Network Posts

Jeunes Verts Togo

Posted Wednesday 22 April 2015 by Eva Wissenz.

The Jeunes Verts Togo are a youth association created in December 2009 with currently more than 500 members (students, youths, and women from the villages).

Esso-kl’nam Pedessi, Project Leader, is enthusiastic about our solar project: "We love the idea of free construction guides and it would be so great to provide an efficient solar equipment at lower prices to vulnerable and poor populations."

With his team, they work for a general awareness on the relationship of young people and women, and their environment, the need to act for actual preservation and protection of this fragile environment, the duty to protect the environment against any kind of abuse of the international financial and political sphere. It seeks to take concrete action towards disadvantaged groups, for greater awareness of them and to be better for these populations so that they can more easily participate in efforts to protect the environment. The Young Greens - Togo seek to spread awareness in the public on major social, ecological and environmental issues, to promote inter and intra-generational equity, strengthen the capacity of various segments of the population in decision-making for sustainable development.

The association puts also the emphasis on alternatives such as permaculture, organic farming and they seek to develop and democratize renewable energy alternatives and new technologies. Additionally and with a beautiful coherence, the Young Greens Togo seek to work together with communities to preserve their land and their sociocultural fabrics; the organization opposes any form of land grabbing for commercial purposes, and intends to take action against such practices to protect sovereignty. The Young Greens also oppose any move to grab traditional ancestral knowledge by the mechanisms of patenting.

Taking place annually since 2010, they have organized the Film Festival on Climate project (film screenings, exhibition of works of art, a football tournament, green party, sanitation efforts, tree planting, community training schools…).
They are also involved in the Women Buissiness Green, a project to support women financially in their income-generating activities.

A bit more about the environment situation in Togo :
In Togo, the environmental sector has to deal with the difficult socio-political context and economic stresses that have affected the country during the past two decades. Accentuated by energy, global food prices and the financial crisis, Togo’s profound social and environmental impacts are marked by the worsening world hunger, the pressure on natural resources and dwindling investments in the management of natural resources in the country.

The series of consequent floods to climate change experienced by Togo since 2007 has been revealing notorious shortcomings in the control and prevention of risks and disasters related to the environment. The state of play on the environment and natural resources on the continental scale shows undeniably that environmental degradation is increasing and is manifested today by factors such as disturbance of ecosystems, exhaustion natural resources, soil erosion and coastal zone, loss of biodiversity, contamination of food chains, pollution of the atmosphere, water and soil, degradation of the living environment, recurrent flooding in cities. The problems of global order, such as greenhouse gas emissions and its corollaries are the risks of climate change, the thrust of desertification etc. also major factors wellness discount. This critical situation inevitably leads to poor social conditions and generally to unmet needs and human rights of the population.

To contact Jeunes Verts-Togo
Esso-kl’nam Pedessi
essoklnam (at)

Meeting Patricia Mc Ardle, the Solar Lady

Posted Tuesday 21 April 2015 by Eva Wissenz.

I’ve met Patricia McArdle a few years ago through her novel Farishta, where she shares about her experience in Afghanistan as a diplomat and the time she spent there spreading awareness about solar cooking. In this post Patricia answers us a few questions about her solar passion.

How did you discover solar?
I first discovered solar cooking as a child when my Girl Scout troop made a solar cooker out of cardboard box, a piece of glass and some aluminum foil. We melted chocolate and marshmallows. I didn’t think about solar cooking again until fifty years later when I was sent to northern Afghanistan by the U.S. government to spend a year as the diplomatic advisor to a British Army infantry unit.
These soldiers conducted peacekeeping patrols across the northern mountains and deserts. When I accompanied their six-man convoys I saw many young children pulling up bushes and carrying huge bundles of brush home for their mothers’ cooking fires. People told me that because almost all the trees in northern Afghanistan had been cut down for firewood, all that was left to burn was brush and dung. They also told me that the sun shines more than 300 days per year in that part of the world. When they mentioned the sun, it triggered the memory of my long ago Girl Scout solar cooker project.
I did some research on the Internet and found the website of California-based Solar Cookers International, which features many solar cooker designs. I built several out of cardboard and foil and tested them on the roof of our camp. I took one on patrol to demonstrate in the villages we visited. All of this is recounted in my novel Farishta, a fictional war memoir inspired by my year in Afghanistan. Once I saw the Afghan’s enthusiastic reaction to solar cooking I was hooked on this technology and have continued to promote it since I returned to the U.S. in 2006.

