With over 2,000 ONIL stoves installed, Tui'k Ruch' Lew works to provide energy efficient stoves to families still cooking over an open fire. Using 70% less wood than a traditional open fire, families save time and money, protect their loved ones from the dangerous effects of wood smoke, and save one commercial firewood tree per month.
Our latest project, Brighter Futures, works to provide families with savings as well as reduce environmental impact by replacing incandescent light bulbs in the Lake Atitlán region with LED bulbs. LED light bulbs last approximately 12 times longer than incandescent bulbs and energy costs are about 1/8th as high, reducing CO2 emissions and improving family economies.
In 2017 Tui'k Ruch' Lew began its second project, providing British Berkefeld water filters to Santiago Atitlan and surrounding communities. Due to increased contamination from agriculture, sewage seepage and general waste, untreated water from Lake Atitlan is now unsafe to drink.In towns where the water is chlorinated, many people refuse to use it for cooking and resort to boiling untreated lake water -- requiring more firewood to burn to sterilize it. Our solution also helps to eliminate plastic bag and bottle refuse from purchases of treated water.
TRL is currently seeking funds to finance a pilot project to bring sustainable, at-the-source, sanitation to Santiago Atitlan in the form of toilets connected to biogas digesters. Our goals are to install improved sanitation, reduce contamination of the environment, and reduce poverty through biogas bi-products.
Biogas Digesters Connected to Toilets
Biogas Digesters Connected to Toilets
Tuik Ruch Lew’s mission is to implement sustainable solutions to the environmental, health, and development challenges which threaten the livelihood of the Maya people living in the Lake Atitlán Basin.
The Maya people experience the negative impacts of powerful economic forces on their natural resources, racial discrimination and disrespect of indigenous knowledge on a daily basis. As a grassroots organization, our intention is to accept financial support only from entities not participating in these practices.
Tropical forests are a natural solution to the climate crisis. Forests capture about 30% of the planet's Carbon Dioxide emissions. Activities that keep trees in the ground and avoid additional emissions are key to address rising carbon levels in the atmosphere. By replacing open cooking fires around Lake Atitlán with ONIL stoves, TRL is reducing demand for firewood, thus generating net emission reductions. Over the next 7 years, TRL's ICS project will avoid an estimated 12,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
From 2001 to 2018, the Sololá Department where TRL works saw a 3.1% decrease in tree cover. Population growth and inefficient wood use in the region has led to an annual deficit of approximately 53,000 cubic meters of trees used for firewood. We work to mitigate this issue not only by installing ONIL stoves, which cut wood use back by approximately 70%, but by educating beneficiaries on current ecological threats to the Lake Atitlán basin, empowering community members to lead efforts to build a more sustainable and environmentally sound future.
TRL's environmental solutions enable beneficiary savings. According to the manufacturer, HELPS International, families who use the ONIL stove gain the equivalent of two days a week in time if they collect their firewood or $300 per year if they buy their firewood. This amounts to $3,000 over the average 10 year life of the stove. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with LEDs lowers monthly energy bills further improving family economies. This allows them the freedom and the economic ability to dedicate themselves to other endeavors.
There are approximately 3 billion people who lack access to clean-cooking solutions and are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution according to UN. Particulates and harmful gases that solid fuels emit when burned cause exposure levels that can reach 10-20 times above safe limits. Replacing open fires with ONIL stoves leads to a 99% reduction in household air pollution. This leads to a dramatic drop in respiratory infections, eye issues, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, especially among women, children, and the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable to these issues.
Unpaid work, including collecting fuel and cooking, remains a major cause of gender inequality throughout the world. This is compounded by the fact that fumes from three-stone hearths lead to health problems which cost money and time. ONIL stoves offer a simple and effective way to save money, time, and health costs, which lead to more opportunities for women with our stoves.
Safe Drinking Water
Lake Atitlán is threatened by wastewater disposal, deforestation, erosion, demographic pressure, and lack of environmental awareness, policies, strategies, and actions. While the population of the Lake Atitlán region traditionally drank water directly from the lake, this is no longer a healthy or feasible option. We offer water filters that provide residents of the Lake Atitlán region with a healthier alternative that is affordable and simple to use.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELPOMENT GOALS
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the 17 objectives set by the UN in 2015 that address global challenges related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation and more. Each goal is broken down into multiple targets to guide governments, businesses, civil society and the general public to work together to achieve each SDG by 2030. Check out our SDG Spotlight to read more about each goal, their respective targets, and the ways in which each of us can support progress towards a brighter future for all.