Allegro Coffee Company Replants Over 285 Tons of Paper

Allegro's support keeps local, community-led tree nurseries thriving.
Allegro’s support keeps local, community-led tree nurseries thriving.

For more than ten years now, we have been working with Allegro Coffee Company on various environmental sustainability initiatives that help reduce the company’s impact on the planet. The Colorado-based Fair Trade roaster takes every step to be an ecologically conscious and responsible company. Since 2004, Allegro has replanted 2,892 trees through our innovative 100% Replanted Program to offset over 289 tons of paper used in day to day operations.

“While great coffee is our passion, we feel it is equally important that our business practices embody our love, care, and commitment to the community and people that surround us. Trees, Water & People has been a great resource and local partner for Allegro Coffee Company since 2004, ensuring that we are offsetting our paper usage through their 100% Replanted Program and installing clean cookstoves in communities where we source our coffee.”

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Allegro has replanted 2,892 trees through our innovative 100% Replanted Program to offset over 289 tons of paper.

To learn more about TWP’s 100% Replanted program please contact Megan Maiolo-Heath at (970) 484-3678 or by email at megan@treeswaterpeople.org.

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Notes from the Field: Sweating for the Small Stuff

 

Aquinas College vols 2014

by Daniel Hartman-Strawn, Project Coordinator 

Globalization and the media decide for us that we will hear about every civil war, every health crisis, and every despotic leader. This heightened attention to the world’s troubles makes it easy to lose sight of the issues in our own communities. As a result of being accosted 24/7 with shocking headlines, many Americans have decided that they will simply put their heads down and live within the confines of their own day-to-day interactions. I am sympathetic to their antipathy, but I also plan to do everything in my power to end it.

When I first began spending a week each summer on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota volunteering with Re-Member, the pace of change I witnessed frustrated me. I was not content with seeing two children get their first beds. I felt depressed when we only installed skirting on one trailer, in one community, on one Reservation in all of America. It was not until I joined the Re-Member staff in the summer of 2013 that I had a moment of clarity. After putting a new roof on a family’s trailer, an elderly woman living there said to me, “You have no idea how much this means to us.” She was right. It was on the drive back from the work site that I realized how much it would mean to me if someone, out of the kindness of their heart, came into my life and offered me compassion and hope in a time when I received little of either. My motivation for the work I do is a conglomeration of many moments, but this one is seminal to my passion.

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Tribal lands provide volunteers with beauty and culture unlike any other places in the U.S.

Both of my parents have worked in public policy for many years, and because of this I have often been fixated with the type of broad, sweeping changes that only policy (and lots of resources) can bring about.  However, it was only once I began to understand the equal importance of small impacts in a specific place that I became an effective operative for change.  When I first began working with Trees, Water & People this past August it quickly became apparent that they have the same attitude in their approach to alleviating poverty. The Clean Cookstove and Solar Energy Programs in Central America and the Tribal Renewable Energy Program on the Pine Ridge Reservation both provide immediate relief to those living in poverty by improving health and saving resources, while simultaneously benefiting the environment though reduced emissions as well as less wood and fossil fuel use.

Volunteers get their hands dirty building a straw bale home.
Volunteers get their hands dirty building a straw bale home.

Now, I am coordinating the Oglala compressed earth bock (CEB) housing Project, a volunteer project building a sustainable (CEB) home for the Shields family this summer on the Pine Ridge Reservation. This project is just a stepping-stone on the path to wider spread implementation of CEB structures on the reservation. However it will also make a huge difference in the lives of several humans, humans who like you and me want the best in life for themselves and those they love. This project also offers an opportunity for you to come and witness for yourself the power of making a difference in someone else’s life, and learn lessons from those less fortunate than yourself that will inspire you to look at your own life differently.

Let this be your call to action! Take a hold of the reins and contact Daniel Hartman-Strawn at daniel@treeswaterpeople.org or (970) 999-4450 for information on the CEB project on the Pine Ridge Reservation, or visit the Trees, Water & People website.

Happy International Day of Forests!

International Forest Day

Today we join with citizens around the globe to celebrate the International Day of Forests!

