Renewable Resources just might save the world.
It’s time somebody took on the challenge.
Twenty years ago when I was in college, I became obsessed with global warming, conservation, and renewable resources. And by obsessed, I mean I talked about it nonstop (as only a college kid can do), turned off running water, and stopped flushing toilets (if it’s brown, flush it down…). Ohhhh, yes, I was SO that hippie.
And then life happened.
As I’ve explained elsewhere, I got married, had babies, and did the absolute best I could in my own corner to save the environment. I continued with the flush experiment, used cloth diapers, made my babies homemade food, and grew our own food wherever I could. Yet I kept reading the stories, kept hearing the news about our fossil fuel consumption. And I kept reading the projections on when we were going to run out of our resources.
Ohhhh, I felt so helpless.
As it turns out, living renewable was the best thing that I could have done.
Not only is individual action to embrace the renewable life important, but we’re starting to realize that collective, community action is the best change the status quo. So why is this the best way? Because our economic system (it’s good, just not perfect!) gives our decision-makers a huge incentive to not pivot to renewable resources. That is, fossil fuels help corporations, corporations have money to influence policy-makers, policy-makers make the laws to support fossil fuels.
Caveat, here – I’m a die-hard capitalist.
I would like to insert this here because I know that I might be the only lover of renewable resources and the environment that is. And, in my opinion, the strong political divisions that exist between capitalists and environmentalists only make collective action harder.
And that takes us to today’s project.
Because capitalism is the best system that we’ve come up with that works, it’s most likely going to be the one that sticks around. But it’s not perfect, which is why each of us needs to be community leaders in the way that speaks to our Spark. Because capitalism doesn’t – and shouldn’t – live in a vacuum. Even more – capitalism demands that we move our communities in the way that we deem most important. And if that way is environmentalism (talk to me, sister!), then this is the project for you.
No, we’re not going to ask you to go off the grid and bike everywhere (although that’s a fantastic idea for you die-hards ;)). But we are asking you to do one project, at home, that will be a huge win for the world’s environment, for your own personal green space, and for the renewable resources movement as a whole.
We call that living The Spark Life.
And now you get to be a part of it.
One of our core principles here at Aina is that we don’t just talk about issues, we give you meaningful, hands-on action you can take to change the world, today. We’re giving you this fantastic project to help environmental conservation with one of Aina’s Accredited Nonprofits. And if saving the environment isn’t your Spark (have you heard of the Spark Life?), or if this project doesn’t ring quite true to you, be sure to Contact Us! Because empowering women to change the world is what we do here at Aina, and we’re here to help you.
So today we’re giving you an easy, awesome, and ACTUALLY WORKING SOLAR OVEN that you can make. At home. To cook your food. Because that, my friends, is local action. Before we get to today’s project, let’s talk a few fast facts on Renewable Resources and the Environment so you can wow your friends at the next (solar-prepared!) dinner party – and understand why this project is so important.
YOUR ISSUE: RENEWABLE RESOURCES
Renewable Resources is SUCH a huge issue and such a huge part of saving the environment, so to help you have some facts on hand, here’s an easy infographic:
Ohhh, there are so many fun facts. Yep, renewable resources create FIVE TIMES more jobs than fossil fuels. So, us capitalists can still rejoice ;). Did you know that renewable energy now supplies a third of the UK’s energy? And I LOVE the fact that 1 wind turbine can create enough energy to power 1,400 homes – not to mention that one hour of sunlight could meet the world’s energy demands for a whole year (and solar panels on the roof? Now actually affordable). Of course, we are not there yet, people – we have a LONG way to go to make all of these renewable sources a reality. But if each of us took practical action at home to harness this? We’d be a lot farther down that path.
YOUR ORGANIZATION: Practical Action
Ok ladies, the fantastic news is that you can do something about it, right now, from home. Yep, you – because we are SO not fans of doom and gloom here at Aina.
We are women of action. And we’re out to save this world.
Enter this project – and the fantastic organization Practical Action.
