Last night I had the pleasure of attending a screening of the Banff Mountain Culture Film Festival world tour - if it's coming to a city near you I most definitely recommend seeing it. It showcases our planet and different cultures beautifully, but keeps you engaged and entertained too (think extreme sports like free solo climbing, kayaking, skiing, biking, etc.)! One of the films featured a really great organization which I felt inspired to tell you about called the Suncatchers Project, which is working to alleviate deforestation, erosion, malnutrition, poverty, violence and disparity, all by doing ONE simple thing! They are working to introduce solar ovens...how can this help? Well, the African people struggle with purifying water and cooking food daily. To do this they must either use wood (a resource which is overused, hence deforesation and erosion are critical problems, essentially turning the once lush African landscape into barren deserts overnight), or coal (very expensive for them); both of these resources are difficult and dangerous to obtain, meaning that most go without proper food or water. Not new problems - but our classical approach of simply giving them things teaches them no skills to empower them, and as we know, isn't really solving the problems (or at least making very slow progress). The sun ovens offer a completely FREE resource (sunlight!), solving their issue of clean water and helping make food accessible. Suncatchers has donated a few community sized ovens (capable of boiling 60 gallons of water or cooking several hundred meals per day!), but more importantly, they travel between villages teaching them how to make their own! This gives them a valuable skill, which may eventually help relieve poverty. I could go on forever, but I'd like to encourage you to check them out and maybe even donate...or tell someone about it...spreading the word works wonders (feel free to post this (just link back!) on your own blog or tweet about it!) At the very least, watch the video below and see the work they are doing first hand. I know we are all focused on Haiti's struggles right now, but this could probably help them too!