According to the United Nations, “Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood. Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities. They play a key role in our battle in adapting to and mitigating climate change. Forests contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air. They protect watersheds, which supply 75% of freshwater worldwide.”

Communities around the world are dependent on healthy forests for their livelihoods.
Communities around the world are dependent on healthy forests for their livelihoods.

Trees, Water & People’s Reforestation Program is working to conserve and protect the forests of Central America and Haiti by working with local communities to replant trees, helping to improve watershed health, increase biodiversity, and create better livelihoods for local families. With over 5.6 million trees planted to date, our Reforestation Program focuses on establishing and maintaining tree nurseries, educating communities about the positive environmental impacts of reforestation, and strengthening economic development, both through conservation and the responsible management of forest resources.

Last year, we started the construction of the Nicaraguan Center for Forests, Energy & Climate. This new facility will be a regional hub for Latin Americans to learn about forest management and climate adaption. You can support the development of this new center by making a contribution today!

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“To build a sustainable, climate-resilient future for all, we must invest in our world’s forests. That will take political commitment at the highest levels, smart policies, effective law enforcement, innovative partnerships and funding.”

- Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Trees, Water & People Accepting Applications for Green Business in Indian Country Start-Up Award

tribal programTrees, Water & People’s (TWP) Tribal Renewable Energy Program is excited to offer the Green Business in Indian Country Start-Up Award for a second year in a row. The award, valued at $10,000 – $20,000, includes cash and technical assistance to help jump-start new business endeavors in Indian Country.

Applicants must provide a business plan, an operating budget, and a start-up budget. Application materials and details on the award can be found at http://www.solarwarriors.org/workshops/images/2015-start-up-business-award.pdf. Completed applications are due no later than 5 p.m. MDT, Tuesday, September 1, 2015. The deadline to request an entrepreneur mentor is June 15, 2015. Mentors can help develop applications to make the best presentation of ideas.

Leading up to the Award application deadline, a five-day Green Business Development in Indian Country workshop will be hosted May 31 – June 5, 2015 at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Scholarships and a limited number of travel stipends are available for this workshop through the generous support of the Putnam Foundation. For details and to register for this workshop, please visit http://solarwarriors.org/workshops/green-business-development.html. This workshop is not required to apply for the Start-Up Award.

“Some of the most important work we do is helping Native individuals create jobs and provide green alternatives to industries from outside the community that are less sustainable for health and environment. This award gives us the opportunity to promote local economies and benefits to the environment,” said Jamie Folsom, TWP’s National Director.

Trees, Water & People is proud to sponsor this award and offer assistance to Native American entrepreneurs who are eager to create and grow their green business ideas. For more information about our Tribal Renewable Energy Program please visit www.solarwarriors.org.

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Community Voices: Roman Rios

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Don Roman Rios stands near his bread oven at his home in La Gloria, Guatemala. (Photo by Jeff Abbott)

Over 500,000 homes in Guatemala are without electricity, leaving millions of people in the dark once the sun sets. Adults are unable to work at night and children struggle to study by dim candle lights, which also emit toxic fumes into the home. Candles are expensive too, costing families up to $20 per month, money that could be spent on food, medicine, or small business expenses.

Trees, Water & People’s social enterprise, Luciérnaga, is working throughout Central America to solve this energy poverty problem. Luciérnaga imports solar products, like lights, phone chargers, and solar household systems, into Central America, providing local entrepreneurs with access to products in bulk, at an affordable price. With knowledge of their community’s needs, these solar entrepreneurs can distribute solar lights to families at a price they can afford.

Don Roman Rios lives in the community of La Gloria in Guatemala’s La Zona Reyna, a very rural area in the department of El Quiche. His purchase of a solar home system has allowed he and his wife to expand their small bakery, which they run out of their home kitchen. “Now, we are able to bake bread starting at 6am until 10pm or 11pm.” said Don Roman. The purchase of solar lighting has allowed them to expand their business and production, and save on the purchase of candles.

