Category Archives: Prepara

It’s official: The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is going to be bad

A hurricane is the last thing the country needs right now as tens of millions of Americans stay at home to protect themselves from COVID-19. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Atlantic hurricane forecast, published Thursday, shows an abnormally active season in the coming months.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which officially starts June 1 and ends November 30 but for the past six years has been arriving early like an overeager dinner guest, typically produces 12 named storms. This year, NOAA is forecasting between 13 and 19 named storms, six to 10 of which could become hurricanes (compared to the average six). Three to six of those hurricanes could develop into major hurricanes — category 3, 4, or 5 storms with winds of 111 miles per hour or higher. The average season sees three major hurricanes.

According to the forecast, there’s a 60 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season, a 30 percent chance of an average season, and just a measly 10 percent chance of a below-normal season. Prior forecasts unaffiliated with NOAA predict a similarly damaging Atlantic hurricane season ahead. One forecaster said it could be one of the most active seasons on record.

This year is shaping up to be a doozy in large part because an El Niño, which suppresses storms in the Atlantic, is not likely to form this year. Signs point to either neutral conditions or El Niño’s opposite, La Niña — a weather pattern that blows warm water into the Atlantic, creating conditions for more hurricanes. Warmer ocean surface temperatures observed in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Carribean Sea, NOAA’s report notes, also contribute to the likelihood of a busy season.

“NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year,” Neil Jacobs, acting NOAA administrator, said in a statement. Already, the season’s first named storm, Arthur, came and went — brushing up against North Carolina before it churned back out into the Atlantic.

That doesn’t bode well for a nation under lockdown. The Federal Emergency Management Administration, which has been running point on the federal coronavirus response, is already stretched thin. Add a few major hurricanes to the mix and the federal agency might be completely overwhelmed. FEMA is “just not built to handle anything like this,” Robert Verchick, a Loyola University law professor, told Mother Jones earlier this month.

Whether FEMA is prepared or not, the agency is taking the hurricane forecast as an opportunity to remind people to make their own preparations. “Social distancing and other CDC guidance to keep you safe from COVID-19 may impact the disaster preparedness plan you had in place, including what is in your go-kit, evacuation routes, shelters and more,” said FEMA’s acting deputy administrator for resilience, Carlos Castillo, in a statement. “With tornado season at its peak, hurricane season around the corner, and flooding, earthquakes and wildfires a risk year-round, it is time to revise and adjust your emergency plan now.”


It’s official: The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is going to be bad

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Green Preparations for the Coronavirus


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Green Preparations for the Coronavirus

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Greta Thunberg: We need a ‘concrete plan’ for climate action, not nice words

This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Unprecedented pressure exerted by young activists will push world leaders to address the unfolding climate crisis, even with a recalcitrant U.S. under Donald Trump, Greta Thunberg told the Guardian.

Thunberg, the teenager whose school climate strikes have ignited a global youth-led movement, said that her journey to New York on a solar-powered yacht was symbolic of the lengths young people will take to confront the climate crisis.

She said: “It’s insane that a 16-year-old has to cross the Atlantic in order to take a stand, but that’s how it is. It feels like we are at a breaking point. Leaders know that more eyes on them, much more pressure is on them, that they have to do something, they have to come up with some sort of solution. I want a concrete plan, not just nice words.”

Thunberg’s vessel emerged from the mist of an unseasonably drizzly day to be met by a throng of supporters and media at a marina near the southern tip of Manhattan on Wednesday. Her arrival was heralded by a flotilla of 17 sailboats, charted by the U.N., that intercepted her vessel near the Statue of Liberty.

Supporters chanted “welcome Greta” as the Swedish teenager stepped off the yacht, shook some outstretched hands and said that it felt like the ground was shaking beneath her feet.

Thunberg told the Guardian: “It’s so overwhelming. I’ve gone from nothing but me and the ocean to this.”

Despite the adulation from the crowds, Thunberg said she didn’t relish being cast as the global figurehead of the climate movement.

