Wealthy to poor: Here’s your cardboard cooker

April 9, 2009

A cardboard box with foil and a plastic cover, positioned as a “solar-power cooker” (see YouTube video below) won the $75,000 first prize in the Hewlett-Packard-sponsored Financial Times Climate Change Challenge. The contest goal was “to find and publicize the most innovative and scalable solution to the effects of climate change.”

The apparent idea behind the so-called “Kyoto Box” is to reduce the burning of wood for cooking. The plan of inventor Jon Bohmer is to have Kyoto Boxes distributed to poor Africans courtesy of corporations that would earn carbon credits for distributing the boxes. Each box would earn Bohmer an estimated $26-40 annually.

Some thoughts:

  • How do you cook when the sun goes down? Or are Africans supposed to be tucked away in their beds by then wrapped in that other 21st century western “technology” offered by the greens — i.e., mosquito netting?
  • Why doesn’t HP sponsor a contest to figure out development projects that would enable poor Africans to obtain the money they need to obtain electricity, water & sewer, etc.?
  • Isn’t the Kyoto Box, at best, like putting a band-aid on a cancer lesion?
  • Isn’t it interesting how the purpose of the contest is to avert climate change rather than to help poor Africans lead a better life? if you’re a poor African, do you really care about atmospheric carbon dioxide and mean global temperatures 100 years from now?
  • How much climate change could possibly be caused by poor Africans cooking on wood fires in the first place?
  • Doesn’t it seem like the only true beneficiaries are Bohmer (who will profit obscenely by assembling some cardboard, plastic and foil) and the corporations who can earn carbon credits (while continuing to emit greenhouse gases) and score PR points.

Though many plan to profit by exploiting poor Africans, here’s the real math behind Bohmer’s cardboard cooker:

Kyoto Box = Moral bankruptcy + Intellectual bankruptcy

28 Responses to “Wealthy to poor: Here’s your cardboard cooker”

  1. walkingawake Says:

    * How do you cook when the sun goes down? Or are Africans supposed to be tucked away in their beds by then wrapped in that other 21st century western “technology” offered by the greens — i.e., mosquito netting?

    You (the African peasant here) don’t cook when the sun goes down, because you decided you’d rather use the sun than chop and haul wood… unless you decide to use firewood after all. I guess it’s still up to “you.”

    * Why doesn’t HP sponsor a contest to figure out development projects that would enable poor Africans to obtain the money they need to obtain electricity, water & sewer, etc.?

    Or maybe you could do that. Leave the solar oven fascism to HP. Their loss. I smell real opportunity!

    * Isn’t the Kyoto Box, at best, like putting a band-aid on a cancer lesion?

    Well, it’s no modern kitchen, but if I were living there, I’d rather have the “convenience” of a solar oven than foraging for wood all the time. Given the current prospects for these people and tightening budgets due to the economy, they might even be grateful. But who are you or I to make these assumptions? Maybe the real arrogance is assuming we know what they think about this project without asking.

    * Isn’t it interesting how the purpose of the contest is to avert climate change rather than to help poor Africans lead a better life? if you’re a poor African, do you really care about atmospheric carbon dioxide and mean global temperatures 100 years from now?

    Actually raising global temps and increasing desertification will have a direct impact on agriculture and water supplies in Africa, definitely effecting the poor. This is why African representatives at Coppenhagen said that temperature increases deemed acceptable by the leaders of developed nations (Obama et all) will be suicide for their populations.

    * How much climate change could possibly be caused by poor Africans cooking on wood fires in the first place?

    I’m guessing not much.

    * Doesn’t it seem like the only true beneficiaries are Bohmer (who will profit obscenely by assembling some cardboard, plastic and foil) and the corporations who can earn carbon credits (while continuing to emit greenhouse gases) and score PR points.

    Again, maybe asking the villagers in question would be the way to go. But I’m sure you’re right on about the PR.


  2. [...] just read about something called the “Kyoto Box” over at Steve Milloy’s [...]


  3. [...] Read about the Kyoto Box here. Did you like this? If so, please addthis_pub = ‘salvo’;bookmark it, about it, and subscribe to the blog RSS feed.Other Posts On This TopicMarch 17, 2009 — Global Warming Protest Frozen Out by Massive SnowfallFebruary 13, 2009 — Global Warming May Be A Blessing In DisguiseMarch 16, 2009 — Coal Company CEO Should Spend Eternity In JailFebruary 11, 2009 — You Global Warming Fanatics Are A Bunch Of Morons! [...]

  4. lam321 Says:

    I have been solar cooking for fun for more than ten years here in Arizona. I have a commercial made oven that gets a maximum of 350F in the summer and 325F in the winter. The solar ovens cook much like the slow cookers that you have to plug into electricity except they bake very well.

    I find it absurd that they are giving a cash bonus to someone that gave them something you can get for free. There has been a group of people working for more than 20 years with projects all over the world to provide information on solar cooking and more inportantly, water pasturization. You can find them at http://solarcooking.org. There are plans for making your own cookers out of easy to find materials. Go ahead have some fun with solar cooking just don’t try and use other peoples ideas for prize money. Or better yet give the prize money to some of these world-wide care orgainizations.