What is your involvement in solar movement?
After my solar epiphany in Afghanistan, I attended the Solar Cookers International Conference in Granada, Spain, where I met the leaders in the world solar cooking sector. After seeing their designs in action, I tried to convince the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development to support this technology. I met significant resistance from development ‘experts’ in my government, which has inexplicably persisted for the past ten years. I continue to write, speak and demonstrate this technology around the world and still hope to change the U.S. government’s negative position on solar cooking technology. I have served on the board of directors of Solar Household Energy and Solar Cookers International and for three years was the editor of the Solar Cooker Review. I continue to write about solar thermal cooking technology, test new designs and help startups with networking. Solar cooking will be my passion for the rest of my life.

Do you think a solar economy is possible?
A solar (thermal and photovoltaic) economy is definitely possible (I include wind energy in this mix) but it will have to include a huge increase in energy efficiency in everything we do. We also need much more investment in advanced thermal and battery storage technologies to ensure a steady supply of energy even when there’s no sun. To complement solar energy we must develop and commercialize new sources of geothermal, tidal and other green and renewable types energy. The fossil fuel industry is doing everything it can to slow earth’s transition to a zero emission, green energy economy, but we must never give up. We can do this.

SunFire South Africa Supports the #FreeTheSun Campaign

Posted Thursday 16 April 2015 by Urs Riggenbach.

Crosby Menzies, founder of SunFire Solutions in Johannesburg, South Africa, is supporting our #FreeTheSun campaign.

It’s an important partner for us because Crosby has expertise in solar cookers and a huge network in South Africa. This team is with us since the beginning of the adventure and it’s a heart warming partnership.

World Vision and the Weconomy Program

Posted Saturday 4 April 2015 by Eva Wissenz.

Juha-Erkki Mäntyniemi, COO and Innovation Director, is presenting shortly the Weconomy program powered by the NGO World Vision. We plan a fruitful cooperation in Kenya with this program.

Finnish Cleantech Delegation to San Francisco and L.A.

Posted Monday 30 March 2015 by Urs Riggenbach.

Last week I visited California as part of a Finnish cleantech delegation led by Ms. Lenita Toivakka, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade of Finland. The business delegation was attended by industry leaders and newcomers in the Finnsih cleantech sector.

Finland hosts a surprising lot of cleantech companies, ranging from sustainable mobility solutions to cloud-based energy monitoring systems and a variety of net-zero technologies and products. In 2014, Finland was ranked second globally in cleantech innovations.

Mr. Juha Markkanen, Consul General to Finland in L.A. supported the delegation by pulling in various authorities from the state. It was distinguishing to see the support of the Finnish embassy. "Every embassy should do this", Markkanen says when asked about his proactive stance in supporting Finnish business abroad.

The highlights of the trip were a visit to Google with a pitch session at Google Green, visiting Tesla’s headquarters and taking part in the Nordic Green Tech Forum organized by Team Finland.

Team Finland is promoting Finnish industries and know-how abroad. Finpro, as a member of Team Finland, organized the trip. We want to thank FinPro and Team Finland for this excellent opportunity and we look forward to being part of upcoming delegations.

Image: ©Idean, Opening Ceremony in L.A.

Boond - Every Drop Makes a Difference

Posted Tuesday 17 March 2015 by Eva Wissenz.

We are proud and honored to announce a cooperation with Rustam Sengupta, Founder and CEO of Boond for the crowdfunding campaign we are launching in the next few weeks.

Boond is a social entreprise that promotes solar energy access in remote and rural parts of North India.

Rustam researches sustainable social enterprise design and implements his work first hand in the field. He is an expert in designing and data analysis for products and services for the poorest of the poor and also provides consulting to numerous universities and institutions on market entry and emerging market economics.

Boond has won a number of awards (Echoing Green Fellowship 2014, Economic Times Power of Ideas 2010, Nokia DLD Global Challenge, UN Women etc.) and more importantly has impacted the lives of over 50,000 people in remote villages in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Kashmir over the past two years.

Rustam believes in sustainable models for development and social impact and in addition to putting everything he has in Boond, also spreads the message of sustainability by teaching courses on social responsibility and climate change in Indian universities and consulting with international development agencies.

Interview with Alan Bigelow, PhD, Columbia University

Posted Wednesday 4 March 2015 by Urs Riggenbach.

Alan Bigelow is a physicist that develops optical and ion-beam technologies at Columbia University. Passionate about solar energy and what it can do to solve our problems, Alan shares his views on solar concentration in this interview.

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