She said: “My role is to be one of many, many activists who are pushing for climate action. I don’t see myself as a leader, or icon, or the face of a movement.”


Greta Thunberg: We need a ‘concrete plan’ for climate action, not nice words

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Why Hurricane Dorian is so unpredictable

Hurricane Dorian has been — quite literally — all over the map. The powerful storm is expected to barrel into Florida and parts of Georgia this weekend, potentially as a Category 4 hurricane. If so, it will be the strongest hurricane to hit the East Coast in nearly 30 years. But the storm has been a tricky forecast from the start, and its final destination remains a mystery.

Back in the good old days when Dorian was still categorized as a tropical storm (i.e., Tuesday), there were a lot of worries that the weather system would directly hit Puerto Rico, where people are still recovering from the destruction wreaked by 2017’s Hurricane Maria. On Wednesday, the National Weather Service upgraded Dorian to a Category 1 hurricane, prompting residents of the U.S. territory to rush grocery stores and gas stations to stock up on supplies. But for all that bracing, the storm ultimately ended up just grazing the island and its neighboring U.S. territory the American Virgin Islands.

Hurricanes are, by nature, unpredictable. But experts say Dorian, which has gathered strength relatively quickly over the past few days, has been especially hard to predict. “The National Hurricane Center still doesn’t have high confidence on the hurricane’s track several days out,” Corene J. Matyas, a professor who studies tropical climatology at the University of Florida, told Grist. “Dorian is not following a typical track of a storm in its location.”

A lot of the uncertainty is because the storm is predicted to make a left turn, but the timing and angle of that shift will be determined by its interaction with a high-pressure ridge forecast to build near the storm, Matyas said. “We have to accurately predict this feature to be able to predict Dorian, and the ridge functions differently than the hurricane.”

According to Brian Tang, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Albany, it’s unlikely weather models will have enough information to predict the storm’s path and strength accurately until Saturday. And even then, Tang emphasized we won’t truly know what’s going to happen: “We do not know where Dorian might make landfall in Florida, and whether Dorian hits the brakes before it gets to Florida, over Florida, or after crossing Florida.”

In the meantime, Florida (and parts of Georgia’s coast) are on high alert. As of Friday afternoon, the whole state remains in the storm’s “cone of uncertainty.” (Though the name sounds delightful, it basically refers to the probable track of the center of a tropical cyclone.) On Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all of the state’s 67 counties, citing the storm’s “uncertain path.”

If Dorian does indeed make landfall on the East Coast, it would be in rare company: It could become the strongest storm to hit the state’s east coast since Hurricane Andrew (a Category 5) in 1992, as meteorologist Philip Klotzbach noted. Once it hits the mainland, Dorian is expected to slowly move inland, where its pace could prolong communities’ exposure to unrelenting winds and rain.

Tang says that’s one reason Florida residents need to be preparing now, even if they’re not within the storm’s cone of uncertainty: “They should make sure they have a hurricane plan and supplies […] and they should follow the advice of public officials, police, and emergency management, especially if they are told to evacuate.”


Why Hurricane Dorian is so unpredictable

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5 ways Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Tropical Storm Dorian skirted Puerto Rico’s western corner on Wednesday, before heading north towards Florida, where it is expected to develop into a Category 3 hurricane. While the storm spared Puerto Rico of much damage, it raised attention to how the island is still in recovery mode — and ill-equipped for another natural disaster.

Hurricane Irma struck Puerto Rico in early September 2017. Two weeks later, on September 20, Hurricane Maria made landfall in the municipality of Yabucoa. When the debris settled, almost 3,000 people were dead, thousands more were displaced, and the island’s already aging infrastructure was severely weakened. The island’s antiquated power grid, which had been neglected for years, took an especially hard blow. Immediately after the storm, at least 1.5 million people were left without electricity, some for almost a year, casting the island into the longest blackout in U.S. history.

Efforts to rebuild the island have been slow, stymied by a mixture of colonial exploitation, government bureaucracy, partisan politics, civil unrest, and a president who’d rather blame Puerto Rico for inconveniencing him with another hurricane rather than providing actual leadership.

