One of the best things about this column is that, for the most part, you write it for me. I toss out something – as yesterday, on Haiti, etc. – and you take it from there. I should be paying you.
George Mokray: “I’ve been participating in some of the discussions at MIT around Haiti and spent last Saturday night at a Pecha-Kucha, a series of short presentations on the problems and solutions consisting of 20 slides for 20 seconds each, as part of a world-wide effort by the design and tech community to address the situation. There is a real feeling that the recovery is going to have to be different this time, that Haiti can be a model for disaster response for the long-term, and that people are not going to forget. I hope it is true. One thing that gives me hope is that such groups as Architecture for Humanity, which was a co-sponsor of the Saturday night event that occurred at 150 places around the world, has climbed the learning curve, applying what it learned in New Orleans and during the 2004 tsunami to Haiti. They have timelines of participation that go out for years because it is going to take years. . . . The Berkeley-Darfur stove you cited is one useful tool, although it might need some modification in order to work with the materials and cooking customs of Haiti. Solar cookers are another, also being distributed in Darfuri refugee camps by such organizations as German CARE and Jewish World Watch. Here’s a short video of a construction workshop on the solar cookers. . . . I think you’ve also covered LightHaiti.org, which is sending solar LED lights to Haiti. . . . and here’s a Kirk Franklin gospel song about Haiti. . . . PS: My efforts start from survival solar, refugee camp solar and work on up from there. It is part of my sarvodaya orientation, a term from Gandhian economics which means plan for the poorest first. It can be expressed as Solar IS Civil Defense in the developed world and that same access to technology – flashlight, radio, cell phone, extra set of batteries – becomes a significant rise in the standard of living for the 2 billion at the bottom of the human pyramid.”
Philip Lopez: “The New Yorker recently published a fascinating article (‘Hearth Surgery’) about the possibilities – and the difficulties – of producing stoves for people in poor countries. They’ve gotta be really cheap, like $8 per stove, but they’d pay for themselves many times over by reducing or nearly eliminating chronic respiratory illnesses. Saving trees is an obvious advantage, and I vaguely remember that a few grams of carbon black (you and I would call it ‘soot’) which is produced in large quantities by inefficient stoves is as bad for the environment as a couple of months of driving a HumVee. ‘Cleaning up these emissions,’ the article says, ‘may be the fastest, cheapest way to cool the planet.’”
Mark Bent (founder of LightHaiti.org): “We got an order yesterday for a case of BoGo lights from St. Joachim / St. John the Evangelist, in Beacon, New York, on-line, for $2000 – Father Nolan ordered direct. He was surprised, and pleased, when we called to tell him that for his $2000, we can provide two cases – 50% off for non-profits.”
☞ Perhaps you belong to a nonprofit, or your kids go to a school, that would like to follow Father Nolan’s lead?
“Providing trained medical care,” Mark writes, “is a 24 hour necessity that does not fade away with the sunset. Every medical professional in Haiti should have access to solar-powered lighting devices so well suited to this sun-drenched country. . . . Partners in Health, which has been operating in Haiti for over twenty years, has long championed the concept of traveling medics, with over 2,000 of these traveling community health workers, locally known as ‘accompagnateurs’ visiting patients wherever they are living. These mobile individuals walk, take local transport and carry everything they need in their backpacks – including lighting. In the darkness of a Haitian night, having a scene illuminated at accident injury or lighting a patient during an operation that cannot wait until daybreak, or by assisting in the birth of a child or treating the victim of sexual violence, rape or other trauma, lighting is an essential direct support tool. PIH estimates that 50,000 of these $10 lights would significantly improve their ability to reach 1.7 million Haitians. And the lights are designed to operate for well over a decade – every night, making this both an immediate and a long-term impact.”
☞ Enjoy your weekend – and the music video linked to above.
PS – I added a highly speculative little drug company, symbol NBIX, to our evolving three-stock (was DEPO, DYAX, INCY; profit taken on INCY and replaced with DCTH) – now four-stock – basket. Closing at $2.60 yesterday, guru thinks a year from now it could be significantly higher. To be bought (have I ever thought to mention this before?) only with money you can truly afford to lose.