Refugee Remedies Aid Climate Change Victims in New York

biolite phone charger

Hurricane Sandy bulldozed my home coastline with a ferocity rarely seen outside the big screen. It ploughed through lives of friends and family, shredding homes, floating cars, and drowning pets.  We can debate the causes of climate change, but the increasingly damaging effect of extreme weather upon basic civil services is indisputable.

In a crisis, communication is paramount.  Instant info exchange minimizes fallout and saves lives. So how long does an unjuiced laptop or cell phone last?  Are you prepared to power them up if you lose access to the grid? Hurricane Sandy stranded my son for three days in his Hoboken apartment without water or electricity.  His lifeline through the world storming outside was only as strong as his remaining phone charge.  That’s a lot to hang on a simple battery.

Here in Jordan, I’d been looking for ways to get involved with Syrian refugee camps:  so it was surreal to see news footage of a product I’d identified for refugee aid put into action in New York City.  In Sandy’s wake, with Manhattan de-powered and personal communication gadgets running out of steam, engineers from the BioLite company took to the streets to set up impromptu charging stations fueled by their tiny cookstoves. They loaded the units onto portable tables and offered people a chance to recharge their cell phones, served up with free cups of tea.  It restored lifelines for a handful of lucky Manhattanites in a simple, accessible and environmentally positive way.

Green Prophet’s reported that nearly half the world’s population cooks on open fires, which kill nearly two million people every year, with disastrous impact to local environments.  That shocking statistic got me looking into portable cookstoves.

Most cater primarily to outdoor recreation, but the traits that make them attractive to campers also make them perfect for emergency relief: lightweight, portable, and affordable.  Among many on the market, the best are multifunctional. The BioLite HomeStove will brew your coffee and charge your smartphone when there’s no access to a power grid.

Designed by Jonathan Cedar and Alec Drummond, the small wood-burning stoves are as clean and safe as gas or electrical units.  Use hardwood fuel like maple, oak, or hickory for a longer burn; softer woods like fir or pine require more feeding.  During full burn, it can boil a liter of water in as little as 4.5 minutes.

The design reduces over 95% of the smoke typically generated by wood fires and produces sufficient electricity to charge any device that uses a USB port (e.g., mobile phones, LED flashlights, rechargeable battery packs). Charging times will vary by device, by the fire’s strength and other variables like outside temperature.  For an Apple iPhone 4S (2G), 20 minutes of charging with a strong fire can provide you with 60 minutes of talk time.

A small internal fan creates airflow, which, combined with a unique fuel chamber, creates a high efficiency fire. A power module converts the fire’s heat into electricity and automatically recharges the lithium ion battery powering the fan.  Surplus electricity powers a USB outlet which, in turn, can charge small electronics.

After field trials on four continents, BioLite is currently working with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health on a study to determine how advanced cookstoves can improve the health of pregnant women and children in developing nations. Pilot programs are planned for Ghana, India and Kenya.

Stoves ship internationally and start at $129: check with your local customs office for details on import fees.  Knock wood you’ll never need it, but burn wood if you do. This could be the smartest addition to your emergency bag of tricks.

:: BioLite

About Laurie Balbo

At university, she was annoyed that her architecture degree was called a Bachelor of Environmental Design. As a working architect, she was annoyed that projects weren’t designed with more environmental consideration. She’s a usually-annoyed architect and sustainability specialist who hopes that venting her frustrations will make a positive environmental difference. Her husband just hopes it makes her less annoyed. Born in the United States, Laurie has managed design and managed construction of ports and airports in New York, Dublin and now Amman. She blogs on knitting and other arcane topics at Laurie can be reached at [email protected]

50 thoughts on “Refugee Remedies Aid Climate Change Victims in New York

  1. Korean restaurant near my location

    With havin so much written content do you ever run into any
    issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has
    a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it looks like
    a lot of it is popping it up all over the web
    without my agreement. Do you know any ways to help prevent content from being
    ripped off? I’d truly appreciate it.