Making things even more volatile, just last month, former Governor Ricardo Rosselló stepped down following massive protests that called for his resignation. An unelected fiscal control board continues to run the island’s finances, implementing severe austerity measures in an effort to pay back the island’s roughly $70 billion debt.

As Puerto Ricans prepare themselves for another hurricane season, under shifting local leadership and in a world with increasingly unstable weather, here are five numbers that highlight just how vulnerable Hurricane Maria left the island:

$139 billion in damages

That’s how much former Governor Ricardo Rosselló estimated it would cost, in a report he filed to congress last August, for the island to fully recover from Hurricane Maria and Irma’s destruction. The former governor sought money from the federal government as well as foundations, other nonprofits, and Puerto Rico’s general budget to help cover this hefty cost. The federal government allocated not even half of that, only $42.6 billion, for rebuilding efforts, according to federal data. And Puerto Rico has received only $13.8 billion so far.

30,000 blue tarps

According to Rosselló’s report, approximately 90 percent of the island’s nearly 1.23 million households asked for relief and housing assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency immediately after Hurricane Maria. Seventy-eight percent of those households experienced damage to their home’s structure. FEMA provided blue tarps to residents whose roofs had been torn off by the storm, and today, the tarps are still widely visible on the island. Around 30,000 households still take shelter under these tarps instead of permanent roofs, AP reporter Danica Coto told PBS Newshour this week.

470,000 fewer people

While Puerto Rico’s population was declining long before Hurricane Maria made landfall, the storm accelerated an exodus of people moving off the island, many to the United States mainland. According to a report by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, between the time right before the storms to the end of this year, Puerto Rico may lose more than 470,000 residents, or 14 percent of its total population. This depopulation has severe impacts on the island’s economy, causing a shortage of school-aged children, an aging population, as well as a loss of the island’s most educated people in a phenomenon known as “brain drain.” According to Roselló’s report, this continuing loss has “added to the stress on [Puerto Rico’s] economy and created a shortage of professional workers in many sectors.”

2.4 million trees needed

It is estimated that Hurricane Maria and Irma damaged anywhere between 20-40 million trees, causing serious environmental harm. In his recovery plan, Rosselló said at least 2.4 million trees needed to be replanted throughout the island to undo many of these negative impacts, including landslides which he said had increased by the “tens of thousands,” as well as serious threats to ecosystems. According to a 2018 report by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the damage to Puerto Rico’s forests had far-reaching effects:

Trees stabilize soil on slopes with their roots. The loss of trees, plus the accumulation of downed branches, can contribute to landslides, debris flows, and increased erosion. Those problems can, in turn, lead to poor water quality in streams and rivers where excess sediments build up.

24% of communities with poor communication

During Hurricane Maria, many people couldn’t call 911 because both cell and landline services weren’t working, and they couldn’t be reached by family members on the mainland who were trying to help. As of last June, 24 percent of municipalities on the island reported that half or less of their community still did not have cell phone or landline coverage. As of this week, according to the New York Times, “the government has not purchased the technology that would allow a 911 dispatcher to pinpoint a caller’s location, and has not replaced the dozens of dispatchers who have quit and left the island since 2017, according to Aramis Cruz, president of the local union.”

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5 ways Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria

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Poll: Democrats are getting worried about climate change. Republicans? Not so much.

Climate change is scoring some major points with Democrats — polling points, that is. That’s according to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center that found the growing, year-round effects of our warming planet have not gone unnoticed by the members of at least one of the two major U.S. political parties compared to even six years ago.

Since 2013, the portion of Democrats who consider climate change a “major threat” has risen by 26 percentage points — a whopping 84 percent of Democrats surveyed this year are worried about it. That increase was even bigger among people who identify as liberal Democrats — 94 percent consider rising temperatures a major threat to the nation now, up 30 points from 2013.

