I love the idea of frugal innovation. The Furlong household are not consumers. We repair, make do and I, on purpose, wear second-hand clothes to reduce the impact on the planet for resources. I have heard of people who buy new shoes only every second year, for the same reason.
Does that sound silly? Maybe, but it’s better than mindless consumerism.
So frugal innovation is the idea that we can – and should – innovate with the idea of simplicity and flexibility, with the least environmental impact.
To explain, Professor Jaideep Prabhu, co-author of Frugal Innovation: How to do Better with Less published in 2015, points to a small clay box in the corner of his office. “It’s an ingenious invention! It consumes no electricity, is 100% biodegradable and produces zero waste.” The MittiCool fridge is the brainchild of Mansukh Prajapati, a potter by trade. Water in an upper chamber of the clay box seeps through the walls of a lower chamber, cooling it through evaporation. In a country where 500 million people live without reliable electricity, Prajapati realised that his clay fridge could provide huge health benefits by keeping food cool without the need for electricity and at an affordable price; he trained a local workforce and started mass production. Forbes magazine has since named him among the most influential rural Indian entrepreneurs. Link
Link Indian news report video
I like the idea of a clay fridge! It reminds me of simple things we had when I was a child – canvas bags that we hung on car front bumpers that gave the most delicious chilled drink of water on long hot African journeys – like the “Safe” mounted on a tray of charcoal and water in the kitchen with netting sides that kept food cool, protected from flies. Like storing cool water in a clay jar. Like cooking in a Hay Box.
That show me, there IS life in simple things, despite the myth that we’ve got to have the latest, most modern inventions to be happy.