How Sustainable Bamboo will Help Haiti and the World

Humanitarian and Sustainable Bamboo for Haiti and beyond!


Hey Folks Gaia Punk here,

New Developments

I haven’t had much time to post because I’ve been working pretty much non-stop on a Permaculture Relief Corps mission call Perma Corps for Haiti, which has been getting a LOT of support from here and also here .  Which brings me to my next subject sustainable bamboo production! I absolutely love bamboo, in fact, I currently live in cozy and locally sourced bamboo framed yurt.  I wish to bring up the subject because RIGHT NOW there are currently around two million people homeless in Haiti, 1 million or so in Port Au Prince and another million scattered throughout the countryside.   It is very likely that in couple of weeks when when the seasonal rains begin in full force (not to mention Hurricanes) many of the tents  and encampments where displaced Haitians are housed will be completely washed out.  Haiti desperately needs cheap, permanent, sustainable housing that is hurricane and earthquake resistant ASAP and bamboo combined with Cob is the ideal locally sourced combination.  Below is a wonderful manual about Humanitarian Bamboo from the amazing IDEP foundation, as well as, my top 5 reasons bamboo rocks. This list comes with the best and most up to date links you could ever hope to find on the web regarding sustainable bamboo.  If you have any bamboo resources such as connections with bamboo plantations or builders or can offer help in anyway please email thejulianeffect(at) as Perma Corps for Haiti is looking to have teams on the ground shortly and then building structures right away.

TOP 5 Reasons That Bamboo Rocks!!!

1.)  Bamboo is a very strong, very cheap, natural, quickly renewable, highly flexible and adaptable, building material.

To see just what Bamboo can do just take a peak at this link and especially these great e-books below:

2.)  Bamboo is a ideal perennial and beneficially plant for Permaculture Design applications:

3.)  Bamboo can sequester TONS of carbon while still being regularly harvested and can drastically improve soil fertility when used as biochar!

Biochar from bamboo has a unique pore structure, making it a perfect soil structure for beneficial aerobic bacteria and fungi, resulting in crop yield gains of as much as 800-percent. It is important to mix the biochar with well-prepared compost inoculated with bacteria from undisturbed (usually nearby forest) local soils.

4.) You can eat it and it tastes amazing!

How to grow edible bamboo shoots

5.)  In Permaculture there is a saying, “Unity through intergration, intergration through diversity!” and the world of Bamboo is full of diversity.  Due to bamboo’s amazing diversity of both products and species it will be a key economic factor in helping the 2/3rds (developing) world out of poverty especially in heavily deforested regions such as Haiti.

