Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Wheel Turns - return of wood fires

Back in April I wrote a post, In memory of our old fuel stove, that was a somewhat nostalgic look back at the wood stove we used to have in the kitchen. That stove finally went in part because of age, in part because wood stoves themselves had come to be seen as environmentally unfriendly.

Now it appears that wood fires are back because of their small carbon footprint. The quantity of CO2 released by burning is apparently the same as that flowing from natural decomposition. There can still be issues in particular locations because the smoke can create local pollution problems, but it is nice to know that something I like is once again okay.

Looking back, it is remarkable how environmentally friendly my childhood now appears to have been!

We grew our own fruit and vegetables, saving on money but also transport. As kids we walked or biked everywhere. Much of the water used in cooking and to drink was tank water - the town supply was both heavily treated and very hard. The slow combustion stove provided heating, cooking and an unlimited supply of hot water.

Mind you, in all this I do remember very clearly the need to chop wood. I suppose I could say that that was a good thing too - exercise and all that. However, collecting or chopping wood on a cold frosty morning with frost everywhere can hardly be described as fun.

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