Conversations with the Living: The Haitian AIDS Crisis

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Posts Tagged ‘deforestation

Rebuilding Haiti – an environmental plan

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There was an interesting interview/article in the Huffington Post recently. While the environmental devastation in Haiti is old, but no less tragic, news, it is always interesting to hear how different groups intend on rebuilding the country’s deforested and soil-depleted countryside. According to the article

Haiti is famous around the world primarily for its problems, one being advanced ecological destruction. However, as with its other problems, citizens — with international friends and the occasional help of the government — are working to turn this around and create a healthy environment.

Aldrin Calixte tells of the social, economic, and political causes of the environmental crisis and what is being done to create a different future. One of Haiti’s principal environmental advocates, Aldrin is an agronomist who specializes in natural resource management. He is also Executive Secretary of Haiti Survie [Haiti Survive], an organization which ties broad awareness-raising with citizen action. Haiti Survie believes that the struggle to defend the environment should be an active part of the life of every human being. For more information, see


Written by conversationswiththeliving

October 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Face The Facts

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It’s been 5 long months since January 12th and the situation in Haiti is as muddled as ever. Millions of people are still homeless, a potentially damaging hurricane season has descended on the country, the Haitian government is showing zero leadership even in the face of international pressure, and aid is still not being distributed at a rate that is satisfactory to anyone.

 The world news outlets are picking up on the frustration of the Haitian people and new hot button topics are popping up; with food sovereignty and the rebuilding of Haiti’s agriculture being the latest issue for all the experts to argue over.

Of course there’s still the issue of (re)building a solid infrastructure that includes well constructed roads and highways, designing a capable public health care system that can fight diseases prevalent in Haiti like HIV/AIDS, forming a competitive public education system, cleaning up a systematically corrupt government, boosting the economy by leveraging our natural resources and eradicating Haitians’ dependence on exported goods, and finally finding peace among the conflicting religous groups.

The fact is today we are no further along to solving these issues in Haiti than we were 5 months ago, five years ago, or 200 years ago , for that matter. Haitians will have to deal with much more hardship and suffering before the light at the end of the tunnel cracks the skyline. And that’s just the facts.

Gede Greg C.

UN Partners With Haitian Farmers To Grow Trees And Country

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The UN Inernational Organization for Migration (IMO) and Haitian farmers have joined forces to combat the crippling effects of widespread deforestation across the country. With 98 percent of country’s forests cleared, it’s paramount for Haiti and the world community to build up the country’s agriculture system in order to inject some life in the country’s dismal economy while, at the same time, offering disenfranchised citizens a small measure of self sufficiency.   Add to that the fact that rebuilding the forests would help stave off potential damage incurred during hurricane season, the importance of these efforts becomes magnified.

UN Partners With Haitian Farmers To Grow Trees And Country

Gede Greg C.

From Copenhagen to Haiti: Climate change and poverty

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After months of seemingly endless reminders, prophecies, and pontifications, the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen opened today in a cold European country. And so starts the great dog and pony show of powerful industrial countries pledging to lower their emissions by a smidgen and the less powerful countries applauding with their hands, while kicking each other under the table. Even more disturbing is the cynical manipulation of the environmental movement in the name of neoliberal competitiveness. (There’s a reason countries like the U.S., China, Russia, and India refuse to drastically lower their emissions. Lower emissions equates to lower industrial output which means… You get the pictures.)

However, amid all the posturing and back-patting stood Leah Wickham, a young woman from Fiji, as she presented a petition signed by 10 million people asking all of the professional politicians visiting Copenhagen to remember small countries like hers. She addressed the audience with more sincerity than all of the world leaders combined. In her words:

“We need a deal that is fair to the poorest people and nations, nations that have had little or nothing to do with the issue, but that will be affected the most.”

I also forgot to mention more wisdom because she hit the nail on the head.

Ultimately, when the lower-emissions-chess-game ends and everyone returns to their countries, it will be the world’s poor suffering the most. Haiti is a perfect example of that with its 98% deforestation, arid landscape, constant flooding, relentless mudslides (thanks to the deforestation), and shortage of food.

But there’s more. As a country, Haiti has so little expendable money (blame corruption, blame embargos, blame past regimes, blame the US – the reality is still the same) that she has the infrastructure of a broken dream. The roads are horrendous when there are roads. Potable water is non-existent for the rich and poor. And here’s the kicker – without enough gas and electricity to go around, the only fuel available to everyday Haitians to cook their meals is charcoal derived from chopping down trees, of which there are fewer and fewer. Needless to say, charcoal isn’t the cleanest of energies.

And that brings us back to Copenhagen.

Climate change can never be fully addressed until poverty is history. For people struggling to survive, self-preservation trumps shrinking polar caps by miles. The sad thing is – paying heed to the environment would probably save them from other miseries.

Climate change and poverty. A vicious cycle.

– Marc L.

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