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A before-and-after snapshot shows the incredible impact of clean cookstoves.

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Gates Foundation: The Story of Food

Cooking dinner usually results in, well, dinner.  But for too many people, it can have a devastating side effect.

For the 3 billion people in developing countries who cook their meals over an open fire, dinner preparation can be a silent killer (and I don't mean from boring table talk).

In fact, it's one of the biggest — and least known — killers of women and kids around the world.


Image via Ed Brambley/Flickr (cropped).

Over 4 million people die every year from inhaling the toxic pollution from unsafe stoves.

Can you imagine?

Having to cook over an open fire — burning dung, coal, and wood for fuel — is comparable to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. Not to mention how dangerous it is to live around an open flame every day. Clumsy or not, that's a recipe for burns — or worse.

Luckily, some innovative folks created a cookstove that's pretty incredible. It's saving the lives of moms and kids — and creating jobs.

Image via Esther Havens/The Adventure Project, used with permission.

These charcoal-efficient cookstoves, currently making the rounds in Kenya, are drastically reducing smoke from cooking fires and cutting in half the amount of charcoal needed.

They come from the folks at The Adventure Project, and the impact they've made so far is quite mind-blowing. You don't have to just take my word for it, you can see it for yourself:

Image via Esther Havens/The Adventure Project, used with permission.

The benefits of using charcoal-efficient stoves extend way beyond the food they help to prepare.

According to the group, every stove saves a family 20% of their daily expenses because they use 50% less charcoal per day. And it helps save them time too. In Kenya, the average woman can spend up to 30 hours a week just collecting firewood. But that's not necessary with a clean cookstove.

When Mary bought a stove, it meant her kids could finally go to school.

Image via Esther Havens/The Adventure Project, used with permission.

She no longer has to spend so much money on firewood, and now she's able to send her kids to get an education.

"I am using more money for school fees and buying house goods like food," she told The Adventure Project. "Although the school fees are quite an amount, I can pay them and save money. Every month I spent 1000 on firewood but now I only spend 400 shillings so I can save 600 shillings."

In less than two years, 17,876 charcoal-efficient stoves have been sold in Kenya.

According to The Adventure Project, these stoves have helped more than 89,000 people and saved over 107,000 trees from being cut down.

In other words, they're working.

And perhaps the best part is that The Adventure Project doesn't just give the stoves away. Their model is meant to last.

The organization invests in training people in Kenya, like this stove entrepreneur named Josephat, to make the stoves and sell them at an affordable price to their neighbors. And they make sure everyone is able to afford a stove, even the extremely poor, through low-interest loans. It creates sustainable local business.

Image via Esther Havens/The Adventure Project, used with permission.

Safe and reliable access to energy for cooking is a basic need.

And when you move past the top-line data points and measurements of a cookstove's immediate impact, you can't forget the human element it brings: Progress like this can help families bond and grow closer. Mary can attest to that.

"If they inhaled the smoke they would have very bad coughing and I feared for their health," she recalled. "Now, with the coal stove I can cook comfortably in the kitchen, my husband can finally sit in the kitchen with me and talk to me."

Image via Esther Havens/The Adventure Project, used with permission.

Our global food system is transforming for good — and we're only just beginning. The Adventure Project is just one group out there focused on clean cookstoves and taking small sustainable steps toward a better world.

Helping kids grow healthier, local economies succeed, and families lift themselves out of poverty ... all because of a stove? It's very much happening.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

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Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.

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Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

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Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

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The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

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