Daily Archives: August 3, 2009

The greatness of Ron Rivera, potter, public health champion

Ron Rivera died almost a year ago. During his lifetime heused his pottery skill to promote public health, which, when I first read it, thought: that’s odd. Once I read it, it made perfect sense: he developed pots that were ceramic water filters.  As the NYTimes.com says:

Ron Rivera liked to call his ceramic water filters “weapons of biological mass destruction.” For 25 years he traveled to poor villages throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia teaching local potters to make what appears to be a big terra-cotta flower pot but is in fact an ingenious device for purifying water.

“You put dirty water in — gray water that many communities still drink — and it comes out crystal clear,” he told an audience last year at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in Manhattan, where his filters were included in an exhibition called “Design for the Other 90 Percent.”

Design matters. And sometimes the simplest of design matters most.

I recommend the article/obituary in the NYTimes.com. The world needs more people like Ron Rivera.