The abject poverty in Haiti isn't a matter of economics. More than anything, it's a matter of the environment.
Haitians are trapped in a vicious cycle. Desperately poor people strip the land of its trees to use for cooking fuel. With no trees to hold the soil in place, rains wash away the unprotected soil destroying farmland, leaving poor people even poorer.
Deforestation and erosion has washed away the rural farmlands and driven hundreds of thousands of people into Port au Prince which is overwhelmed by poverty, disease and overpopulation.
The main culprit is the black market charcoal industry. Haiti's addiction to charcoal as cooking fuel is literally killing the land.
The main source of revenue in the countryside is cutting trees to make charcoal — a practice that consumes trees much more quickly than they regenerate.
This dependence on charcoal has cost the country its forests, washed away it's soil, and set the table for mud slides and floods that killed thousands and seen hundreds of thousands more lose everything. It created an exodus into Port au Prince where crime and disease are rampant and 250,000 people died in the 2010 earthquake.
Only 2% to 3% of the once lushly forested country still has tree cover and horrific, deadly mud slides are common whenever it rains.
The only trees left to cut for charcoal are not much bigger than broomsticks. They are cut before they can produce fruit, or hold the soil.
The trees are cut because all the jobs in agriculture are gone and those former farm workers have nothing else to sell.
THERE ARE SOLUTIONS !!!
With your help we hope to help pull Haiti and other emerging countries out of this predicament by planting trees such as mango that are too valuable for their fruit to be destroyed, and offering green alternatives to charcoal as a cooking fuel.
VIABLE ALTERNATIVES TO CHARCOAL
There are alternatives to charcoal. Green alternatives that will stop deforestation and create jobs to replace those eliminated in the black market charcoal industry.
#1 GREEN BIOMASS Cooking Briquettes
Biomass briquettes, mostly made of green field waste and other organic materials , are commonly used for electricity generation and cooking fuel.
These compressed compounds contain organic materials, such as rice husk, coconut husk, bagasse, ground nut shells and agricultural waste. The composition of the briquettes varies by area according to the availability of local raw materials.
The raw materials are gathered and compressed under pressure into briquettes.
Our plan is to introduce briquette and fuel pellet presses into the rural areas to start creating jobs in the green energy field while eliminating Haiti's most destructive environmental problem (deforestation) at the same time.
Green briquettes and fuel pellets are different from charcoal because they do not have large concentrations of carbon or added materials.
Compared to fossil fuels, the briquettes produce very low net total greenhouse gas emissions.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic are in no short supply of palm trees and coconuts. After harvesting the meat of the coconut, the ground is littered with the husks, the locals long believing them to be useless waste.
These once discarded husks can be turned into a profit center. Coconut husks are well suited for bio briquettes. They burn incredibly efficiently and leave little residue, making them a perfect source for green cooking fuel in developing countries.
#2 SOLAR OVENS
Cost Efficient and Environmentally Friendly
For a third of the planet, a hot meal means cooking over an open fire. Living on less than $1/day, a woman caring for her household often chooses between buying firewood/charcoal or going without a hot meal.
Solar cookers, solar ovens, and solar grills cook and pasteurize water with free, zero-emission solar energy. So, women and children breathe cleaner air as their food is cooked. Released from the danger and drudgery of gathering wood, women and children have more time and money for their education, preparing goods for market, caring for family members--or simply resting. When zero-emission, free solar energy replaces wood, charcoal, or fossil fuels for our cooking and water pasteurization, our planet remains a beautiful place to live--and stays cooler.
Solar Ovens use mirrors to reflect and focus the sun's energy into the insulated oven chamber where temperatures can reach 400°F in direct sunlight. By using insulating materials, the sun ovens can capture and retain heat very well, allowing them to reach over 300°F on cloudy days. Solar ovens are portable, light weight, can withstand wear and tear, and are easily transported and set up in minutes virtually anywhere.
As a result of the high temperatures reached by the sun oven, it can be used to cook virtually anything.
We are planning to show the viability of solar cooking with demonstrations and sponsoring solar oven baking contests with small cash prizes to increase the popularity and exposure of the solar oven as a viable alternative to charcoal.
We have to show the rural population a better cooking fuel option than charcoal or wood as fuel. With proper demonstration, the people should soon embrace the quality of the food a solar oven can produce.
Our plan is to help start local businesses assembling solar ovens rather than simply importing them from the USA. We need to jump start economic development and help create jobs to replace those we will eliminate in the black market charcoal industry.
SOLAR OVENS AND GREEN BRIQUETTES
Both solar ovens and biomass cooking briquettes need to be promoted in the rural areas we operate and elsewhere. Once we demonstrate the advantages of these simple green alternatives we can start to change the habits of the locals.
The use of wood charcoal is part of the native culture, we need to educate the populace about alternatives. The people don’t know much, if anything about the biomass briquettes, as there is no place to see first hand production and/or use of biomass briquettes or solar ovens.
We believe that we can introduce these simple green alternatives to third world countries still using wood as cooking fuel and put an end to the needless deforestation caused by the black market charcoal industry. We must act now , there's no time to waste.
Please help us stop needless Deforestation