Monday, January 10

Poop = Good

Roughly 2/3 of Zambia's 10 million people live in rural areas, meaning 6 million Zambians have no running water, phone service, or even (God Forbid!) Internet connectivity. More pressing, however, is that these people are also without electricity.

In order to cook, warm themselves, heat bathwater, make pottery, smoke, brew beer, bake bread, smelt, or any number of other things, they need heat. Without electricity, heat usually comes from biomass, or firewood. And firewood means deforestation.

Unfortunately, deforestation is a big problem in Zambia. Deforestation estimates range from 250,000 to 900,000 acres per year, or a loss of about 2% of forest-land annually. Deforestation results in decreased agricultural productivity, loss of wildlife habitat, a lower water table, and soil erosion, among other things.

There have been a number of efforts to introduce renewable energy options to Zambia, including harnessing solar energy and wind energy. However, these methods have high import costs and tend to rely on professionals for installation and service. One of the most innovative renewable energy ideas is biogas, a.k.a., animal poop. According to Islam Online, poop is the Next Big Thing, something you actually want to find in the kitchen.