We need practical solutions to solve practical problems we are facing as humankind

We need practical solutions to solve practical problems we are facing as mankind

By December Ndhlovu


It was during the COP-17 civil society side events in 2011 when I learned about the possible impacts of climate and global warming. By then it was still very much disputed. A mere nine years later climate change and global warming was scorned in some arenas. We today find ourselves wanting by the devastating impacts of climate like drought, excessive and torrential rains, floods and many more. Climate change, because it alters the usual weather patterns, is likely to hatch new diseases, pandemics, epidemics and outbreaks, etc.

Currently the world is ravaged by the Coronavirus known as COVID-19 pandemic outbreak which started late 2019 (November) and has already killed thousands of people, maybe even over a million might have already died with only five months duration. The COVID-19 lockdown has in many ways helped to bring forth the realization of urgent issues that need urgent attention like the water shortage challenge, food insecurity and the non-reliability of our health care systems. The COVID-19 lockdown taught us that we need practical solutions to our practical problems. We need lifesaving, value adding and precedent-setting interventions like home gardening, good composting skills, water and rainwater harvesting, trusted medicinal and health care systems and development of sustainable energy supply.

My favourite one in this regard is charcoal. Charcoal is an amazing product because of its multi-use functions.

Charcoal can be used for:

Charcoal is easy to make it does not require expensive material, one only needs wood, big and small drums and a chimney. Instead of the metal drums one can also explore other methods that can be used to burn wood to charcoal.

  • Energy

This is the most common use of charcoal, to make fire. People buy charcoal to make braais etc.


  • Profit making

Charcoal can be sold for profit.

  • Biochar

Biochar are the small particles and dust residue when making charcoal. It can be used to improve and enhance the processes of a compost in terms of time and maximum temperature for maximum quality and content.

  • Charcoal cooler

Charcoal can be used to create a “natural fridge” which can be used to store food and other items that needs refrigeration. This is a handy tool for those that cannot afford to buy refrigerators and the poor that cannot keep with the ever-increasing price of electricity.

  • To heat water

Biochar helps to improve the temperature of a compost which can be used to heat water instant of using a geyser that requires electricity to function. Compost heap can be used to provide warm water instant of the expensive electricity.


  • Medicinal use

Activated charcoal can be used for many medicinal purposes. Activated charcoal has been used for centuries by our ancestors in addressing different health related issues.

  • Socio-economics advantages of charcoal
  • Can be used as a household product for cleaning purposes
  • Charcoal can be used as a beauty product (face masks)
  • Charcoal can be used for hygiene-related applications (toothpaste and anti-dandruff)

The sustainability of a good healthy garden depends entirely on the nutrients the soil can offer to the crops. Meaning that one needs enough water and good natural compost.


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