Edward Ortiz, SACRAMENTO BEE
Hundreds of people Saturday cooked using only the power of the sun – a practice little used in the United States, but considered a liberating tool for women in developing countries that also helps curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The solar cooking event at William Land Park capped a three-day conference by Sacramento-based Solar Cookers International. Attendees came from as far as Bolivia and Kenya. The cookers on display ranged from low-tech affairs featuring cardboard and aluminum foil to reflect the sun to sophisticated cookers featuring a giant lens on huge pedestals.
Yet all highlighted the basic simplicity of the solar cooker – all that’s needed is a surface to reflect and concentrate sunlight.
Attendees shared a passion for a way of cooking that emits little pollution and that requires only a sunny day as fuel. Nearly 3 billion people in the developing world cook food and heat their homes with traditional cook stoves or open fires, which account for more than half of the greenhouse gases contributed by cooking methods. A global study released in 2010 estimated that exposure to smoke from the cooking is the fourth-worst risk factor for disease in developing countries.