  5. [...] your cardboard cooker, meanwhile Obamas fly in chef 860 miles… just to make pizza From Green Hell Blog, April 9, [...]

  6. freeholddave Says:

    Funny!

    I know a recipient of a major charitable award who worked very hard to raise money to distribute solar cookers to the refugees of Darfur.

    The purpose behind the solar cookers had nothing to do with carbon dioxide. Rather, the purpose of the solar cookers was to save the women from having to go out and obtain
    firewood to cook, an activity that was very dangerous because women who left the refugee camps at great peril to themselves.

    And the refugees were given the materials to make the cookers.

    In my view, it was a good idea for the Darfur refugees because of their special situation. And, the reason she got the award was how much money she raised, how many people she managed to get involved in the project and how many cookers she was able to supply.

    I am surprised that HP didn’t check out that this idea had been used in Darfur. And, as far as giving this guy a patent for this. That seems absurd.

  7. pull1 Says:

    Cardboard cooker? Well if it works I’m down with it.
    Here is a couple more ideas I am sure to win awards with.
    1 – The wheel
    2 – The fireplace
    3 – Men pitching in
    4 – Mud bricks
    5 – Tell people slow cookers are for preparing dinner not for living in

    It seems to me that there was enough wood in those forest to make a wheeled cart. Use it to carry your wood to the mud brick fireplace (complete with chimney). While dinner is cooking sharpen a big stick and use it to put the men to work.

  8. ladyliberty2 Says:

    I can’t stop laughing. That’s the stupidist thing I’ve ever seen! I can’t imagine how the narrator recited all those benefits without laughing her head off.

  9. billkammerer Says:

    I had to watch this 3 times to make sure I was seeing what I hoped I wasn’t seeing… I feel an urge to stick my finger down my throat…

  10. johnnylucid Says:

    Windfall profits! Tax him at the AIG bonus rate!

  11. jefftfred Says:

    If you have read the book “Green Power, Black Death” You would see the same arrogance by the international Green Movement toward indigineous African people.
    What these people require is electricity for cooking, light and refrigeration, not a cardboard box with a foil reflector. On an overcaste day, or at night when cooking is required, it wouldn’t work as a cooker, So back to animal dung for cooking and heating.
    The cost – shortened life expectancy, and death by lung disease. But that’s what the green movement wanted, and no new power stations were built.
    Al Gore will be comfortable in his energy gulping home.

  12. bluejohnmarshall Says:

    Typical ‘greenpeace’ idea, and total rubbish. Even the film clip shows it for what it is. If that water was hot enough to cook then that person would not put his finger in it! What these people need is electricity! The monies spent trying to unsuccessfully prove AGW would be better spent on the supply of clean water, sewerage, electricity and a decent education to these people.

  13. 4timesayear Says:

    Make him give the money back – This thing doesn’t save trees – where’d the cardboard come from? How long will it last? Where are they going to get cardboard boxes from in the middle of nowhere? (Nevermind aluminum foil, and acrylic)

  14. inhalingco2 Says:

    This will keep them warm on those cold/cool evenings. Did you guys hear the article about “good fat” in the body. If you just turn down your thermostat then your body will use more energy to survive.

  15. nothingtocareabout Says:

    Isn´t this just another showcase of the complete arrogance and stupidity which is coming down on the western world as a yoke of ultimate madness forced upon us by incompetent green bureaucrats and leaders..?
    One can´t help but have the feeling that the American government is trying to undermine the credibility of its own people around the world. They pretend they will show the way to a carbonfree world and take leadership and now presents the world with a little box of cardboard which at best can be regarded as a cheap piece of toy and thereby making a laugh of the poor people they pretend to help. I really start to fear for the future with this kind of nuts at the stearing wheel. I think the only hope left for our world is that the American people will show leadership and get rid of these idiots before they have done too much harm.

  16. dlsoucy Says:

    Rape and land-mine risks.

    Somehow I don’t believe saving the world from global warming ranks very high in these women’s agendas.

    And the Scouts are right, that is an old camp oven project. In fact it looks very much like the one Reynolds Aluminum had in one of their little pamphlets

    So this joker didn’t invent it,he just stole the idea from somebody else. Shouldn’t Reynolds get the cash?

  17. dongoffredi Says:

    He won $75K for this? I think I made something just like it when I was a cub scout. And that was 50 years ago.

    And I guess they just aren’t supposed to cook on rainy days.

    What a ripoff.


  18. [...] SOYLENT GREEN Just what your body needs when you’re freezing in the dark « Even Bigger AGW Assclown Proposes Terraforming–On Earth AGW Crime Pays: Cardboard Box “Inventor” wins $75K April 10, 2009 I can’t beat this, stolen directly from Green Hell Blog: [...]