Meanwhile, across the aisle, Republican opinions on the matter remain relatively unchanged. A little more than a quarter of GOPers consider climate change a major threat. Between 2013 and 2019, the share of conservative Republicans who consider climate change a major threat has risen only a few percentage points, an uptick Pew called “not statistically significant.”

There is one spot of good news: a different survey conducted by Amsterdam-based polling group Glocalities shows concern about the effect of human behavior on the environment is rising among young Republicans. Sixty-seven percent of Republican voters aged 18 to 34 are worried about the damage humans cause the planet, up 18 percent since 2014.*

But despite some movement among young Republicans on this issue, the Pew poll shows that climate change remains incredibly divisive. The concern gap between the two parties on climate is wide even when compared to other politically charged issues. Democrats and Republicans have more common ground when discussing the threat posed by Russia’s power and influence — one of the most divisive issues of the 2016 presidential election.

That may be because GOP leaders have remained impressively steadfast in their opposition to virtually any kind of climate action since the early ‘90s. The party that produced much of America’s environmental conservation policy throughout the 20th century has since stood by President Trump as he has worked to dismantle the building blocks of that legacy. It’s no wonder a measly 27 percent of Republicans are worried about climate change — unless you happen to live in Florida, there is little daylight between party leadership and base on this issue.

Conversely, as rank-and-file Democrats grow increasingly preoccupied with rising temperatures, their party leaders are still clapping on the one and the three. The Democratic establishment is only now fumbling to set up some kind of comprehensive response to the crisis, thanks in no small part to pointed encouragement from a certain freshman representative from New York. But despite Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez et al.’s efforts, the Democratic National Committee just voted not to hold a climate-themed debate. It’s not the first time the party has ignored the outspoken opinions of much of its progressive base: Last year, the same committee decided to reject donations from fossil fuel companies, only to reverse its decision a couple months later.

As usual, the GOP has succeeded in keeping its base in line. If Democratic leaders are out of step with their army, maybe it’s time they adjusted their messaging to match the scale of the crisis.

*This post has been updated to include the survey from Glocalities, published Thursday.

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Poll: Democrats are getting worried about climate change. Republicans? Not so much.

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‘Another hurricane?’ How climate disasters can give us compassion fatigue

Hurricane season is just getting started, and some U.S. politicians (cough cough TRUMP cough cough) already seem to be suffering from climate-related compassion fatigue.

In response to the news that then-Tropical Storm Dorian (now a Category 1 hurricane) was on its way toward Puerto Rico, President Trump seemed to blame the U.S. territory — or at least the weather gods — for the island’s repeated weather-related woes.

“Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico. Will it ever end?” Trump tweeted on Monday. He went on to lament a falsely inflated federal price tag associated with recovery from Hurricane Maria, which hit the island as a Category 4 storm in 2017. “Congress approved 92 Billion Dollars for Puerto Rico last year, an all-time record of its kind for ‘anywhere.’” (Just to set the record straight, Congress has allocated only about $42 billion to Maria recovery — and only about $14 billion of the money has reached the island so far.)

Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to hit the island on Wednesday, is also giving Puerto Ricans a sense déjà vu. But in contrast to the mainland’s mild attitude of annoyance at the repeat event, the idea of another storm hitting the island is ramping up local concerns. Puerto Rico’s newly minted governor Wanda Vazquez declared a state of emergency as the island is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. “Puerto Ricans on the island have a serious case of PTSD,” Timmy Boyle, the spokesman for environmental justice group ACASE, told Grist. “Right now, there are long lines in gas stations and empty shelves at supermarkets, especially with water.”

Hurricane Maria was the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, that killed almost 3,000 people. Some residents are still living under blue tarps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is pulling a whopping $271 million in funding from FEMA disaster relief to pay for immigration detention space and temporary hearing locations for asylum-seekers on the southern border

The scientific consensus is that climate change will contribute to more frequent extreme weather events — be they hurricanes in the Caribbean, heatwaves in Europe, or flooding in Bangladesh. On a global scale, these events showcase how climate change is becoming an ever-increasing problem. Serialized emergencies increase a place’s vulnerability to climate change by inflicting new stress before infrastructure or morale have fully recovered from the last tragedy. Yet those outside affected zones can start to unconsciously dismiss repeated disasters as simply “the new normal.”

