Fires, Fuel & the Fate of 3 Billion: State of the Energy Impoverished
Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 4:00pm

Fires, Fuel & the Fate of 3 Billion: State of the Energy Impoverished

Lecture by Gautam N. Yadama, Boston College


Date: Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Time: 4:00 PM-6:00 PM 

Location: Smith Memorial Student Union Rm 296 (1825 SW Broadway)

Free and Open to Public!



This talk will explore the complex nexus of energy, poverty, ecology, environment, gender inequality, and technology in the world’s developing communities, focused primarily on India. Energy poverty is a complex story. It is a story of household poverty, and within it are lives of women constrained by culture, of children — especially girls — sacrificed to meet daily household energy needs. It is a story of unsustainable lives, unsustainable environment, and negative ecosystem outcomes. Unpacking this Gordian knot to understand how several billion remain energy impoverished is not an easy undertaking, but we stand to gain insight into possible energy interventions that could prove effective and truly sustainable. These insights could be useful in designing technologies and interventions to tackle clean and efficient energy access to the many, providing efficient and clean energy in sufficient quantity at a low cost, effective and useful over a long period. This is the energy challenge of our times.


 Gautam N. Yadama is Professor and the Dean of Boston College School of
Social Work, Boston College. His research is focused on understanding poverty and environment dynamics, and interventions to address the attendant social, economic, environment, and health outcomes. His research in China, funded by Kaufman Foundation, is directed at understanding the way rural communities in China engage in collective action and collaborate with the state in the supply and maintenance of quasi public goods such as rural schools, health clinics, sanitation, and rural infrastructure. In India, he has implemented a randomized control trial to study the sustainability of new and efficient energy technologies in rural communities to reduce household air pollution and improve health and wellbeing of women and children.

His book – Fires, Fuel & the Fate of 3 Billion: State of the Energy Impoverished (Oxford University Press) outlines an argument for transdisciplinary research to tackle complex problems such as household air pollution that reside at the intersections of poverty, environment, and health. He is a member of the Implementation Science Network on Clean Cooking (ISN) at the Fogarty Institute of the National Institutes of Health, USA. With support from ISN, he is conducting a social network analysis and community based system dynamics to explore how interventions to reduce pollution are adopted and sustained by the
poor in rural India. Yadama is a commissioner on the recently released Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health.
The aim of the Commission is to reduce air, soil, and water pollution by communicating the extraordinary health and economic costs of pollution globally, providing actionable solutions to policy-makers and dispelling the myth of pollution’s inevitability. He has collaborated with George Soros’ Open Society Foundation in training several cohorts (1999-2014) of young social policy and social work professionals from Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, and the Republic of Georgia.


Sponsored by the Institute for Asian Studies & the Portland State School of Social Work 

For more information, contact:
The PSU Institute for Asian Studies
Tel. 503-725-8576