Nearly half of the world’s population cooks and heats their home on an open fire indoors with poor to no ventilation. The resulting Household Air Pollution (HAP) is responsible for over 4.3 million deaths per year, ranking it the #1 environmental hazard by the World Health Organization.
The Himalayan Stove Project, founded in 2011 by George Basch, resolves this problem and saves lives by substituting stone-age fires inside the home with clean burning, fuel efficient cookstoves. At this time, HSP has distributed 4,100 stoves and has helped an estimated 40,000 Nepalis in sensitive, remote areas.The obstacles to deliver stoves in the Himalaya region are particularly challenging; villages and settlements have no vehicle access and can only be reached on foot or by helicopter. In addition, the country was devastated by the 2015 earthquake and has not yet recovered. In spite of this, George has persisted unrelentingly as a “one man band,” and for this incredible effort has earned the 2017 Explorers Club Citation of Merit¹, the eChievement Award, and other notable recognitions.
My work with the Himalayan Stove Project involved traveling to Kathmandu and the Khumbu region to document HSP’s extensive work using 360 Video and Photo technology, as well as traditional media. I spent 34 days with HSP’s key individuals, traveling to some of the most remote distribution locations. As part of my ongoing contribution, I submit to HSP’s website in the form of Field Reports that document the trip and my observations. In addition, I am producing a virtual reality / 360 experience that demonstrates the challenges of reaching these villages, the conditions of residents in these regions, and the impact that the stoves are making.
¹The Citation of Merit is awarded annually “in recognition of an outstanding feat of exploration or services rendered to the Club.” Previous recipients include the 1963 American Mount Everest Team, the Apollo F-1 Engine Search and Recovery Team, James Edwin Webb, and many others.
Imagine a person that has been paralyzed their entire life scuba diving in caves, or a patient with Cerebral Palsy sailing a yacht, or a 93 year old ice climbing – or watching anyone do anything. With Virtual Reality and 360 video, all of it is possible.
I founded World in 360 in December of 2015 when I first got my hands on the Ricoh Theta S 360 camera. After putting on a Virtual Reality headset, I immediately realized the potential of letting people with physical, mental, or other limitations experience the world just like anyone else. Since then I have been using 360 Camera Technology to record adventures and bring VR headsets to hospitals, orphanages, inpatient care centers, etc. to let people who never thought they could walk ride bicycles, climb mountains, and even fly!
Now, I am partnered with the Himalayan Stove Project and using 360 Video Technology, we are going to take you with us. You will be able to hike the trails, visit the historic monasteries and temples, drink refreshments in tea houses and enter the homes of the residents who have had the Himalayan Stove Project’s stoves change their lives. And in the end, you’ll get to experience what it is like to hike to Mt. Everest Base Camp, the start of the climb to the tallest mountain on earth.
To draw attention to the program, I worked with 360 images to create stunning new perspectives possible thanks to this new technology.