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About Us

The Cloud Appreciation Society

Our society was launched in 2005 by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, Member 0001, to bring together people who love the sky.

We have members in 120 countries around the world, all united in the belief that clouds are the most dynamic, evocative and poetic aspect of nature. Read our manifesto to see what we stand for.

Gavin Pretor-Pinney (Member 0001)

Our Organisation

We decided from an early stage not to make the Cloud Appreciation Society a non-profit. We believe an organisation is most sustainable when it works as a business. When an organisation becomes preoccupied with applying for grants and raising donations just to survive they can easily become distracted from their original aim. In our case, this aim is to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of our atmosphere.

We believe that the important thing is what you do with your profits…

In 2018, we’re helping to harvest fog

We are donating 5% of all the membership fees we gather throughout 2018 to the Canadian non-profit FogQuest to support a drinking water project in the highlands of Guatemala. The project uses the simple but effective technology of ’fog harvesting’ to collect the abundant mountain fog of the region as fresh water for the local communities.

Based in British Colombia, Canada, FogQuest is run by retired cloud physicist Dr Bob Schemenauer. Bob’s team is a world leader in installing ‘fog harvesting systems’, and has been working with the highland communities around Tojquia, Guatemala since 2006.

Gathering fresh water from fog is nothing new. Plants have been doing it for hundreds of thousands of years, using fine structures on their leaves to snag the minuscule fog droplets and gather them into larger drops that they can drink. Fine mesh structures in the nets do exactly that same thing. In the right climate, and positioned so that upland fog blows through them, fog nets can collect sizeable quantities of fresh water which never would have fallen as rain.

35 large nets have already been installed through FogQuest by the communities of Tojquia, who live at 3300m above sea level. In total, these are collecting an average 6,300 litres (1,650 gallons) of water per day through the cold and very dry winter months. The region is not suitable for wells, and so before their installation water had to be carried by foot over considerable distances usually by the women and children.

FogQuest is a small, all-volunteer charity that spends at least 90% of donations directly on fog-water projects in developing countries. The money we’re giving them in 2018 will buy the nets, pipes and other equipment to add five new large fog collectors serving new families in the area. These will increase the nets in the scheme to 40, collecting an average of 7,200 litres (1,900 gallons) of fresh water a day in the dry winters – all without the need to consume energy.

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FogQuest Guatemala
FogQuest helps the communities in Guatemala’s Cuchumatanes Mountains with equipment, training and expertise to turn fog into drinking water.
The technology couldn't be simpler: a net, a frame and some pipework. In the foggy winter months, each net gathers 180 litres (48 gallons) of fresh water a day.
There’s plenty of rain in the summer, but winters in Tojquia, Guatemala are very cold, very dry and very foggy.
Fog droplets gather on the mesh and dribble down into the collector at the base of the nets to gather as fresh drinking water. Simple as that.