Compassion fatigue is a phenomenon wherein people withdraw after long periods of taking on others’ emotional burdens. As a person becomes overexposed to bad news, they can become more indifferent toward that type of suffering. And according to some experts, the opposite effect — heightened climate anxiety — can be just as paralyzing. In a 2017 Atlantic article, journalist Julie Beck argued that climate anxiety can cause people to turn inward, focusing on their own emotional state versus the plight of others.

“We make the assumption that if people are aware of how urgent and frightening and scary these issues are, then people will automatically translate that into ‘Oh my gosh, what kind of actions can I take?’” Renee Lertzman, a psychologist who studies climate-change communication told Beck. “That’s just simply not the case.”

That lack of empathy, whether it’s a result of compassion fatigue, crippling climate anxiety, or just being kind of a jerk, is bad enough when it’s coming from your fellow Americans. But as Puerto Ricans know, it’s worse when it’s directed at you from the commander in chief. “Trump shows no compassion for us,” said Jessica Montero Negrón, a community leader in the rural municipality of Utuado, speaking in her native Spanish. “People here are really scared.”

The solution, at least for locals, is to err on the side of being safe rather than sorry and fight harder for resources when it comes to future storms. On CNN, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz — who has a history of sparring with Trump — said, “It seems like some people have learned the lessons of the past or are willing to say that they didn’t do right by us the first time and they are trying to do their best. That is not the case with the president of the United States.”

“We are not going to be concerned by, frankly, his behavior, his lack of understanding, and it is ludicrous. So get out of the way, President Trump, and let people who can do the job get the job done.”

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‘Another hurricane?’ How climate disasters can give us compassion fatigue

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Trump drops attempts to add census citizenship question. Here’s why that’s a climate win.

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Trump drops attempts to add census citizenship question. Here’s why that’s a climate win.

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Trump drops attempt to add census citizenship question. Here’s why that’s a climate win.

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Cook With the Sun: Solar Oven Recipes

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Sweltering summer temperatures can be a serious drag, but here at Earth911, we try to look at the glass half-full. An unseasonably warm summer may lead us to crank our air conditioners more than usual, but it can also hold the secret to energy-free cooking. We’ve put together five solar oven recipes to help you kick start your solar oven cooking.

You may be familiar with solar ovens from whipping up s’mores other camping treats, but you can actually use these sun-powered wonders to cook just about anything — without using a single kilowatt-hour of electricity. Check out these five tasty recipes for a solar oven, and take advantage of summer heat by cooking with the power of the sun.

Solar ovens consist of a system of reflectors and a cooking pot. The rest is up to your imagination! Once you have assembled or purchased your solar oven, you can use it to prepare hot meals in the backyard, at a campground or wherever your heart desires — even a sunny beach. Photo: Flickr/EBKauai

Choosing & Using Your Solar Oven

Basically, a solar oven consists of a system of reflectors and a cooking pot. The setup coverts the sun’s rays into heat energy to bake, boil, or steam your next meal. In a solar oven, you can cook anything that you can cook in a conventional electric or gas oven and many meals that you can cook on the stove.

As an added bonus, heading outside to use a solar oven makes cooking your meals a fun-filled event for the whole family. The young (and young-at-heart) will love watching lunch slowly cook under the sun’s rays, and your meals will be even tastier after you’ve had to work a little for them. Solar ovens are also easily portable, meaning you can cook a hot meal at the beach, park, campground, or wherever your heart desires.

If you’re the DIY type, you can easily make your own solar oven out of items like cardboard, a thermometer, foil, glass, and black spray paint. Use these step-by-step instructions from Instructables, or check out this how-to video from aysproject to build your oven.

You can also opt for a store-bought solar oven. As you may expect, purchased models will cost a bit more than DIY alternatives, but they tend to heat up faster and reach higher temperatures. If you’d rather purchase a ready-made oven, check out the GoSun Sport or the Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven.

