A simple design to save lives(#1)

Fuel from the Fields (FftF) is a MIT D-Lab based project organized by Amy Smith. Fuel from the Fields finds ways to use agricultural waste in order to make cooking fuel that is simple, expensive and environmentally-friendly. 90% of the trees in Haiti are gone because of deforestation. Deforestation is the result of families cutting down 30 million trees a year so that they are able to cook for themselves. This project was originally used when a group of students worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer to make briquettes out of waste paper. However, the briquettes did not burn as well as wood charcoal and produced a lot of smoke. Amy Smith realized that she and a group of students needed to construct a product that could beat wood charcoal in the market. When they started investigating what type of waste was available, Amy Smith and her team of students found a bountiful supply of bagasse, crushed sugar cane stalk wastes. After a few tries, they created a hand-operated device that could form briquettes that lasted longer than wood-charcoal and did not produce much smoke.


This method can really change and save millions of lives. Now, without the huge amount of smoke from the briquettes, cooking has really improved. Not only does it have health and environmental benefits, but this is one of the special cases where there is economic benefits. People can now make their own cooking fuel out of waste products. They can sell this fuel to people who can’t make their own. Amy Smith says,”When we talk about the future we will create, one of the things that I think is necessary is to have a very clear vision of the world that we live in”. What Amy Smith means by this is that we must understand that there are people out there who miss school because they have to work for their families, or earn only $60 a month even if they work 15 hours a day.

I agree with Ms.Amy Smith. I think we need to see that the world’s treasures aren’t balanced out equally. Around here, I see people who takes things for granted all the time. Whether it’s in throwing away untouched/unfinished products or buying expensive, useless things, I have to admit it, I have done it too. We, as the citizens of Earth and the friends of the people, need to make sure that everyone has the right conditions for a brihgt life ahead of them.


This article is based on the book Design for the Other 90%

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