Date: Thurday, April 2nd, 2015
Following the early 1800s, after Haiti became an independent republic, the country accumulated billions of dollars in debt owed to France and multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF. In order to repay this unjust debt, Haiti had been forced to utilize it's natural resources to produce internationally marketable goods. During this process, the island's rich soil and forest ecosystems were greatly degraded and they continue to suffer. However, the effects of debt go much further than deforestation, and ecosystem health is one of the country's trivial problems. After two centuries of investing energy and recourses into repaying its debt, the country has been left impoverished and underdeveloped. In addition, Haiti's environmental and economic struggles were amplified when the island fell victim to the earthquake of 2010. The effects of this natural disaster were catastrophic, causing thousands to lose their homes and take refuge in relief shelters. The recovery efforts following the earthquake were remarkable; the country received aid through countless volunteer groups, humanitarian organizations, and emergency funds. However, the concerns of unsafe infrastructure and poor sanitation are still very apparent. To this day, virtually all urban areas lack basic services related to food, water, energy and hygiene.
Through a new partnership with SOIL, a Haitian based NGO, our club will attempt to help areas in Haiti overcome socioeconomic issues related to poverty and guide them toward a more sustainable future. Our ideas for future projects involve working with SOIL to improve hygiene and sanitation systems by constructing ECOSAN and composting toilets, designing efficient structures to facilitate the transportation of local waste, training SOIL workers how to use AUTOCADD and create CADD drawings, and increase forest restoration efforts.