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Low tech, high impact

We have been talking a lot about the Young Green Champions Award lately here at Roots & Shoots (the closing date for nominations is fast approaching!) and just how impressive last year’s winning project to grow your own clothes was. Roots & Shoots member Queen Elizabeth II High School were keen to reduce the amount of energy used and pollution caused by making clothes and transporting them far round the world to feed our desire for cheap clothing. So, they developed a way to grow their own environmentally degradable clothing using just a few cheap ingredients (read all about it here).

This got me thinking – what other ideas are there out there which are cheap, low tech and having a high impact on people’s quality of life? A few minutes googling soon turned into an hour, and then another as I found more and more great ideas that are already making a difference across the world. Here are two of my favourites:

The Wonderbag

WonderbagOK, this didn’t take too much googling as I have one of these myself! It was received as a present, and when I first saw it I thought it must be some kind of beanbag. On closer inspection it turned out that yes it was a beanbag, but a very special one. The Wonderbag is a low tech slow cooker – first heat up your food in the normal way then, instead of having to leave it on the hob or in the oven, you place it in the bag which keeps it hot and keeps it cooking. This saves fuel and compared to normal cooking over an open fire creates far less pollution (pollution from indoor cooking fires kills millions of people each year).

The Plastic Bottle Light

What do you do with old 1 litre plastic bottles (the sort that fizzy drinks and bottled water come in)? Amazing though it sounds, in some parts of the world they are being used as light bulbs! A clear plastic bottle filled with filtered water and a little bleach (to stop mold) can bring light into dark houses allowing people to work and learn indoors in places without the need for electricity. As the video below shows, this really is remarkable.

That’s just a couple of great ideas we’ve seen, there are lots more of them out there. What’s the best low tech, high impact idea you can find? Let us know below!

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