Category Archives: Haiti


Haiti: A char briquette entrepreneur’s perspective

“Our approach is not to disrupt traditions.  If people don’t want to change from charcoal, then as an outsider you won’t be able to convince them.  As a cheaper, “drop-in” replacement for traditional charcoal, green charcoal is an elegant compromise,” says Haiti-based social entrepreneur, Eric Sorensen

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Photo essay: Of Haiti, charcoal, and energy poverty

We’ve focused before on Haiti‘s complete dependence on charcoal as a primary fuel and the impact this has had on the country’s environment.

The UK newspaper The Guardian recently ran a slideshow of powerful photos depicting aspects of the country’s charcoal trade.

The images are a profound reminder of the link between poverty, energy needs, and the environment.

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Haiti’s charcoal crisis comes into focus, but is anyone listening?

(Reporter William Wheeler writes about Haiti’s addiction to biomass in the most recent issue of Good Magazine)

Elizabeth Sipple, an agronomist who recently took a post as the director of International Lifeline Fund’s Haiti program, is working to wean Haiti off a lethal addiction: wood and charcoal, which supply the majority of Haiti’s energy needs.

The main source of revenue in the countryside is cutting trees for firewood and charcoal production—part of a hugely inefficient wood habit that consumes trees much more quickly than they can regenerate.

This dependency has cost the country its forests, sapped its fertility, and set the stage for an increasing series of natural disasters, including—by driving migration into the congested, anarchically-constructed capital—the human impact of the earthquake that killed roughly a quarter of a million people.

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Relieving Haiti’s homefuel crisis through ethanol

Most people in the United States, Europe, or Brazil think of ethanol as a heavily subsidized corn- or sugar-based liquid biofuel that is often mixed with gasoline to power so-called “flex-fuel” vehicles.

But for the 3 billion people who depend on wood, charcoal, or animal dung for their household cooking or heating, ethanol means … … Well, ummm, actually, the word “ethanol” probably doesn’t mean all that much.

One plucky non-profit is hoping to change this by making locally and sustainably produced ethanol an attractive homefuel alternative to solid biomass fuels for the world’s 3 billion energy poor

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Haiti’s fragile ecosystems facing disaster

  (CNN) — While the eyes of the world have followed the effect of Haiti’s devastating earthquake on Port-au-Prince, an ecological disaster has been quietly unfolding elsewhere in the country. The mountainous forests of Haiti’s Massif de la Hotte region have more critically endangered species than anywhere else on earth, according to Alliance for Zero Extinction, a global initiative of 52 conservation organizations. The area has 42 mammals, birds, reptiles, plants and amphibians on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Globally Threatened Species. More importantly, 13 species of frog on the verge of extinction live … Continue reading

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