    Feel free to visit my web blog Korean restaurant near my location

  2. 店内全品ポイント10倍 収納充実

    本当に私 あなたのウェブサイト .. プレザント色&テーマ。 このウェブサイトあなたは開発なかった自分自身? 私自身の個人的な私自身作成私はへをしようとしようとするだとして戻って返信してくださいサイトとしたい見つけるあなたはこのを持ってどこかテーマはと呼ばれているだけで何という名前が付けられます。 感謝!
    店内全品ポイント10倍 収納充実

  3. a basic analysis of realistic rodrickzvzg products

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to
    get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% positive. Any
    recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Appreciate it

  4. rhinoplasty california Price

    area unit these procedures particular for the shopper, or area unit they solely a product of today’s surreal ideals.
    All of which contributes mostly to the improvement of body functions and partly
    to change one’s appearance. Her weight has fluctuated through the years,
    but she generally tries to maintain an active lifestyle and healthy diet.

    Have a look at my web blog rhinoplasty california Price

  5. vestuario laboral cocinero

    Me proponía a Escribir que el pequeño observación a fin de decir gracias como antes para todo el
    Que has documentado aquí . Este ha sido so Generoso de con personas como tú dar abiertamente precisamente lo que unos pocos individuos lo hubiera suministrada para
    una libro electrónico con el fin de hacer algo de dinero
    para ellos , más aún ya podría tener posiblemente
    hecho si deseada .

    Also visit my weblog … vestuario laboral cocinero

  6. vestuario laboral de limpieza

    Necesitaba a componer que que poco de
    observación para finalmente decir gracias agradecer nuevamente para todo el Tiene Destacados en este artículo .

    Esta es ciertamente mano abierta con personas como tú
    a proporcionar sin restricción qué exactamente numerosas personas
    podría tener distribuida para una e-book a terminar haciendo algo de dinero
    para su propio final , más aún específicamente teniendo en cuenta que podría tener
    hecho en caso de que decidido .

    Here is my blog post :: vestuario laboral de limpieza

  7. Barbra

    I’m extremely impressed along with your writing abilities and also with the structure for your weblog.

    Is this a paid subject matter or did you customize it your self?
    Anyway keep up the nice high quality writing, it is uncommon to look a great weblog like this one

    my weblog identity protection for family (Barbra)

  8. ropa seguridad laboral zaragoza

    Me proponía a Escribir que el poco de palabra a fin de darle
    muchas gracias nuevo en el Tiene Destacados aquí .
    Este ha sido muy Generoso usted para ofrecer libremente lo
    muchas personas pudo posiblemente tener anunciada como libro electrónico
    para ayudar a hacer algo de dinero en su propio, primordialmente ya que podría tener
    hecho en caso de que querido.

    My blog post – ropa seguridad laboral zaragoza

  9. nasa ropa laboral zamora

    Necesaria a poner que a muy poco observación a decir gracias agradecer nuevamente sobre el
    Tiene discutido aquí . Es muy Generoso de
    usted transmitir públicamente todo muchos individuos lo hubiera suministrada como ebook obtener
    algún beneficio para su propio final , ciertamente considerar el
    hecho de que podría tener posiblemente hecho si alguna vez querido.

    My webpage … nasa ropa laboral zamora

  10. vestuario laboral gipuzkoa

    Necesitaba a crear que a poco de note a fin de
    decir gracias otra vez sobre el Tiene documentado en este caso .

    Este ha sido muy mano abierta de usted para permitir
    abiertamente todo lo que algunas personas tendría ofrecida a la
    venta como ebook en hacer algo de dinero para ellos
    , primordialmente ver que podría tener
    hecho si alguna vez deseada .

    Here is my webpage – vestuario laboral gipuzkoa

  11. vestuario laboral guarderias

    Me proponía a post que el poco de note a decir gracias
    nuevo para su Que has Compartir en este sitio .
    Era ciertamente Generoso de usted transmitir
    sin restricción precisamente lo que varios
    de nosotros tendría suministrada como ebook para ayudar a hacer algún beneficio para
    su propio final , primordialmente ver que podría
    tener hecho en el caso de que decidido .