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Don Roman’s house is now lit by a solar home system, which includes four LED lights and a battery storage system for charging electronics. (Photo by Jeff Abbott)

“Before we had to use candles to light the room,” said Don Roman. “Which could get really expensive.” Prior they were paying one quetzal per candle, and having to purchase five or six to light the room. In order to charge their cell phones, which are ubiquitous throughout Central America, Don Roman and his wife had to pay a neighbor or use the cigarette lighter in the car. “Now that we have solar light, we just have to plug our phones in here [USB charger on the battery] and we can charge.”

Overall, Don Ramon and his family have greatly benefited from the purchase of a solar household system, though Don Roman wishes he could have the chance to purchase larger solar panels in order to collect more light. Don Ramon and his family are one of over 4,300 families who have purchased solar products from Luciérnaga’s vendors.  These life-changing products offer an affordable way for rural Central Americans to gain access to clean energy that improves the environment and their livelihoods. To learn more please visit www.luciernagasolar.com.

The electrical grid has yet to reach rural areas of Guatemala, where millions live without light once the sun sets.
The electrical grid has yet to reach rural areas of Guatemala, where millions live without light once the sun sets. (Photo by Jeff Abbott)

Happy International Women’s Day!

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Today, the TWP staff and people all around the world will come together to celebrate International Women’s DayMake It Happen is the 2015 theme, encouraging effective action for advancing and recognizing women. We hope you will join us in supporting our community-based development projects that advance the rights of women in Central America, Haiti, and on tribal lands of the U.S.

Our conservation projects go beyond protecting the environment. We strive to improve the livelihoods and health of every family we work with, especially the women and children who are most affected by energy poverty and deadly indoor air pollution.

Today, make sure to take a moment to hug the important women in your life and let them know how much they mean to you!

Learn more about TWP’s projects and how they help mothers and children at www.treeswaterpeople.org.

Community-Based Development in Action: Reforestation in El Salvador

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Don Jorge Ochoa has worked at the El Porvenir nursery since 2007, helping to grow nearly 630,000 trees.

community_based_developmentTrees, Water & People’s Community-Based Development Model is based on the philosophy that the best way to help those most in need is to involve them directly in the design and implementation of local environmental and economic development initiatives. This creates ownership, involvement, and financial sustainability well into the future. Our proven development model of training and execution, coupled with an enterprise approach, engages and inspires local residents to preserve their precious natural resources.

Our Reforestation Program in El Salvador is a great example of this Community-Based Development Model in action:

identify_community_needsEl Salvador is the second most deforested country in Latin America after Haiti. Nearly 85 percent of its forest cover has disappeared since the 1960s. Less than 6,000 hectares are classified as primary forest. Deforestation in El Salvador has had serious environmental, social, and economic impacts. Today over 50 percent of El Salvador is not even suitable for food cultivation, and much of the country is plagued with severe soil erosion (Mongabay, 2015).

partner_with_local_organizations In 2001, we formed a partnership with environmental conservation leaders in El Salvador, who created Arboles y Agua para El Pueblo (AAP) to address natural resource issues within the country. The organization is led by Armando Hernandez and his dedicated staff who work tirelessly to protect the precious natural resources of El Salvador.

El Salvador tree nursery
Members of the AAP staff at our 30,000-tree nursery in El Porvenir.

design_and_implement_projects (1)The AAP staff addresses El Salvador’s natural resource issues through reforestation, producing over 28 hardwood and fruit tree species in their nurseries. Local community members, governments, and farmers use these trees for food, firewood, and shade. In addition, AAP and TWP work together to build clean cookstoves that reduce deforestation and deadly household air pollution. Community-led conservation projects create jobs for local people as well purpose and meaning in life. Don Jorge Alberto Dorado Ochoa, an AAP staff member since 2007, found his work at the tree nursery to be healing during his battle with cancer. “I feel strongly that my dedication to the nursery and the work of TWP gave me strength and health.”

evaluate_and_monitor_projectsAAP reports to TWP on a monthly basis to ensure projects are running smoothly and efficiently. Our International Program staff visit the projects several times a year to monitor progress. At the end of each year, we work together to evaluate successes, challenges, and plan for future needs.

To learn more about Trees, Water & People please visit www.treeswaterpeople.org. Our grassroots conservation efforts depend on friends and donors investing in our work. We hope you will join our community today!