Founded in 1966, Practical Action “is a global innovator, inspiring people to discover and adopt ingenious, practical ways to free themselves from poverty and disadvantage.” So. Amazing. And while their focus is on poverty, guess what? Access to energy is a huge equalizer in the economic game. And access to energy that’s cheap, sustainable – and doesn’t require huge investments in the fossil fuel industry? That’s what we call a game-changer. For this reason, one of Practical Action’s main areas of focus is on Energy Access.
In the Energy Access area Practical Action works with communities to develop renewable energy solutions. While all options are on the table, they focus mainly on water, wind, sun, and waste. In fact, in 2017 alone they helped 1.2 million people get access to sustainable, modern energy sources. Moreover, they have 104 projects around the world focusing on energy, sustainable agriculture, urban water, sanitation and waster services, and disaster risk reduction.
Not only that, but they are scrappy and get the work done with the fewest resources (one of our big requirements for our partner organizations). Even more – they use only 1% of their funds on governance. Talk about scrappy and hard-working. They are so very awesome – and you can be awesome with them too. Keep reading for one way to get involved, and find more ways to support Practical Action here.
→2 Cardboard Boxes (any will do, just make sure they’re the same size as your picture frame)
→Oven Thermometer (optional, but helpful!)
(Note: These might include affiliate links)
Step 1: Make Your Oven
Make an at-home, super easy and super awesome solar oven! Get the step-by-step instructions from our featured maker, Aleutianwind at Instructables. This is such a fantastic, super fun, and really easy project to make – perfect to do with kiddos. Even better – for less than $50 and 45 minutes of work, you will be cutting back on SO MUCH of your energy use – making the renewable life just that much easier. Pat yourself on the back, my friend :).
Step 2: Make Renewable Food
Ok, so you can not only save the environment with your oven, but you can cook renewable food in it, too! Get all of our “renewable” recipes on our Pinterest Board – and check out our Meatless Mondays post to find out why the food you eat saves the environment, too!
Step 3: Get Connected
Whenever a woman asks us how they can start helping the world in their specific issue of interest, we always tell them to start with a known organization. Practical Action is a great, Aina-Accredited organization to start with if you are interested in conservation. Read up on what they do and see if they fit you. Find out who is on Their Board of Directors, and check them out on Linkedin. Do you have any kind of connection to them? If so, reach out. If not, reach out! Open that dialogue, you’d be surprised to see where it takes you. If Practical Action isn’t your cup of tea or you don’t know where to start, contact us!! We are here to help, and we know how to get you where you want to go.
Step 4: Get Involved
Practical Action not only helps save our environment, but they also care SO MUCH about the community that supports them. Because we know that the world only changes in community, this ability to get involved is one of our must-haves for accredited partner organizations. This is just one of the reasons we love them.
You can see some of our other projects with them – like Poetry Slam! – or you can check out the whole gamut of Aina’s involvement projects here. No matter what, you should contact Practical Action and let them know that you want to be more involved with what they’re doing – they are worth your world-changing time!
Step 4: Step Up Your Game
Is all of this slightly intimidating? If so, contact us at Aina and we’ll help you down this path! As we’ve worked in this field for over 15 years, we know how daunting it can be. Believe us, we have few tricks up our sleeves to get you, as we like to call it, Living the Spark Life. We don’t want you to have to reinvent the wheel, because we’ve made all of the mistakes out there. We’d love to chat and shine light onto Your Spark.
Do you love this renewable resources project and want to take more action to save the environment? We have more fantastic environmental projects for you!
→Conservation Composter is the perfect project for all of your veggie scraps!
→Breathing Forests is a fantastic project for to help stop global warming. This is perfect for those with younger children and green thumbs.
→Powerful Pedals is a fantastic global climate change project for teenagers and workout fanatics.
GET CONNECTED TO AINA
We love more friends! Contact Us and start living your Spark Life today!
Carmen Westbrook is the CEO and co-founder of Aina Giving, a female-led company that transforms women into world changers. Join the movement of DIY World Change and get our accredited projects, leadership coaching, and nonprofit consulting – Contact Us and tell us how you want to change the world. We’ll help you get there.