    Feel free to surf to my webpage; vestuario laboral guarderias

  12. Denis

    They also have a worldwide setting chip (GPS) so the lender or vendor can quickly identify the
    automobile if repo is important.

    My web-site – loans for bad credit in Atlanta Ga (Denis)

  13. 通販の最安値 商品到着後レビュー記載でプレゼント

    ウェブサイトのコンタクトページを持っているあなたはいますか? 問題それを配置したが、私はしたいのですが私が持っている撮影あなた。あなたが公聴会に興味があるかもしれませんあなたのブログのための私はいくつかを持っています。いずれにせよ、素晴らしい時間をかけて、ブログと私は成長それを楽しみにしています。
    [url=]通販の最安値 商品到着後レビュー記載でプレゼント[/url]

  14. Laurie Balbo

    The story’s about a wood burning stove – and it’s application to folks who are affected by downed systems. It’s not about weather patterns.

    I do believe Climate Change is real – and own up to the story title reflecting my P.O.V – but the story’s about a stove.

    Apologies for a title that confused. No need to argue about content that doesn’t exist.

  15. Gary

    hehe, yep, you’ll hold your ground even though the title is incredibly misleading. Don’t let the facts get in the way of the story.
    Climate change has nothing to do with the devastation, and building in an area that can be hit by the ravages of nature does.
    If you wanted to be truthful and actually report with the facts in mind you would not have mentioned climate change and made the story title reflect the fact that the civil services are not up to the task when a hurricane hits a place like New York.
    And given that we are in a period of very low hurricane activity, imagine how it will be when they DO actually begin to increase, as they are sure to eventually.

  16. Michael Petterson

    Actually it’s you that have a “climate change”bias as there was no need to refer to that at all. Just state the facts and leave it at that. There was no need for that snide remark on Peter either,as I said state the facts and leave the personal remarks out of it. You must know the current controversy on this issue,so I question why that point was mentioned in the story at all.

  17. Laurie Balbo

    Sorry, Peter, but will hold my ground on this.

    The article makes mo claims regarding climate change or the trending of severe weather – it’s about a stove that can be used to power small electrical devices. No “scare story” in sight.

    That opening line points out how our built environment (basic civil services like transport, power and built infratructures) is proving incompatible with extreme weather. Extreme weather here refers to hurricanes, heavy precip., etc.

    I pin it on aging infrastructure and rapid urbanization. Reference Hurricane Sandy’s destruction to old coastal roads and bridges, mass transit systems such as PATH, and the power distribution grid in the NYC/NJ metropolitan area. Look to rapid urbanization with resultant loss of permeable surfaces: in the greater Dublin region last year, not-atypical rainfall caused record-busting flooding, washing out roads, floodign shopping centers, closing portions of the city for a week. Just two weather events I have personal experience in.

    So long as we continue to build in places we ought not be building in, and defer weather-defensive-improvements to things already built, we’ll continue to see large scale weather-related losses.

    Clearly you have a climate change bias: you read things into this article that just don’t exist.

  18. Peter Wilson

    “but the increasingly damaging effect of extreme weather upon basic civil services is indisputable.”

    Actually its very disputable indeed. The fact of the matter is that no long term record of extreme weather events shows any upward trend at all during the period of human industrialization, making rather a nonsense of this claim. The world, and in particular the USA, is in the midst of the LEAST active period for hurricanes in recorded history -7 years and counting since a real hurricane made landfall in the US. Similar trends are evident with tornadoes (last year notwithstanding), droughts and floods.

    The only thing that is increasing is insurance claims, but that has nothing to do with increasing extreme weather (because its not happening) and everything to do with our increased wealth, and predilection for building in risky situations.

    Not that I expect you to let the facts get in the way of a good scare story.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

three × 5 =