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The Final Word On Haiti (Bicycles, Batteries and Generators…Oh My)

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The Final Word On Haiti (Bicycles, Batteries and Generators…Oh My)

Ok, I lied, it’s not the final word on Haiti, not that I could have that word anyway. After last week’s post, I had a few other thoughts (and a few things to add) and thought I’d shoot them out here. I only titled this post The Final Word, because after this I’ll head back to my original mission, straight up posts about environmental solutions, ideas and queries that I come across in my travels. Having said that, my trip to Haiti is still burned in my memory and I doubt I will stop thinking about what I can do to help for a long time, if ever.

A lot of people posted up about population as being one of Haiti’s biggest problems and there’s no denying that. It’s not only Haiti’s problem but the planet’s biggest dilemma. If there were only 10 people on earth we could bathe in oil, run Hummers all day long just to play the radio, and burn trees down with reckless abandon, and it would effect our ability to continue life as we know it very little. But there aren’t ten of us, there are billions, and while I don’t think we’ve reached it yet (although I don’t know), we will someday hit the point where we are just too many for this little ball, we will hit the point where the resources on the planet cannot sustain us, not only for the long run, but for the short run as well. I should point out that I believe there are still enough resources for all of us, but not for all of us to live the way the average American does.

Having said all that, I don’t think it’s as much the main problem as I do believe it’s emblematic of a larger problem. Gender inequality, education, poverty, health care–all these and more lead to overpopulation and in order to stem the tide, all need to be addressed, in Haiti and around the world. Fix healthcare and infant mortality will drop. Infant mortality drops and there is not the need to have more children so a few will survive. Educate woman and offer them alternatives and they will not be forced into situations they do not want, but will have choices. There’s a better discussion of it here than I can give, but I just thought I’d throw the idea out there as I’m not ignoring the size of the population, just don’t think it’s the problem as much as it is a symptom of a much larger group of problems.

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Dave Chameides

Dave Chameides is a filmmaker and environmental educator. His website and newsletter are designed to inspire thought and dialogue on environmental solutions and revolve around the idea that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. "Give people the facts, and they'll choose to do the right thing."

65 comments

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8:23AM PDT on Apr 2, 2010

cool and innovative... I like it and why not?

10:12AM PDT on Mar 30, 2010

I was always worried about overpopulation since 2003, that what about if we're too many and there's just not enough to eat. Hope that doesn't happen everywhere.

10:08AM PDT on Mar 30, 2010

I hope there's progress and solutions - permanent and life changing.

11:20PM PDT on Mar 21, 2010

Hey I really like your thoughts and suggestions for electricity that how can generate electricity.I have also watched that video.People should also consider your suggestions and techniques regarding electricity.In Haiti they can also use solar powered equipments as this will be easy and convenient.

dean graziosi

1:24AM PDT on Mar 20, 2010

thanks for post

3:39PM PDT on Mar 15, 2010

I like that this writer is thinking up new ideas or old ones renewed. We need more that are willing to think creatively to solve all of the worlds problems!

6:41PM PDT on Mar 14, 2010

Wind up radios date back to WWII. Home Depot still sells them for use during hurricanes/power loss. My brother had a generator bicycle light over 40 years ago. I do not see why the technology could not be used in other ways.

8:40PM PST on Mar 13, 2010

A great use of "appropriate technology" - that which can be built, maintained, and operated in the intended area without having to import parts or expertise.

7:02PM PST on Mar 13, 2010

One of the many, many sad things about the earthquake in Haiti was the death of one of the senior staff from the Solar Electric Light Fund. SELF has been doing wonderful work in Haiti (and in other places) with Partners in Health by providing solar electricity for their clinics. I hope SELF will recover quickly from that loss and be able to help Haiti rebuild.

7:05AM PST on Mar 12, 2010

excellent, in Africa it has been done very similarly, in Santo Domingo I have seen it on some bikes....! In India I have seen it as well...! but for Haiti it is very approachable and could possibly work, even Americans should consider that somewhat innovative idea, but then again, will they accept to do the work....! I doubt it for the most part.

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I hope they survive and aare healthy. We are hoping for panda babies in the UK shortly.

Thank you. My rest is outside with my dog.

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