Support Tribal Renewabale Energy When You Offset Your Impact

Every year, each of our solar air heaters  prevents 1.39 tons of carbon emissions from being generated by its combustible alternatives. When you contribute to this renewable energy Carbon Offset option, you help not only our environment, but also the struggling families that will now receive free, clean heat from the sun. To learn more or to purchase carbon offsets today please click here.

How do we calculate your offset?

Calculations for CO2 Offsetting by Solar Heaters

Your carbon offset purchase goes into a dedicated fund at Trees, Water & People to build “carbon offset heaters.” Once we have sold 28 tons of carbon offsets (the total lifetime of avoided emissions for one heater), that means we have enough money to build a solar air heater collector panel. We combine these carbon offsets funds, which supply the collector panel, with existing funds to pay for the remainder of the heater kit and its installation. That means that, thanks to you, our “carbon offset heaters” will be up and running, preventing the use of carbon-based fuels, and heating homes of families in need. We would not be able to build these heaters without your contribution!

Our “carbon offset heaters” only go to homes that would otherwise get heat from electricity or fire wood, both very common heat-sources on Native American reservations, where we distribute almost all of our systems. The average carbon dioxide emissions avoided by using solar air heaters instead of wood or electricity is 3,072 pounds annually according to the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (http://www.rreal.org/solar-assistance/pricing/). At 2,204 pounds per metric ton, that means our heaters avoid 1.39 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. Barring any damage, our collector panels have a 20 year lifespan, leading to a total of 27.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide avoided in a panel’s lifetime.

Help people and the planet this holiday season!

Trees, Water & People

With your help, 2011 was a year of great progress at Trees, Water & People.  We were able to help thousands of families in communities all over the western hemisphere raise their standard of living and improve their local environments.

Some of the highlights of what you helped us accomplish include:

  • Producing 352,818 seedlings in our Central American tree nurseries
  • Building 4,642 clean cookstoves for families in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti
  • Distributing 60 solar air heating systems to Native American families
  • Training 51 Renewable Energy Warriors

None of this work would have been possible without your generosity. Each year we are absolutely humbled by your continual support and with your help we can finish this year strong.

There are so many ways for you to make a difference this holiday season. For only $20 you can purchase a cookstove for a family in Haiti, bringing them a safer and more economical way to cook each meal. For only $50 you can plant 50 seedlings in one of our Central American tree nurseries, helping to reforest communities and protected areas. For only $100 you can help fund Green Job training for a Native American, creating sustainable livelihoods for people in need.

I hope you will make an end-of-year donation and consider how you might be able to improve the lives of families throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Thank you and have a joyous holiday season!

Richard Fox
National Director

Photo of the Week: Solar Warrior

Henry Red Cloud, TWP's partner and owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises, stands outside of the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

“Native Rhythms for Native Energy” to Support Renewables on Tribal Lands

You are invited!

Please join us for a night of cultural exchange and education to support Trees, Water & People’s Tribal Renewable Energy Program.

When: Thursday, September 15th

Where: Global Village Museum
200 W. Mountain Ave.
Fort Collins, CO

Cost: $10 suggested donation

Yellow Hair Family to Receive Solar Air Heater and New Pallet Home

Solar Air Heater
TWP’s Solar Air Heaters, like the one pictured here at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, reduce a family’s monthly utility bill by 20-30% for up to 25 years.

Thanks to TWP’s supporters on Causes.com, we far surpassed our $2,800 fundraising goal to provide solar air heaters to Native American families. To date, we have raised nearly $7,000 from 322 donors!  With these funds we will provide three different Native American families with solar air heating systems, giving them free, clean heat for years and years to come.

Walter and Alison Yellow Hair
Walter and Alison Yellow Hair watch the construction of their new house on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

The Yellow Hairs are one of these families.  Right now, our partner organization, Earth Tipi, in partnership with Texas Natural Builders, is constructing Walter and Alison Yellow Hair a new pallet home from reclaimed materials.  This new, sustainable house will provide much better protection from, and insulation against, the harsh South Dakota winters than their current mobile home, which was originally headed for the dump when they inherited it.  With huge holes in its walls, such a poor structure can be deadly in the extreme weather of the Great Plains.  We believe that every family is deserving of dignified and comfortable housing that is properly heated and we are so lucky to have supporters who feel the same way.

Now, Walter and Alison will enjoy a new home and a new source of clean, free heat with a TWP solar air heater.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the fundraiser and helped make a significant improvement in Walter and Alison’s lives!  Your contributions mean so much to the Native American families who are struggling each day to survive. Stay tuned to learn more about the other families who will receive solar heaters.

Interested in contributing to the building of Walter and Alison’s new home? Please click here to learn more about how you can help!

Click here to join the Solar Energy for Lakota Families cause on Facebook and help us spread the word about solar energy for Native American families living on tribal lands.

