A Recipe For Good: Making an Impact with Cleaner Burning Cookstoves

Cool Effect
Cool Effect
Published in
4 min readNov 20, 2023

Honduras is one of the most impoverished and vulnerable countries in the world. Nearly 70% of Hondurans live in poverty, with most of those families situated in very rural areas that often lack basic infrastructure. In these areas, 6 out of 10 of households are subject to extreme poverty with incomes of less than $3.80 per day, and when that economic vulnerability is combined with the country’s low readiness to adapt to climate change, it’s a perfect storm for a majority of rural Hondurans.

When you visit these rural areas (often called “The Last Mile” by volunteers and workers in the area, it’s easy to see the real world impact of these statistics. Villages are often inaccessible except for muddy, unkempt, rock-strewn roads. Homes are generally one-room adobe structures with animals living nearby. Very few children have shoes. Plumbing is often a luxury communities can’t afford.

For cooking, residents often use traditional open wood-burning stoves to prepare meals, typically leaving these stoves burning for upwards of 8 hours a day. Understandably, these stoves not only burn significant amounts of local wood, they also emit constant soot and smoke into the home.

Older open stoves like this one generate serious carbon emissions and contribute to poor air quality in a vast majority of rural homes in Honduras.

This of course creates a serious health risk for the entire family, but particularly to the women and children, who spend the most time near the home stove. When wood burns, it emits 26 hazardous air pollutants, including carbon monoxide, ammonia, and methane — carbon emissions and particulate matter that are harmful for both the planet and people.

These traditional stoves also require tremendous amounts of wood to keep burning, which aside from being an incredibly time consuming task to chop and gather, contributes to rural Honduras’ deforestation crisis, where more than 37.1% of its forests disappeared in just 15 years.

Much like the complicated problem of climate change, there’s no magic solution for the problems facing rural Hondurans, but there are ways to make a real impact for its people while also doing some good for the planet at the same time. Meet Proyecto Mirador’s “Dos Por Tres.”

Slang for “In an Instant,” these cleaner burning cookstoves, supported by verified carbon credits, help immediately address many of the problems and struggles that locals work to overcome each day, providing numerous benefits that improve lives and protect the planet. Instantly, these stoves save wood, save time, eliminate toxic smoke from the household, and help the planet by saving miles of forests and reducing carbon emissions by about 3 tonnes per stove annually. To date, the project has avoided the emissions of more than 2 million metric tonnes of CO2 and equivalent gasses (mtCO2e). Here’s what else they can do:

Improve Health and Well-Being: Clean cookstoves drastically improve indoor air quality, which reduces the risk of respiratory illness.

Forest Conservation: The efficiency of these stoves allows families to use about half the typical amount of wood they did with older stoves, helping them save upwards of 60 pounds of wood a week and saving them hours each week they’d typically spend collecting that firewood. Additionally, Dos Por Tres stoves can be made to run even more cheaply than a traditional stove by supplementing wood fuel with agricultural waste like corncobs or stalks. And when families save money, they primarily use those savings to buy food.

Economic Empowerment: Clean cookstove programs, particularly ones powered by verified carbon credits like Proyecto Mirador’s, help add much needed revenue to rural communities like these, leading to stimulated local economies and improved local infrastructures. Under Proyecto Mirador, cookstove beneficiaries do not purchase items needed to build their stoves — materials like the plancha (griddle top), chimney, the parrilla (grate) and ceramics for the stove mouth are all built in local factories and provided to the beneficiary. Families do not buy a stove; they co-invest in one. They provide bricks and mortar, while stove suppliers, or Proveedores, provide construction, know-how, and the specialized stove parts listed above. This provides those Proveedores with additional opportunities for income, adding revenue and employment opportunities to a region that desperately needs them.

So far, this program alone has constructed 330,000 stoves benefitting 874,000 people, created 22 micro-enterprises and 170 jobs to date, reduced carbon monoxide and particulate matter in the home by 79% in countless rural homes, provided 18,000 hours of stove maintenance training and fuel reduction tips each year, and has kept nearly 2.8 million tonnes of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere.

Clean cookstove programs supported by verified carbon credits like these truly offer a win-win scenario for both the planet and its people. Emissions are reduced, forests are conserved, lives are improved, and sustainable development is achieved. By investing in such projects and making an impact by donating verified carbon credits to programs like these, individuals and corporations can make a meaningful impact and really cook up some good for local communities.

To learn more and help the people of Honduras breathe a little easier, visit https://cooleffect.org/cookstoves.

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Cool Effect
Cool Effect

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