Trees Water & People

Trees, Water & People is committed to improving people's lives by helping communities to protect, conserve and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends. We believe that natural resources are best protected when local people play an active role in their care and management.
Jun 12, 2012

New Hope to the Navajo

Navajo Green Jobs event
Navajo Green Jobs event

This spring, the Tribal Renewable Energy Program realized a long-term hope of bringing solar heating to the Navajo (Diné) Nation.

In late February, I traveled with Henry Red Cloud, our Tribal Program partner and proprietor of Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE), two members of his crew, Silas Red Cloud and Leo White Bear, and one of our most amazing Trees, Water & People (TWP) interns, Christy Proulx, to Shiprock, New Mexico. I have known that it has long been an aspiration of Henry’s to take his life-changing technology South, but it wasn’t until a few unexpected photo opportunities that it occurred to me that this trip was a real treat for Henry.

Of course, the real purpose of our trip was to bring our simple and replicable solar air heaters to the Diné people, and we received an inspiring, warm welcome. Claudia Jackson of Navajo Green Jobs arranged our demonstration installation for Pete and Eva Stokely, retired Diné teachers from Shiprock and respected elders in the community.

We also met Melton Martinez for the first time, for whom we installed a second demonstration solar heater, in the hopes that these two are just the first of hundreds for the Navajo Nation. Working with off-grid clients through Eagle Energy, Melton works to save Navajo families money on expensive Kerosene lanterns. The thing that affected me most about his work, however, was his dedication to eliminating the use of harmful fossil fuels. Even though Melton has electricity, he has a solar-powered night light by his bed in his south-facing bedroom. He told me, “Every time I use the solar light, it’s one less lump of coal that gets mined from our mountain and burned.” To Melton, reducing fossil fuel use is not just about having a tiny impact on the huge issue of climate change; it’s about fewer friends dying in coal mines, fewer children with asthma, and a better life for his people.

It was only because of our TWP donors that we were able to take this trip, bringing a little extra light into Henry’s life and a lot of warmth to the Stokelys and Melton. The next step in bringing solar air heaters to the Diné is to host a training with local champions like Claudia and Melton. Please support our growing relationship with the Navajo!

Hot air from the new solar air heater
Hot air from the new solar air heater
Solar Warriors!
Solar Warriors!

Links:

Mar 21, 2012

TWP Welcomes New Haiti Program Manager

Haiti Program Manager Jean Maire Gabriel (left)
Haiti Program Manager Jean Maire Gabriel (left)

It gives us great pleasure to welcome the newest member of the Trees, Water & People (TWP) family, Jean Marie Gabriel.  Jean is our new Haiti Program Manager, and will be living in Port-au-Prince representing TWP locally, and moving our projects forward.

Jean was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, and held a diverse array of occupations before moving to the United States to pursue University in 2000.  Most interesting to us was his work in the banking sector, working as a Loan Officer for Fond d’Assistance aux Entrepreneurs Moyens (Fund for the Assistance of Medium Entrepreneurs - FAEM) and as a Service Agent for one of Haiti’s biggest banks, Sogebank. 

After receiving his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University and while completing a Master of Public Administration degree from Marist College in New York, Jean helped to found the Knowledge is Wealth Learning Center, an alternative education service for low income residents in Palm Beach County, Florida. 

Jean is a proven leader and we are thrilled to have him managing our clean cookstove and reforestation efforts in Haiti.  Currently, he is in the process of setting up our in-country office, and setting TWP up for success in the coming years.  Please join us in welcoming Jean to the team by supporting TWP in 2012!

Jean (right) visits with cookstove vendors
Jean (right) visits with cookstove vendors
Jean promoting cookstoves in Port-au-Prince
Jean promoting cookstoves in Port-au-Prince

Links:

Mar 13, 2012

Don't miss your chance to give on GlobalGiving's Bonus Day!

Eva Stokely inspects her new solar air heater
Eva Stokely inspects her new solar air heater

Please help us reach our goal of donating 10 solar heaters to Lakota Families and make a donation on GlobalGiving's Bonus Day - March 14, 2012! Each of our heaters bring free, clean heat to Native American families in need, and they reduce the use of fossil fuels while stimulating tribal economies.

There are a lot of exciting new developments from Trees, Water & People's Tribal Renewable Energy Program that I wanted to share with you:

  1. We took our first ever trip to the Navajo Nation where we installed a demonstration solar air heater. Now, Pete and Eva Stokely are enjoying their new solar heater and saving money on their heating bills each month. We look forward to working with Navajo Green Jobs to train Diné students in how to install these solar air heating systems, so that dozens of Navajo can enjoy their own renewable energy systems.
  2. We are building the Red Cloud Training Annex at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center to house trainees more comfortably. Now, our renewable energy trainees will have comfortable living quarters including an awesome learning space, great dormitories, and a nice kitchen and dining area.
  3. As I type this update, the beginning phases of our new Food Security Program are beginning. Henry Red Cloud and a group of student volunteers are clearing the ground where we will build our greenhouses and plant raised beds to highlight the health and environmental benefits of fresh, home-grown food. The project will also focus on the cultivation and consumption of traditional Lakota foods.
  4. The 2012 project which I’m most excited about is our Business Development Program. In response to frequent suggestions through trainee surveys, this will be the first year we offer our renewable energy trainees the option to receive Business Development Training as well. This course will be geared toward developing businesses on reservations – a very different undertaking than starting an enterprise “off reservation.” Learning from our success in helping establish Lakota Solar Enterprises, we hope that our Business Development Program will inspire the emergence of Native-owned renewable energy companies across the Great Plains.

Thank you for supporting the Tribal Renewable Energy Program one heater at a time! These simple, efficient units are the core of our Tribal Renewable Energy Program and your support makes this program a success. We hope you will take the chance to make your donation go even further and donate to our project on Wednesday, March 14th, Bonus Day!

The Stokely Family with Henry Red Cloud (right)
The Stokely Family with Henry Red Cloud (right)
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