Monday, July 2, 2007
The burning Wood
Those of you who have seen Al Gore´s film or read Jared Diamond´s book, Collapse, are familiar with the stark contrasting border line between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. On the eastern side of the island,total forest cover has increased in the last thirty years, primarily through a government campaign to subdize and promote the use of propane (LPG) gas for cooking and protect trees. On the western side, there is 99% deforestation.
Santo Domingo, a "modern, bustling city", is now awash with gas guzzling SUVs. In the campo, the sign of affluence is the noisy two-stroke motor bike. The highway system is fast and paved with new ones being built constructed every week.
Now that we know, collectively, that the age of oil is ending, that the use of gas will produce its own climate problems, Haiti awaits the introduction of some new, spectacular cooking fuel. It will, of course, be almost impossible to introduce as "old habits die hard" as we saw from the discussion of soaking the beans.
But Haiti has almost skipped the age of petroleum. The roads are terrible, most more suited to burros than horses. It offers a wonderful opportunity to leap frog over the age of oil and go directly into alternate fuel, sustainable development.
A long shot, perhaps, but perhaps one of the few that we have.