Nearly all residents in Villaseca, Chile, cook with solar power –pretty nifty in a country where firewood is a big source of energy, contributing to a steep loss in old-growth forests each year. Villaseca in sunny northern Chile has only 300 residents, but proponents of the solar technology hope the gizmos will spread across the region. Pedro Serrano, an environmental activist and one of the Villaseca project’s original planners in 1989, estimates that 300,000 potential users of solar ovens live in northern Chile. If all of them made the switch, he says, 2 million tons of wood would be saved annually.
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