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Some people here are marking this painful day in bed, the hurt too much to bear. By the early hours of the first anniversary of the deadly earthquake that rocked Haiti, Haitians had visited individual tombstones and passed by mass graves, where hundreds of tiny wooden crosses mark the spot where tens of thousands of Haitians are buried. Many united in prayer. On the Champs de Mars survivor camp, thousands of Protestants gathered as pastor after pastor exhorted worshipers to “celebrate life'' amid praises of “hallelujah.'' A year ago Wednesday, a 7.0 earthquake killed a city's worth of people; the government here estimates as many as 300,000. Their names have not been logged, and some are still under rubble/Miami Herald. More here. (AP photo: Rose S. Eugene prays as she joins other parishioners at the Notre Dame d' Haiti Mission this morning in Miami)
Question: Are you still affected by the tragedy caused by the Haiti earthquake a year ago? How?
“Men anpil, chay pa lou” - a Haitian proverb which translates as “Many hands lighten the load.”
Today’s quote has little environmental meaning as our Friday Quotes tend to. Though it has universal meaning that can be applied to an array of situations. And obviously it has great meaning now given the incredible relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts going on in Haiti. We were reminded of this quote by former President Bill Clinton via a guest article he penned for the recent issue of Newsweek - the same issue that current President Barack Obama wrote the cover story for.
It’s been just under ten days since the massive earthquake devastated the island nation, and as predicted, the main stream media and the general public are starting to lose interest having become distracted by what’s on the Facebook pages of the daughters of Massachusetts’ newest celebrity Senator Scott Brown. *As a side note, isn’t it amusing how Fox News and the radical right are quite fine with celebrating the celebrity of Scott Brown when for two solid years they have been relentless with their disdain of Barack Obama’s celebrity?
The reason we chose this week’s Friday quote was for another article that appeared in this week’s wonderful Newsweek - written by David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and president of Garten Rothkopf, an international consultancy. (Rothkopf also served as U.S. deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade during the Clinton administration.)
Rothkopf wrote a piece titled, “Averting Disaster” in which he reminded us to think about the earthquake in Haiti as part of something bigger, part of a string of nearly annual megadisasters. “Before Haiti, an estimated 70,000 people perished in 2008’s earthquake in Sichuan, China. Before that almost 150,000 died when the cyclone Nargis struck Burma. In 2005, the death toll from an earthquake in the mountains of Kashmir approached 90,000. The year before, in the greatest such recent disaster, the Indian Ocean tsunami killed perhaps 230,000,” he wrote. So what can our many hands do to lighten the burden of these disasters? Rothkopf closes his piece by saying we can be proactive, as an international community, with our involvement in the developing world: “Current trends—from rising seas and the changing severe weather patterns associated with global warming to the rapid, often poorly planned urbanization of the developing world—mean megadisasters will only become more likely. Wouldn’t it be fitting—and a sign that we appreciated the true costs of what has happened in tragic Haiti—if the rebuilding there became a case study in how the international community can work together to develop new standards, new designs, and a genuine commitment to reducing the risk of such calamities in the future? A reborn Port-au-Prince could be a showcase for ideas about affordable, durable housing, for enhanced regional cooperation—and for how we can apply lessons that have been learned at an unfathomably great cost.”
We linked to this video yesterday in our Another Green Monday intro, but because it’s so important and also so relevant, we decided it needed to stand alone.
Weeks before the 7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti, two New York Times reporters chartered a plane and flew over Haiti to see what they say was an, “environment [that] teetered on the brink of disaster.” Haiti, according to the NYT, is 97% deforested, and in the below video you will see what and how.