More than 80% of Haitians live below the poverty line and spend up to a third of their income on charcoal. The more money spent on charcoal, the less is left for education, healthcare, and food. This high demand for charcoal also wreaks havoc on Haiti’s forests and environment.
Haiti-native Duquesne Fednard, founder of D&E Green Enterprises, has developed an alternative to many Haitians current grim reality—a more efficient stove, which uses 50% less charcoal than traditional charcoal-burning stoves.
Unfortunately, D&E Green Enterprises’ stove factory was destroyed in the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The organization needs $70,000 to rebuild their factory and get more stoves in the hands of Haitians to begin reducing charcoal use.
Although the company has built more than 33,000 stoves by hand in tents, these tents were recently damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Once the organization raises the money they can rebuild and move into full, more efficient production.
They only have less than 3 days left to raise funds, and you can support their project right now at Indiegogo.
More about charcoal-burning stoves and its effects
Burning charcoal causes indoor air pollution (IAP), which leads to respiratory diseases. It has already been estimated the average life span in Haiti is shortened by nearly 7 years because of IAP from burning biomasses like charcoal.
Since charcoal is made from trees, Haiti’s high demand for it has caused deforestation. Since 1923, tree coverage of land in Haiti has fallen from 63% to 1.5%. This rapid deforestation causes soil erosion, severe flooding, and less agricultural yields, which has pushed people out of rural areas and into overcrowded cities.
While other organizations and individuals seek alternatives to charcoal, it will take more time than Haitians and Haiti’s environment can afford. Possible future alternatives include solar cookers and gas stoves—solar, of course, being the most sustainable option.
Meanwhile, environmentalists are concerned that the trade in charcoal may extinct some tree species. Various governments have even banned charcoal trade and the burning of trees.
You can learn more about D&E Green Enterprises at their website: http://www.dandegreen.org/.
Amanda Sandlin writes about low-impact living on a budget at her blog, athriftyhippie.com. A lover of the written word and supporter of local business, she also happily serves as the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Communications Coordinator. In her free time she enjoys hiking, playing guitar, traveling and enjoying the simple things in life.