As we gear up for Earth Day, it is important to not only applaud the architects and designers who work to make the world a better place, but also those who improve the lives of humans inhabiting it. We celebrate five designs changing the lives of people in need.
Luci Solar Lantern
This solar lantern debuted at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. Waterproof and designed to hold a single charge for three months, the Luci Solar Lantern helps to improve the environment and to deliver light in areas where electricity is unaffordable or inaccessible.
ColaLife was inspired by three observations: You can buy Coca-Cola almost anywhere in the world; in these same places one in nine children die before their fifth birthday from preventable causes; and child mortality rates have not changed significantly in the past 30 years. The solution? The AidPod, a package designed to fit between the necks of Coke bottles in their crate. The AidPod is filled with simple medicines to cure diarrhea and dehydration (one of the main causes of death in children). It recently won a Design of the Year award for its ingenious problem-solving design. Photo by Simon Berry and Guy Godfree.
Nigerian teacher Mohammed Bah Abba invented an inexpensive and easy Pot-in-Pot cooling device to help impoverished farmers refrigerate their perishable foods. Pot-in-Pot consists of two nesting earthenware pots, with wet sand packed in-between them and a damp cloth on top. The water contained in the sand between the pots evaporates and cools the inner container. Each Pot-in-Pot costs about $2 to make and can extend the life of food by as much as ten times longer. His design won a Rolex Award for its practicality and effectiveness.
An ultraclean burning stove designed to replace the open fires used by three billion people worldwide. It reduces smoke levels by 95 percent, and consumes 50 percent less wood than an open fire, plus reduces risk of injury or destruction caused by unattended fires. The BioLite stove also converts the fire’s thermal energy into electricity to charge electronic devices like cell phones or LED lights.
The LifeStraw, from disease control company VesterGaard Frandsen, is a water-purification straw that filters out contaminants and bacteria at a microbiological level. This simple design not only allows LifeStraw to be affordable and portable, but also purifies water at the point of consumption, which ensures the water is safe. Already distributed to four million people in Kenya, each straw can filter up to about 4,000 gallons of water, enough to supply a family of five with clean, drinking water for three years.