Cool things

Fresh young innovation and electricity-free fridges

Hey. Good morning!

Today I came across this brilliant article by Permaculture magazine… Take a look:

It’s about this young sustainable designer called Emily Cummins (link to her website) who has come up with the design for a fridge that doesn’t require electricity but instead runs off of the evaporation of dirty water. (See the article for more details on how it works).

Emily and her fridge. Image from - I claim no ownership or anything like that.

At just 24, Emily is the youngest ever winner of a Sustainable Design Award. That’s just one among many achievements though – her lengthy list of awards can be viewed on her website. She says her interest in design began in early childhood, when her granddad taught her to make toys out of random scraps from her household. It became a lifelong interest, and since she graduated with a first class honours degree two years ago, she has been involved in many inspiring projects. She says sustainability is paramount to her design process. In the above article she enthuses: ”I see it as something that should be considered for all products. All products should be as economically, environmentally and socially sustainable as possible.’‘ She also thinks that: ‘…the government should put legislation in place to stop businesses producing things that aren’t environmentally sustainable. If businesses only produce products that are environmentally sustainable, then people will have to buy them. It’s easier not to give consumers a choice.’‘ In most cases I’m all for choice, but in this respect I think she’s right… People buy what’s in the shops, and industrial claims of ‘it’s up to the consumer! We just make what they demand! It’s all in the hands of the consumer!’ are just my-hands-are-tied rubbish in my opinion. I’ll be writing a post about that soon, but for now let’s get back to this sustainable fridge…

It’s main relevance is really in the third world, where electricity isn’t in plentiful supply like it is in the Western world. It can be made from local and recycled materials, and is already being made and used in townships in Africa since Emily gave her plans to the people there in her gap year. Of course it can also be used in the developed world. In the near future we’ll have no choice but to become very frugal and efficient with energy, and even when it comes to renewable energy, it’s still useful to have an appliance that doesn’t require any as it frees up more for other things.

It’s really inspiring to see an inventor working with sustainable design in this way… As well as this fridge design, she’s also worked on an efficient and easily made water carrier for use in the Third World where women and children travel miles for just a bucket or two of water. Her wheeled water carrier makes such a trip more productive as five buckets can be pulled along by one person.

I truly hope to see more simple and ethically-driven innovations like this as the younger generation graduates from education and starts to make their mark on the world….

Here’s to the future!


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