Environmental Education & Reforestation in Haiti

Archive for March, 2009

Haiti: On the Edge of Extinction!

The edge of destruction

The edge of destruction

Dear Members and Friends:

On behalf of our Board of Directors and myself, I want to thank you for your continuous support. Your assistance has helped us to continue our work for the past 19 years.

The last hurricane season was catastrophic for Haiti because the island was hit by not one, but 4 storms. The death toll and destruction of property has been the worst in centuries. My concern is that the recovery has been very slow and we are already at the end of March. Before we know it, the next hurricane season is going to be here.

Thinking about this desperate situation, my friend Gene Tinnie recently shared his opinion with me in an e-mail which I would like to share a few lines with you:

“I thought about you yesterday when I had a somewhat belated heartwrenching moment as I was waiting for an appointment and had an opportunity to see the September 2008 issue of National Geographic.

With a brief but shocking article on Haiti, where people were reduced to eating cakes made of clay. We know that poverty is not a natural situation (although it may arise temporarily from natural disasters: floods, storms, earthquakes etc).

Poverty is artificially and systematically created. Poor neighborhoods are made by conscious intent on the part of those who profit from such disparity. Material poverty, in turn engenders all the other related problems: high rates of illness and mortality, desperate competitions for resources leading to crime,etc).

The map and photograph of the island showed a parched and denuded Haiti adjacent to a green Dominican Republic on the SAME ISLAND.  How is that to be explained? Why should nature behave differently on different sides of a political border? This is the result of human, rather than natural history.

All of this, made me think of you and Operation Green Leaves. It does seem that both stories – that of Haiti’s quietly kept devastation, and that of heroic efforts like OGL-need to be told to wider audiences. I believe the answer is to do what we can, and to do it well (or not at all). Everything in Divine Time. The situation is dire and urgent, but we can take the time to be well informed so that we may inform others. I sincerely believe that the extreme poverty in Haiti is directly linked to the environmental destruction of the Island, therefore I urge the governmental agencies in Haiti, the professionals, business leaders and nongovernmental organizations to make the environmental issues in Haiti a priority. Haiti needs a National Environmental plan where all spectrum of the society is involved.”

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