Pot in a Pot





I still have mixed feelings about No Impact Man, even now, after the class finished watching it. Throughout most of it,   I found myself annoyed with Colin – he seemed a little selfish, if not hypocritical. It’s okay to use electricity to charge your laptop and phone to blog, but not to read to your child at night? Though, I will admit he did come to some good conclusions in the end.


When they tried the so called “pot in a pot”, I became fascinated. It is a real thing, I found. It’s actually called a zeer and is largely used in rural Nigeria where the heat makes crops spoil within days. The most modern version was designed by Mohammed Bah Abba. It’s invention has allowed given farmers a longer opportunity to sell their crops, and people more options for food. It works by evaporation cooling, just like they said. Apparently similar devices were used as far back as ancient Egypt and the Mediterranean.


But why didn’t it work for them?


There’s a lot of factors… But I think first of all, there is a cool down time. It’s not clear how long they kept it, but it seemed like they only tried it for a night or so, and it requires the water to be replenished. Furthermore, it requires an environment with extremely low humidity (not exactly their NYC apartment in the summer). Apparently at 45% humidity, it will cool contents to about 8’ below room temperature. From what I read, some people speculate that how absorbent the pots are themselves could have an influence on how effective it is. The higher the temperature, and the drier it is, the better it works.


Apparently people use similar concepts during the depression and while camping, but this concept was completely new to me. I’m not sure if it would work at all in steamy Florida, but I thought it was interesting information, nonetheless!


One thought on “Pot in a Pot

  1. Yeah I found it weird that they seemed to only give it one chance in the movie and didn’t try so much to make it work. I’m sure it wasn’t just one night like they made it seem, but focus of them struggling to get it to work wasn’t shown.
    It is interesting that there conditions probably were not correct for them so it wasn’t going to work in the beginning. Very interesting!

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