[If you would like to volunteer for this effort, please drop me an email at nika dot boyce at gmail dot com and I will get you into our PermaCorp volunteer database and keep you up to date]
Like you, I have been simply swept away by the brutal earthquake that has subsumed Haiti into a hell that gets worse by the day.
I have been mostly learning about it via CNN and on twitter. I have been pouring over the satellite images of the destruction as seen in Google Earth.
As I write, Reuters says that more than 200,000 people have died and as of this evening, they have buried 40,000 dead. MANY more bodies lay in the streets and under endless tons of ruined buildings.
Thank goodness for twitter and the permaculture people I have gotten to know there because that is the only thing that is keeping me from feeling utterly lost in desolation over this apocalypse.
He posted several links to projects already either training Permaculture First Responders or projects on the ground in Haiti and other disaster struck places.
I have been wondering how I might be able to help nurture this idea here, tucked away in my small part of the world without actually going to Haiti myself.
I have been chatting with Cory at Permaculture.org and am happy to share this link that is very constructive in terms of the next steps.
From that site you will see:
Some of the projects which permaculturists can design and implement are:
Building sewage systems, composting toilets, compost and recyclying centers, rocket and solar stoves, temporary shelters (perma-yurts), water catchment and filtering, and plant nurseries.
Rocket and solar stoves are key because the major ecological problem in Haiti which causes huge hardships from many angles is deforestation for fuel. Solar stoves use no wood and rocket stoves, which can be made out of old cans and pipes laying around, use almost no fuel and can cook with twigs.
Correct diversion of sewage, human waste, and water can substantially contribute to rebuilding farm land in the area – the idea is to create the conditions for long term self-sufficiency and abundance with even our short term handlings.
Permanent, low cost, earthquake resistant natural buildings, water storage, earth works, renewable energy, permaculture food forests, broad-scale reforestation, farms, aquaculture systems, and community buildings such as schools and health centers.
We are currently working via a worldwide network of permaculturists to bring resources to Haiti, and several permaculturists are interested in traveling to Haiti to help with the rescue and relief efforts, but need funding to do so. We are in contact with disaster handlers in the area who they can coordinate with for maximum effectiveness. There is a permaculture project existing in Haiti that we are working to connect with as well. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me – I am also willing to meet with potential funders to answer questions personally.
If you want to donate now, please use the “Haiti Donations – Donate” Paypal button on the right hand side of this web page. For past projects we’ve funded, please see the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation article under “Projects.” We will use initial funding to get people there on the ground and most needed resources such as equipment for building the short term items needed. Whenever possible, we use existing resources in the area that are free or very inexpensive – permaculture is very effective at getting the maximum return for energy invested, so you will know your money is going to a good cause.
I know that the idea of surviving this disaster is like a miracle and then the idea of Haiti being able to climb up from a place so dark seems too distant to contemplate.
To this end, I have been graphing out what the needs would be over time for people living through such overwhelming disasters.
I think its extremely important to do this now and for Haitians, now, because these same ideas and strategies will be needed again and again as climate change progresses.
In the graphic above, I try to illustrate the needs of a person immediately after surviving a catastrophe (earthquake, fire, flood, etc). The needs are pretty basic but inelastic in their being absolutely needed.
Once the person is out of immediate danger and is left standing with nothing, no assets, nothing but other survivors around them, they need to find a way to rebuild, regenerate, and boost their resilience so that they become embedded in a community that provides current and future needs.
In this next graphic, I extend on the specific needs outlined in the second graphic with permaculture and no/lo-carbon and low cost strategies for coping and rebuilding.
Please take some time and explore these graphics and tell me what you think, whats missing? What would you add?
Please consider becoming involved in helping the Haitians, using permaculture or by other means, as where the Haitians are right now, that hell, could easily be ours, any of us.
We are, in many ways, their community.
We are each other’s community and it is through us banding together that we build resilience in every place.