Analysis: What Do New Cookstoves in Ghana and Air Conditioners in NYC Have in Common? Energy Justice.
In 2014, I started my doctorate with the intention of studying the health effects of high temperatures and different populations’ vulnerability to those effects.
But the faculty member I was going to collaborate with left my institution. It ended up being a blessing in disguise, because another faculty member offered to work with me on research that was unfamiliar to me: household air pollution in Ghana, West Africa. I cautiously agreed—and it made me the researcher I am today.
Energy access and inequality are important, contentious, and understudied issues in public health. Access to household energy is fundamental to human health: our homes need energy for everything from cooking to keeping ourselves warm during the winter and cool during the summer. But not everyone has access to health-sustaining fuel sources, creating a crisis of “energy poverty,” where lack of access to modern energy sources is driving three billion people worldwide to wood, dung, charcoal, or other solid fuels for cooking and heating.
Photo courtesy of Eric Bridiers.