Earth Week - Haiti is Dying

This week is earth week. This is the perfect time to bring up the topic of Deforestation, a sad chapter facing our homeland, Haiti Cherie.

Deforestation in Haiti - View from the Air
Deforestation in Haiti - View from the Air

*Debwazman* (Deforestation)

Read this...

"During the turn of the century, 60% of Haiti was forested. Today, only 3% of Haiti is still forested.

The Haitian people have been cutting down their trees at a rate of 30 million per year, mainly for charcoal and firewood. At this rate the county's forests will disappear by the year 2010.

Tree roots are critical for holding topsoil on the ground, but when peasants do not earn enough from their crops to feed their families, the one alternative to starvation is cutting trees, slowly burning the wood in a hole in the ground, and selling the charcoal (chabon).

There is always a market for charcoal, because it provides 71 percent of Haiti's energy.

Yet as trees are removed
- The topsoil washes away
- The land deteriorates
- The variety and quality of crops diminish
- The farmer becomes even poorer

and so he cuts even more trees for charcoal."

This is a portion of a report written by Mina Myrléne Remy (mtholyoke.edu)

Question:

  1. What should be done to resolve this issue?
  2. How do you tell a peasant whose only source of income is cutting down trees that "You Can't Do That"?

It is not an easy task but what ever it is, it must be done. If not, I doubt if my grand children, yours too, will be singing "Haiti Cherie"

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