As the climate crisis becomes increasingly urgent, mainstream capitalist technology has continued to focus more on making money than improving the lives of people. In the process, they fail to address the devastating effects that technological advancement has had on people and communities across the entire planet. The most vulnerable and needy people of the world have also been left behind as technology has advanced, especially low income and vulnerable communities in the Global South.
In reality, it is not only the low-income communities that are feeling the adverse effects of mainstream technology. Even wealthy countries have begun to understand the necessity to revert to the more responsible use of our available resources. It is time technological advancement serves the purpose of improving human life, rather than creating fancy gadgets to satisfy the selfish desires of a handful of wealthy people.
Today in many parts of Africa, Asia and South America many communities still live without basic necessities such as electricity, good drinking water and cooking facilities. But these sun-rich countries can be the ones at the forefront of the push for a transition to technology that helps improve lives. Solar energy probably the way to go, given that most countries have an abundance of sunlight.
It is for this reason that Tamera’s technology department is having discussions with the Better world team in Portugal to combine local technologies such the Rocket Stove developed by Better World with cutting-edge technology developed at Tamera’s Test Field and share this knowledge through the technology time in June. The aim is to invite people who have the capacity to learn new or improved techniques, who can, in turn, take this knowledge back to their communities to and to teach it to even more people so that the knowledge can benefit as many people as possible. During a three-week learning period, they can build their capacities in appropriate technologies that are suited to the realities of their own communities rather than always relying on solutions that do not necessarily reflect these realities.
The aim is to train people from around the world with simple but effective methods of improving the lives of their communities through appropriate technologies. In June of 2020, they hope to hold a training workshop in Tamera with participants expected from Brazil, Cameroon, Palestine Rojava and possibly other communities. They will exchange ideas and share their best practices as well as take advantage of the knowledge and experience that Tamera has from years of research in sustainable and clean energies. One of the facilitators expected in Tamera in June is Fabio Miranda from the Favela da Paz in Brazil. Fabio is a friend of Tamera who has been visiting for many years and has a lot of experience with adapting technologies to the local realities of the favelas, using cheap materials and upcycling waste.
According to Joshua Konkankoh, Better World coordinator, it is important for local communities to be able to use their indigenous knowledge to create simple solutions for the problems that they face in their everyday lives. It is no longer acceptable for solutions to local problems to come from the West like “top-down solutions”. These have been proven to sometimes cause more harm than good. Technology should be developed in respect and partnership and serve to improve the lives of people and not impoverish them.
In 2015, Better World developed the Rocket Stove as a response to the rapid depletion of forests and the serious effects caused on the environment. It also improved the living conditions of ordinary people in their kitchens. The stove was ingenious because it uses far less wood than open fire cooking. This allows forests to regenerate sustainably and keep a balance in the ecosystems of communities. In addition, the stove retains heat to keep food warm longer and warms the home in the process. It also keeps the kitchen smoke free thanks to the chimney that directs smoke to the exterior. The stove’s multifaceted nature makes it ideal not only for cooking but also for other methods like baking and drying.
Better World and Tamera look forward to working together to improve the stove even further to possibly function with bio-gas in addition to wood, making it even more sustainable and useful for communities.