No matter which model you choose, the cooking method for your solar oven remains about the same. Start by placing your oven in direct sunlight, and allow the internal temperature to reach at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit before placing your meal inside.

Think cooking with the sun takes all day? Think again. If you refocus the oven to follow the sun’s rays every 30 minutes, your cooking time will be similar to cooking with a conventional oven or stove. You can also use a solar oven for recipes you’d use in a slow cooker (like a Crock-Pot). If your cooking pot does not have a lid, you may want to create some sort of makeshift cover to keep heat from escaping the pot, which can greatly increase cooking time.

Keep in mind that browning is unlikely in a solar oven due to lower temperatures and lack of air circulation. On the bright side, this means that you don’t have to worry about your food getting dried out or burned. On the not-so-bright side, you probably won’t achieve the crispiness or caramelization you could expect from a conventional oven. So, choose your recipes accordingly to avoid surprises.

As for the best solar cooking vessel, a dark, thin-walled pot with a lid works best, according to Solar Cookers International. Dark pots change the sun’s rays into heat energy, while shiny aluminum pots cause light to be reflected outward, reducing the oven’s temperature. Glass casserole dishes with lids will also do the trick.

5 Solar Oven Recipes

Photo flickr/Megan

1. Mediterranean Flatbread Recipe

What you’ll need:

1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Six pieces of flatbread
3/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups arugula, roughly chopped

For hummus:

1 can chickpeas, ½ cup liquid set aside
1/4 cup tahini
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

How to make it:

1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, and thyme. Salt and pepper to taste. Set your vinaigrette in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

2. Meanwhile, start preparing your hummus spread. Add chickpeas, reserved chickpea liquid, tahini, salt, pepper, and garlic to a food processor or blender. Pulse lightly while drizzling in olive oil until smooth, about two minutes.

3. Arrange your flatbread pieces in the bottom of a large metal casserole dish with a lid. Spread about 2 tablespoons of hummus on each flatbread piece. Top with Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese.

4. Cover the casserole dish with a lid, and place it in a pre-heated solar oven for about 20 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted.

5. Top with a small handful of arugula and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette before serving.

Solar cooking tips:

This simple preparation is ideal for your sun-powered oven. As is usually the case with solar cooking, it’s best to eyeball it or use a thermometer rather than sticking to a designated cooking time. This recipe should take 20 to 30 minutes in your solar oven, but cooking time will vary based on outdoor temperatures and sun exposure.

For best results, allow your solar oven to heat up to at least 250 degrees Fahrenheit before putting your flatbread inside. Check on your meal regularly, and remove it once the cheese is fully melted.

Keep in mind that your flatbread pieces will be warm and tasty, but you’ll have a hard time making them crispy in a solar oven. If you crave a crispy texture, brush your flatbread pieces with olive oil, and sear them in a cast-iron skillet on your stove for about a minute on each side before putting them in your solar oven.

Photo Flickr/Alan Levine

2. Whole Bean Enchiladas Recipe

What you’ll need:

16-ounce can of whole black beans
16-ounce can of sweet corn (or two cups of fresh corn)
3/4 cup of red onion, diced
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
16-ounce can of enchilada prepared sauce
Six whole wheat or corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine black beans, corn, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Allow your mixture to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour before cooking.

2. When you’re ready to cook, retrieve your filling from the refrigerator, and add half of the enchilada sauce. Stir to combine.

3. Scoop your filling into a tortilla, about six tablespoons at a time. Roll up the tortilla and place it into a medium-sized glass casserole dish with a lid. Repeat until you’ve filled all six tortillas.

4. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top, and cover with cheese. Cover the casserole dish with a lid and place it in your solar oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the filling is warmed through.

Solar cooking tips:

The one-pot nature of this tasty vegetarian recipe makes it perfect for solar oven cooking. For best results, cover your enchiladas with a lid before putting them in the solar oven. Place your oven in direct sunlight, and refocus as needed to keep it out of the shadows.

