I’m just working on a piece from Haiti that describes the work of Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL).
This is important at the DOHA COP 18 is ongoing and while experience says otherwise perhaps something will come of the COP. One thing I have noticed is that there is a lot of so called “Climate” funding going to academics for measuring and computer modeling. With continuous monitoring you can get endless numbers. This can be important for monitoring and evaluation. But we should never forget, the carbon is not in the numbers it is in the SOIL.
We should consider if funds aren’t more necessary to provide jobs, sanitation, dignity, equality and actual carbon sequestration in places like Haiti.
We don’t have theoretical climate changes. We have physical disruptions to Earth Systems. Mitigation and adaptation to climate change requires physically restoring organic matter in soil, biomass in vegetation cover and protecting biodiversity.
Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) is acting with courage, grace and dignity by empowering the local people of Haiti with knowledge and opportunity to solve their own problems. What the good people working with SOIL in Haiti are illustrating is that there is a huge workforce ready to mitigate and adapt to climate change and that doing this is the same work needed to end the poverty and misery they currently endure.
I’ve always wondered why Haiti was so poor. On this trip I began to understand what has happened. In 1804 Haiti won its independence when the people rejected slavery, rebelled against the French and took over in a revolution. Then the French demanded that the Haitians pay reparations for their “Lost Property”. This was 10′s of millions of dollars then and would be the equivalent of more than 20 billion dollars today. It took over 100 years but the Haitians actually paid for their freedom.
The colonial powers feared that following the Haitian example all over the world colonies and slaves would demand their freedom and independence. This is exactly what happened. But by then the world had come to understand that you can’t own human beings and no other former colony was expected to pay their oppressors. Seen from this perspective the trouble Haiti has seen seems much more understandable and the work of SOIL and the people of HAITI is magnificent.
Perhaps we need to focus our view away from the big international conferences and more on the work of ordinary people who are really the ones required to mitigate and adapt to climate change. What the negotiators need to do is to support them with funding so that they can do the job.