If you’ve ever traveled through the Himalaya and spent some time in the tiny mountain villages that dot the landscape, you’ve probably observed the simple lifestyle of the people that live there. Most of those towns have little in the way of modern conveniences and the villagers tend to make do with the same basic equipment that has been with them their entire lives. Take for example the stoves they use to heat their homes. Most are simple and inefficient, and often use yak dung for fuel. Those same stoves are awful for the health of those that use them, often giving off dangerous smoke and fumes that can cause all kinds of health issues.
The Himalayan Stove Project looks to address all of these concerns and then some. It is an ambitious venture that has been put together by adventurer and explorer George Basch, who calls himself the “Chief Cook” of the project. Over the next five years, George hopes to distribute 10,000 new, clean, cookstoves across the Himalaya, simultaneously improving the lives of those who live there, while consuming far less fuel.
The HSP accepts donations through their website, which do directly toward buying and distributing the stoves. The organization is designed to be very efficient, with low overhead, and all of the staff are volunteers who pay their own travel expenses. Additionally, I love that they have a concrete and attainable plan for improving the lives of the people they are trying to help. I’m told that the first 1500+ stoves are en route to Kathmandu at this very moment, and George and his crew will begin giving them out this spring.
Personally, I think this is a great project. The stoves that I saw while in the Khumbu last year were mostly outdated and were definitely inefficient. On top of that, anyone who has ever had the privilege of enjoying the smell of burning yak dung knows how useful these new stoves will be. The Himalayan Stove Project looks to be quite an undertaking, and I wish them the best of luck in reaching their goals.