Like millions of villages in the developing world, food in North India's rural communities is cooked with wood or cow dung - emitting black carbon or soot that can cause not only lung disease, but global warming according to climatologist V. Ramanathan.
He is involved in a project that will hand out cleaner-burning stoves to 15,000 households in and around Khairatpur, India in an effort to decrease the number of people in India who die each year from inhaling polluted air.
While some dispute the actual impact of the black carbon on climate change, most agree that the smoky air is a serious health issue.
"Running faster trains in North America and providing public transit in a city like Houston is a so much more logical solution than people driving gas-guzzling cars and SUVs…. If you ask people to give up driving their cars, you have to change mind-sets. You have got to change values." - Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
"If you look at rural India, what message reaches to the consumer there in the rural? I mean, the newspapers do not reach. Televisions would be -- there would be penetration of television, but it would be remarkably low. So, when you want to do a communication of the benefits of the stoves or awareness of the indoor air pollution, it has to be a video on wheels or a van on wheels which goes from village to village, demonstrating the stove." - Harish Anchan, Envirofit India
1. What does your family use to cook your food?
2. How do you think people in rural India cook their food?
3. What kinds of activities lead to air pollution?
1. What surprised you in this report? What did you learn?
2. Do you think it is important to teach the villagers of North India that their way of cooking could cause health problems or pollution? Why might that be difficult for them to change?
3. In the video, Rajendra K. Pachauri makes the point that asking people to change the way they cook is like asking Americans to use public transportation instead of gas-guzzling cars. What do you think about this comparison? Do you think its fair?
4. When trying to combat climate change, should the battle be focused on industries that emit pollutants into the atmosphere or on individuals?
5. Are you worried about climate change? Do you think that it is important for researchers and scientists to do projects like this?
6. What kinds of things can you do to be more "green"?
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