  19. cw70 Says:

    That has got to be the dumbest idea to help people in Africa. What happens when it rains or an animal makes it a chew toy? Keep burning the wood… the food and water tastes better!
    Please “geniuses”, come up with more effective ways to help these villagers survive and thrive; a real idea worthy of an award! Hmmmmm… maybe it’s just a foolish thought… with all of the technology that we’ve developed… how bout… oh, I don’t know, something with solar power!? If we can make stop signs with blinking red lights running off a small solar panel in the middle of the Mojave desert (no man’s land), why in the world would it not be feasable to do the same in a place like Africa? Maybe because it’s too easy and already thought of… The old saying, “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel” seems appropriate.

  20. panavia999 Says:

    The video doesn’t show any real cooking or boiling water, or a temperature reading – essential to sell the idea to the rest of us. The video also says it’s 240 year old technology. So what’s new here?
    I saw a TV show many years ago where poor people in Africa made their own solar powered ovens out of sheet metal. I think aid organizations showed women how to make them. The reasons given were to save labor collecting firewood and portability. This was before global warmism and saving the forests was popular.
    It was cheap and the materials could be scavenged locally. They showed a lady baking dinner in it and she liked it. As a previous poster mentioned, isn’t this a classic Boy & Girl Scout project?
    I don’t have a problem with the idea if it truly WORKS – the youtube clip doesn’t look so convincing. But if it *does* work and saves women & children from hard labor, danger in the forest and conserves wood, then give the folks more substantial materials to use besides cardboard and foil!

    • reliagility Says:

      panavia999:

      “… more substantial materials to use besides cardboard and foil!”‘

      I agree – how about an electrical outlet and a stove for these folks??

      Unfortunately, organizations such as Greenpeace are actively working to keep electricity out of the hands of Africans.

      Also, on a related topic, people should know that idiots like Paul David Hewson (aka “Bono”) are keeping malaria rates (and death rates) high in Africa by campaigning against the use of DDT, which, if used properly and in moderation, has been proven to be a safe and effective malaria combatant. Malaria is especially deadly for children.

      • panavia999 Says:

        Dont’ worry, I absolutely agree with you. People in developing countries should have all modern advantages they can use.
        DDT should be sprayed freely to fight malaria. The righteous can sure cause a lot of damage. Unfortunately, with corrupt governments in Africa and hand wringing westerners like Bono and Greenpeace etc etc keeping the people poor and desperate, it will be a long time before real progress is made. Until things improve I don’t have a problem helping people with a solar oven (or any tool) – IF it’s sturdy and functional. A solar cooker could be a stepping stone to further progress, not the solution.

  21. reliagility Says:

    It’s Racism – Plain and Simple

    Ok, so we have a white male from an industrialized nation “inventing” a piece of camping gear that should be forced onto poor, mostly black, people of developing countries.

    I guess because he is white he knows what’s best for everyone. The nerve of these jackasses is incredible! If I could, I would force the inventor of this piece of junk to scrap his stove and refrigerator and would force him to cook food and feed his family using this ridiculous “Kyoto Box”

    The bottom line is that these particular white folks are hell-bent on impeding the progress of everyone else – especially if they are not white. I guess it makes them feel superior.

    This is the new racism. It’s disguised as environmentalism, but, don’t be fooled. The objectives of these folks is to keep all of Africa, and much of Asia in a pre-industrialized state, so that they can remain on top.

    My hope for all developing countries is that they can leverage coal and nuclear energy, adopt a modern lifestyle (and the life expectancy associated with it), and that they can cast off the new yoke of oppression imposed on them by those who “know better”.

    • panavia999 Says:

      Mostly agree with you, Reliagility. I wouldn’t call it racism. Racism is replaced with environmental elitism with essentially the same effect. Because a certain type of greeny wants the undeveloped world to stay status quo- poor peasants grateful for their solar ovens. Greenies also want the developed world to scale back and even de-develope. We should all eschew our hydro carbon fueled stoves and ovens and setup solar ovens in the back yard too.

      It’s easy to “know better” when you visit a poverty stricken area for a while, then go home to your wealthy and healthy country, take a hot shower and enjoy the luxury of all your labor saving devices which give you enough free time to devise plans to save the rest of the world. Sheesh.

    • 4timesayear Says:

      ‘If I could, I would force the inventor of this piece of junk to scrap his stove and refrigerator and would force him to cook food and feed his family using this ridiculous “Kyoto Box”’

      That was the first thought that passed through my mind – make him use it!

  22. maos1961 Says:

    I had to check the date, and it is not the 1st of April….

    Do these people actually have any brain cells? Are they able to breath and walk at the same time, unaided?

    Some days I truly despair.

  23. condolf Says:

    Has anyone bothered to check to see how hot it gets? Unless it is a big box with great insulation and a focal point for the food, my guess is you couldn’t cook a thing. Might be able to get bread to rise in it though.

  24. jbohren Says:

    Amazing. This “invention” looks remarkably like solar cookers I made in Boy Scouts over thirty years ago.


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