Notes from the Field: The Gift of Heat, The Preservation of Culture

Lacey GaechterBy Lacey Gaechter, Assistant National Director

Pine Ridge, South Dakota

“The heater works great,” says Leonard Littlefinger of the solar heater that Trees, Water & People supporters donated to his Lakota language school. Our partner, Henry Red Cloud, installed the heater in the school’s meeting room, which Leonard said came in handy this winter as he consulted with tribal elders who are helping him establish his curriculum’s vocabulary and grammar. In Leonard’s words, the heater “did the trick.” “It just quietly did its job,” he added, “you know, when you get to be our age, you need a good heater.”

Leonard is the founder of the Sacred Hoop (Cangle’ska Waka’n: “chan-GLAY-shka wah-KAHN”) School, which is a part of the efforts on the Pine Ridge Reservation to preserve traditional Lakota culture. Part of learning a language, says Leonard, is understanding the way a society’s culture is integrated into its words. For instance, the Lakota word for hoop carries with it undertones of “the circle of life”. It is for this reason that Leonard chose the word hoop instead of circle for his school’s name.

The Sacred Hoop School’s first group of students is scheduled to arrive this June. Currently, Leonard is finalizing his curriculum with, as he puts it, “the combined knowledge of over 500 years of Lakota language and culture” between himself and the other elders. At this inaugural two-week immersion program, Lakota students, parents, and siblings will be invited to bring traditional language back into their home.

Leonard is truly a leader in his community and has been selected for an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Ohio, where he is delivering this May’s commencement address. We hope all Trees, Water & People supporters take the same pride that we do in playing a small role in the amazing endeavor of preserving the Lakota language.

To learn more about TWP’s Tribal Lands Renewable Energy Program please visit http://treeswaterpeople.org/tribal/tribal_intro.htm .

Help Raise Funds for Straw Bale Homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation

The Pine Ridge Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota, has a major housing crisis. It is common place to have Lakota families living in conditions of extreme overcrowding, with 3 to 4 families inhabiting one three-bedroom home. Many of the families have no electricity, telephone, running water, or sewage systems; and many use wood stoves to heat their homes, depleting limited wood resources. The Lakota people are living in third world conditions, right in our own backyard!

Straw bale Home + Solar Heat = Sustainability

In partnership with Henry Red Cloud, Pine Ridge resident and owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises, we are working to bring sustainable housing solutions to reservation communities and we need your help!  We will begin by constructing a straw bale demonstration site at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), complete with solar heating and lighting. This demonstration site will be a place to conduct workshops, share knowledge, and pass on green building skills throughout Indian Country.  This will be the beginning of a long-term project to bring 600 straw bale houses to the Pine Ridge Reservation, providing families with dignified living conditions that every human being deserves.  Please join us in this effort and consider a donation to this important fundraiser.

How can you help? Make a donation, share this with a friend, donate your birthday (click here to learn how), join us for a FREE straw bale home workshop on Pine Ridge.

Donate Button

Notes from the Field: A New Class of Solar Warriors

By Lacey Gaechter, Assistant National Director

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the National Wildlife Federation’s Tribal Lands Program, a record 16 trainees from the Northern Cheyenne Tribe completed a ten day solar air heater installation training with our partner Henry Red Cloud. Henry traveled to Lame Deer, Montana to instruct the students in assembly and installation of solar heater kits. In addition, each trainee received a solar air heater for their family home. One of the new “Solar Warriors,” Landon Means, has been interested in renewable energy for years after growing up with his father employed by the Pea Body Coal Mine.  Landon says of the mine, “It looks like an energy intensive way to get energy. I think there’s a better way. There has to be a better way.” Landon and his cousin Kale are among the renewable energy enthusiasts now working with Trees, Water & People to develop their own sustainable livelihoods on their reservations. They both plan to attend Henry’s upcoming straw bale demonstration and hopefully his radiant heating demonstration this fall.

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Trees, Water & People could not provide these life-altering trainings without the support of our sponsors and donors. Thank you for your support, and a special thanks to the National Wildlife Federation!

For more information about TWP’s Tribal Lands Renewable Energy Program please visit http://treeswaterpeople.org/tribal/tribal_intro.htm

Proud Solar Warriors (Photo Courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation)

Vote Trees, Water & People in Round 2 of Chase Community Giving!

The voting is on for Round 2 of Chase Community Giving and we need your help.  Take a moment to check out our “Big Idea” submission and then cast your vote for Trees, Water & People! Your vote will help us win the $500,000 grand prize. Voting is open May 19th-25th.

Journey to the Home of the Oglala Lakota

Join Trees, Water & People on a journey to the home of the Oglala Lakota for the 2011 Lakota Adventure.  From September 11th-17th we will be taking guests to the Pine Ridge Reservation to experience the strength, pride, humor and enduring culture of the Oglala Lakota. Despite hardship, the Lakota have nourished and preserved their spirituality, culture and ties with their land.

Learn about TWP’s Tribal Lands Renewable Energy Program, help build solar air heaters, and plant trees for wind breaks and shade at a local families home.  In addition, we will travel to Wounded Knee and other cultural and historical sites to learn about the Lakota culture, past and present.