In response to an article posted on the Eden Reforestation Project’s Facebook page, I wrote a few things down.
Facebook page for Eden Reforestation Project:
Article they mentioned:
Any approach to reforesting Haiti must address the primitive cooking methods used by the people. I was there after the 2010 earthquake, and was amazed to see the charcoal vendors on the side of the road, along with everyone else selling everything from barbecued chicken to cellphones. The people are very bright, intelligent, happy and clean. I suppose those things surprised me because I expected a nation suffering from a natural disaster and the worst poverty in the Western Hemisphere to be bunch of squalid beggars in the street or something. You just never know such stuff until you go there and see it in person.
I admit I was terribly ignorant and had some horrible preconceived notions about what it would be like. The folks we worshiped with on Sunday were much better dressed than we were and they were genuine towards us even though I’m sure they’ve seen lots of Americans come and go with little impact on their country or standard of living. Not that we Americans have anything great mind you, with all our material wealth, many are in more “Poverty” of spiritual condition here in the US than in Haiti!
All I’m saying is Haiti’s problems are many, but all are exacerbated by the deforestation. The root causes of the deforestation must be addressed if they are to succeed. The DR conquered the problem in the 1960’s by a massive effort to convert all cooking (and heating?) to gas (LPNG?). For that to happen, you gotta have money to import the gas. What I proposed was something even simpler than that, the solar stoves are great, but you could supply the people with “fuel neutral” stoves that burn anything: gasoline, kerosene, alcohol, etc… Those types of stoves could come in very handy.
You can build an industry to make ethanol. If you can produce any type of vegetable material, then you can make ethanol, or butyl as they do in Brazil. At one time they produced enough sugar in Haiti to supply 70% of the world’s demand! If they could do that again, they could certainly make enough fuel to provide cooking fuel for the entire island’s population!
But you gotta turn forest into profit as well, if it’s to be sustaining. You need partners like: Singing Rooster
who already have contacts on the island in the Coffee industry. These farmers are desperate to expand and help rebuild their island’s infrastructure.
The “Maquiladora” industry in Haiti is a failure, a flop, due to the fact they have lots of very low paying jobs that attract folks to the city, but only about 1/4 get jobs every day and then they are so low paying, they have little to help support their families who are in the other towns and cities trying to grow food.
They wind up attracting more and more folks to the main city (Port Au Prince) in search of those low-paying jobs and free food supplied by relief agencies. If you supply free food – where is the incentive to farm? Haiti’s agricultural production has plummeted in the past 30 years! That is CRIMINAL! The UN has been managing their “Fate” and has bungled the job – COMPLETELY! It’s time for those in the Church to step up and show them how it’s done!