How To Rebuild Haiti Sustainably – Green Projects You Ought To Support

Tree planting in Haiti

Tree planting in Haiti

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, devastating the capital city of Port-au-Prince, killing more than 200,000 people, and leaving an estimated 1,000,000 homeless.

The catastrophic earthquake is only the latest in a long line of problems that have afflicted the impoverished island nation. In 2008, the island was hit by three hurricanes and a tropical storm, leading to devastating flooding. Tropical storm Jeanne struck four years earlier, killing more than 3,000 people in flooding and mudslides.

Many of these mudslides and floods were caused by deforestation. Less than 2% of Haiti’s natural forest cover remains, the rest logged to pay national debts or burned to produce charcoal for the people. Deforestation has also resulted in severely degraded soil due to erosion and soil depletion, making it even harder for rural Haitians to grow enough food to feed their families, let alone earn a stable income from farming. The rural crisis in Haiti over the last few decades contributed to the devastation of the 2010 earthquake, as penniless farmers fled to cities in search of employment, often ending up in overcrowded slums built from rubble and other unsafe materials.

Efforts are currently underway to rebuild Haiti after the earthquake, and green technologies developed by non-profit innovators and social entrepreneurs offer some of the best solutions to rebuilding Haiti’s shattered infrastructure and ensuring a better future for Haiti’s people.

5 Green Projects You Should Support

us green building councilThe U.S. Green Building Council has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to help meet one of Haiti’s most immediate needs following the earthquake: safe housing for its people. The two organizations are already on the ground handing out emergency shelter kits and assisting with the removal of debris. They plan to replace destroyed homes with traditional shelters and core houses that are earthquake-safe and meet green standards.

d-labIn order to prevent additional deforestation, Haitians desperately need more sustainable sources of energy and cooking fuel. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s D-Lab is among the organizations working to provide green energy to fuel Haiti. One of its projects is charcoal made from begasse, the waste product fibers left after the juice has been extracted from sugarcane. Sugarcane charcoal is easy to make, uses a plentiful local waste product, and can help relieve pressure on Haiti’s remaining forests. It also burns more cleanly than wood charcoal, reducing respiratory problems caused by indoor use.

solar-electric-light-fundAnother energy project in Haiti is the Solar Electric Light Fund‘s partnership with Partners in Health, one of Haiti’s most respected humanitarian organizations. SELF plans to install sustainable solar electric panels on all PIH’s clinics. In the short term, this will provide a reliable source of electricity for the clinics as they provide medical care to victims of the earthquake; in the long-term, it will serve as a foundation for building a sustainable health infrastructure in Haiti.

operation-green-leavesOne of the most urgent long-term needs of Haiti is a massive reforestation effort designed to halt erosion, prevent flooding and mudslides, improve soil quality, and provide a sustainable source of income for rural Haitians. Among the organizations working for this goal is Operation Green Leaves, a tree planting and environmental education organization. Working closely with Haitian citizens in Haiti and the United States, OGL’s Trees for Life program has planted hundreds of thousands of fruit and forest trees within Haiti over the last 20 years. OGL also establishes local tree nurseries, provides environmental education, and donates kerosene stoves to local communities in an effort to relieve pressures on remaining forests.

lambi-fundThe Lambi Fund also focuses on reforestation and sustainable development projects within Haiti. Their many excellent programs include tree planting, sustainable agriculture education, education and funds for livestock farming, community cistern and irrigation infrastructure development, microcredit lending services, seed banks, and more.

Green solutions such as these will play a vital role in rebuilding Haiti after the devastating earthquake and helping it achieve a prosperous and sustainable future.

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  1. […] Partners in Health’s flagship Haiti program revolves around the Zanmi Lasante (ZL) Sociomedical Complex, which includes a 104 bed hospital, outpatient and women’s health clinics, a laboratory, a Red Cross blood bank, several schools, and more. Together with its eight other sites around Haiti, Partners in Health provides health care access and services for more than 500,000 Haiti citizens. Following the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, Partners in Health was one of the first organizations helping people on the ground in Haiti thanks to its already existing infrastructure. In the first month after the earthquake, PIH treated nearly 5,000 critically injured patients and more than 50,000 other patients. It has also shipped more than 400 tons of medicines and other medical supplies, and assisted 10,000 Haitians and their families with assistance in the form of cash, food, educational support, agricultural assistance, and more. Today, it remains deeply involved in efforts to rebuild Haiti. […]

  2. […] for Humanity has been deeply involved in efforts to rebuild Haiti following the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. Their current projects in Haiti include […]

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