Miami Herald writer Andres Oppenheimer had a superb idea when, shortly after the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, he encouraged people around the world to donate money to plant trees in Haiti as part of a massive re-forestation effort. Responding to his call, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations launched “A tree for a child in Haiti campaign.” Its campaign states: “your donation pays for an avocado, mango or other fruit tree seedling, its planting, a small amount of fertilizer and watering and weeding for the first year.” This sounds good and worth getting behind.
Why this is important is explained by Oppenheimer in the newspaper: “Reforestation has long been one of the main reasons behind Haiti’s chronic poverty. For more than a century, people have cut down about 98 per cent of Haiti’s trees to use as firewood or charcoal for cooking. That has left the ground almost useless for agriculture. It also dried up water supplies.
“At the same time deforestation causes devastating floods. When it storms in Haiti’s mountains, the water flows down into nearby villages with nothing to absorb it or stop it. Thousands die.”
Oppenheimer’s suggestion is that Haitians living in other countries each donate $5 for the coast of one tree, much like Jewish people in other countries have done to help Israel with their money paying for the planting of 240 million trees! This savvy journalist also suggests that cruise ship passengers to Labadie, Haiti get on board with a “One Tree Per Tourist” campaign that will aid the cause. No one can argue with the wisdom of his thoughts and the necessity for taking action in light of so much suffering. To follow through, the website to visit is