Ideally, allow your solar oven to heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit before putting your enchiladas inside. If using a DIY model, allow your unit to get as hot as possible (probably between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit) before you start cooking.

To make sure your meal comes out right, keep an eye on your enchiladas and take note when the cheese begins melting. When you suspect they may be finished, use a fork to gauge done-ness. Your tortillas should be soft, the cheese should be fully melted, and the filling should be heated through.

Although it may be tempting, avoid lifting the lid on your casserole dish too often; allowing heat to escape your cooking vessel will increase baking time.

Photo by via

3. Slow-Cooker Lentil Soup Recipe via The Daily Meal

What you’ll need:

2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dry lentils
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
8 cups canned chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth for a vegan treat)
4 ounces Canadian-style bacon (optional)

How to make it: View full instructions and tips at The Daily Meal.

Solar cooking tips:

Slow-cooker recipes work wonderfully in solar ovens. To set-it-and-forget-it, simply position your oven in a clear area of the yard, place covered soup inside and allow it to cook all day. Your soup should be ready for dinnertime in about six hours using this method (the same as a standard Crock-Pot).

For a slightly speedier meal, refocus your solar oven throughout the day to follow the sun’s rays, which should shave at least an hour off your cooking time.

Photo Flickr/Ben Millett

4. Rockin’ Ratatouille Recipe

What you’ll need:

1 cup eggplant, chopped
1 cup zucchini or summer squash, chopped
1 cup red or green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup tomato, chopped
1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
8-ounce can of no-salt-added tomato puree
Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

1. Combine eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cumin, and tomato puree in a large metal or glass pot. Salt and pepper to taste.

2. Cover and cook in your solar oven for 4 to 5 hours, or until vegetables are tender. For faster cooking, refocus your solar oven to follow the sun around your yard, which should shave at least an hour off your cooking time. Serve alone or with cooked brown rice, mashed potatoes, or quinoa.

Solar cooking tips:

Packed with vitamin-rich veggies like eggplant and zucchini, ratatouille carries troves of obvious health benefits. But it’s also a perfect energy-free entree that couldn’t be simpler to whip up in your solar oven.

For a fresh-from-the-farmer’s-market flavor, cook your ratatouille over medium-low heat (between 200 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit). Any hotter could cause vegetables to lose their crunch, and tomato sauce may begin to brown around the edges.

To maintain consistent internal temperature, refocus your solar oven to follow the sun’s rays, and avoid lifting the lid of your pot too often. It’s fine to stir your ratatouille occasionally, but removing the lid too frequently can increase cooking time.

If you plan to leave your solar oven unattended while slow cooking, you may want to place it on a table or weigh down the lid to dissuade curious critters.

Photo courtesy of Cooking Light via thedailymeal

5. Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas, & Olives Recipe via The Daily Meal

What you’ll need:

5 1/2 cups of cauliflower florets
10 green Spanish olives, halved and pitted
8 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley

How to make it: View full instructions and tips at The Daily Meal.

Solar cooking tips:

Rather than racking up your energy usage to prepare this tasty roasted cauliflower recipe from The Daily Meal, pop it in a solar oven to shrink your footprint (and your monthly electric bill).

This recipe takes about 20 minutes when prepared in a conventional oven heated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. So, expect it to take about an hour in your solar oven. Refocusing the oven every 30 minutes to follow the sun’s rays will help you cut cooking time for an even speedier snack.

Since you’d like a bit of a crunch to your cauliflower, opt for a dark-colored metal roasting pan with a lid. Dark colors draw in heat, and metal creates that sizzly effect that leaves your meal with a crisp-tender consistency.

What are your favorite recipes for cooking in your solar oven? Share them with the community in the Earthling Forum.

Feature image courtesy of Erik Burton

Editor’s note: Originally published on January 23, 2016, this article was updated in July 2019. Pictured foods are not actual prepared recipes but rather representations of main ingredients.


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Cook With the Sun: Solar Oven Recipes

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