiratory health problems, reduce deforestation, and address social issues, "But opportunity abounds to unify and deepen the significance of these efforts... The potential benefits are as profound as they are cross-disciplinary: curbed short-term climate change, time bought for long-term action by the world’s largest emitters, improved human and environmental health, increased efficacy and appeal of stove distribution on governmental and non-governmental development agendas, and a sense of self-determination in communities otherwise marginalized."