September 2013 Newsletter: Join SOIL in Combatting Climate Change with Compost
September has been a month of sweltering days, cool rains, and non-stop activity at SOIL. We have been busy running mobile toilets at festivals, constructing our new office, holding workshops, and, as always, transforming poop into beautiful soil.
While we usually look at our work in the short term, we have been reflecting this month on how sustainable sanitation and soil rehabilitation will affect Haiti’s resiliance to natural disasters. Did you know that the application of compost is one of the most effective ways to combat climate change? Compost increases soil’s ability to hold carbon, helping to balance the huge carbon emissions from industry that contribute to climate change.
When the winds blow in and rain clouds form on the horizon, people in Haiti begin rushing home. Only a few market vendors stay open, hoping to sell their last vegetables before the storm. The city buses – Tap Taps – become filled to capacity as people hurry to meet up with their families or run one last errand. Cool breezes are often welcomed, but people know to worry about what might happen. Widespread deforestation and poor infrastructure has left Haiti extremely vulnerable to extreme weather events. Even small tropical storms have the potential to cause life-threating floods. And many Haitians expect the situation to get worse with global warming as rising ocean temperatures have the potential to increase the frequency and force of Caribbean hurricanes.
To face these anxieties head on, SOIL has begun to focus more and more on supporting the long-term reconstruction of Haiti’s fragile ecosystems and reducing the risk of future natural disasters. We need your help supporting this critical effort.
This month we have two requests for you. The first one is easy: SOIL was recently selected as a finalist in a Nature Conservancy / RARE contest recognizing promising efforts to help vulnerable communities reduce environmental risk and adapt to climate change. Now it is up to you to help us through this final step of the contest. There are ten finalists, two of whom will be voted winners by public support. This month we ask all of our friends and supporters to take a moment to make your own vote and encourage at least five friends to vote as well. With your support we can increase SOIL’s chances of winning the $20,000 prize and help raise awareness about the power of soil to reverse climate change.
Vote for SOIL!
1. Click here: www.solutionsearch.org/vote
2. Scroll down to SOIL’s entry
3. Click “Submit Vote”
Our other request requires a bit more work, but it is fun. We ask all of you to start combatting climate change in your backyard by building your own compost pile. It doesn’t take much space, is a wonderful educational tool for your kids, and it is the most rewarding way to recycle the food scraps that you don’t eat. (Here are some resources to get you started.) We can all play a role in transforming waste into resources and combatting climate change at the same time.
With love from Haiti,
- The American Red Cross and World Wildlife Fund contracted SOIL to lead a workshop on disaster risk reduction and environmental protection. Read more about the SOIL training and check out the photos.
- SOIL tests new models of EcoSan toilets for the planned expansion of a pilot to test the sustainable provision of sanitation through social entrepreneurship.
- The foundation is set! SOIL begins construction of an office in Cap-Haitien that will help us reduce our operating costs and increase the portion of SOIL contributions that go directly to impactful sanitation, agriculture, and education programs. Learn more.
- Sasha Kramer was invited to speak at World Water Week in Sweden and gave a truth-telling, heart-filled speech on the the challenges that NGOs face in enacting sustainable positive change in the sanitation sector.
- SOIL’s Sanitation Supervisor, Herby Sanon, blogs for the SOIL website on the changes he has witnessed in his community after SOIL began working in Port-au-Prince following the earthquake: “SOIL gives us hope“.
- Two recent visitors to SOIL write about their experiences: Shannon Smith on SOIL in the Context of a Global Sanitation Crisis and Vic Hinterlang’s behind the scenes look at SOIL Cap-Haitien operations.
- SOIL is a semi-finalist or finalist in three contests!!! The Buckminster Fuller Challenge recognizing strategies with significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems, Ashoka’s Nutrients for All, and the Nature Conservancy / Rare solution search for innovative adaptations to climate change – for which your vote is needed!
- Ashoka encouraged Sasha to write about the philosphical roots of SOIL’s waste transformation work in Haiti.
- And SOIL’s indomitable and ever-smiling Regional Director contemplates supply purchases, debates whether the SOIL cat, Chicken Flavor, is only sleeping, and goes fishing in a compost bin. Quote of the month? “We never say ‘no’ in SOIL, we only say ‘we can do it, it only takes a little more time than we thought’.”
- Join us on Facebook and Twitter and tell all your friends about us too!
- Support SOIL by making a contribution using the “Donate Now” button on the right.
- Please help us continue the positive momentum by signing up for a monthly recurring donation
And most importantly….
Please don’t forget to Vote for SOIL!