Bamboo and sustainable economic development

Haiti update from Permaculture relief expert Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones is currently in Baja Mexico and I will be contacting him about coordinating permaculture oriented relief efforts (permacorps)
~evan (@gaiapunk)
Dear friends and colleagues,
Many thanks for all your expressions of concern and support regarding the situation in Haiti, I know we all share a concern for what can be done in order to contribute to an effective response and long-term abundance and real security for the immediately affected and wider population of Haiti.  I spent a month with Shenaqua in Haiti last summer working with the Internation Association for Human Values, and teaching two permaculture courses there.  Our feedback thus far from Haiti is that all our graduates are safe in terms of immediate earthquake impacts.  We are working on a medium term program to support our local graduates in carrying out trauma counseling using tried and tested approaches championed by IAHV, as well as longer-term, permaculture-based strategies to help promote local food, and water security, safe housing  etc.  A general program description follows below:
Nouvelle Vie *Haiti*, an ongoing project of the International Association of Human Values (IAHV- IAHV is an international humanitarian and educational NGO that aims to revive human values that transcend religious, ethnic and cultural differences. IAHV along with its sister organization, The Art of Living Foundation, has conducted effective trauma relief programs addressing the psychosocial needs of disaster victim in numerous post-conflict and natural disaster situations around the world, including the 2008 hurricanes in Haiti, the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 the South Asian tsunami in 2004, the Kosovo conflict, and many
others, and have served many thousands of individuals through these efforts.
IAHV’s Nouvelle Vie *Haiti* has over the past two years conducted youth leadership, sustainable agriculture, and entrepreneurship training, impacting 350 young adults from 5 regions of Haiti: Cap Haitien, Mirebalais, Hinche, Carrefour and Les Cayes. The earthquakein Haiti has now devastated the country and our youth leaders on the ground in Haiti. We are preparing to undertake a new mission to Haiti. Our objectives are to provide immediate trauma relief to the affected population and aid workers, and to mobilize young adults of Haiti by establishing the Nouvelle Vie Youth Corps, a body of 50 Haitian youth committed to serving their country for 2 years. The Youth Corps will receive the training and support necessary to take leadership roles in serving the Haitian people, developing powerful skills in trauma relief, food and water security, and appropriate technology and construction. Nouvelle Vie will provide training and financial, material, and programmatic support to the Corps.
In the coming weeks we will send teams of IAHV trauma relief workers to assemble and organize our existing youth leaders, recruit additional youth leaders, and deliver trauma relief programs. Through participation in organizing and delivering these programs, we will train our Youth Corps to deliver trauma relief services, and to become fully certified teachers of The Art Of Living Foundation’s stress-reduction and self-development programs. Youth Corps members will also receive on-ground training in implementation of small-scale home and community gardens, design and construction of rainwater catchment and sanitation systems (composting toilets), and appropriate building design and construction. Basic training will be conducted at the Youth Corps headquarters by training leaders who are expert in the area of sustainable design and permaculture, with extensive experience in developing world urban and peri-urban design. While basic training is taking place, Corps members and training leaders will developprojects to install garden, sanitation, water, and building systems to support IDP settlements, households, communities, and organizations.
One of the components of our strategy is the translation of the IDEP Permaculture Resource Manual into French/Haitian Creole in oder to provide accessible local tools to those who will be rebuilding their communities.  We expect to support this process with permaculture related trainings and workshops.
For any of you wishing to be involved in this effort, through donation, direct involvement or for consideration as part of the team, I recommend that you keep up with the program via the IAHV website (, or through direct contact with Joshua Tosteson: jlt94(at)
You can access IDEP’s English permaculture and community disaster management reources as free downloads from the IDEP site, they have been developed following extensive community rebuilding experiences in East Timor and Aceh, Indonesia:
For those of you wanting more detailed and technically oriented reports and updates on Haiti, I recommend the site:
Lastly, the Haiti earthquake serves to remind us of the importance of disaster preparedness for all of us so that we can be effective in response when disaster strikes.  I have 8 pages of disaster preparedness notes for download at my nascent website:
They are currently being posted, should be up by Jan 21, otherwise – check back soon!
Best wishes,                                                 [tweetmeme]
Andrew Jones
Synergy Life Design
Skype: ajventure

Permacorps and Haiti by the numbers

My instructor Scott Pittman of the US permaculture Institute on the need for a Permcorps from

Gaia punk here,

Top of the evening to everyone,
What I’ve taken to calling a “Permacorps” mission for the long term recovery of Haiti is slowly mounting.  I’ve received dozens of emails from some very qualified folks from around the globe asking how they can help plug in.  In a day or two there will be a project posting entitled “Permaculture Relief Corps” on, which is a popular crowdfunding site.  If anyone has any info related to this idea please share so that we can better coordinate our efforts.  Honestly, I’m a bit surprised by the lack of discussion some of the better known permie sites.  But, I’m not at all discouraged, because I know that what I do see on the net is just a very small sliver of what is actually going on.   What I’m trying to say is that I would like to see more of that discussion.  If anyone can contact people from the Permaculture First Responders course that would very helpful too.  There are two google docs spreadsheet I can share with folks to add regional contacts.  In a week or so it seems a skype conference call is in order to further coordinate stateside efforts. Currently, various permaculture groups working in Haiti and elsewhere are being contacted for their opinions and so far ORE in Haiti has been very supportive of this idea.
Thank you all for your awesome work,                                                                                                                       [tweetmeme]
Here are approximated numbers on the situation currently from the Huffington Post…
People in Haiti needing help: 3 million. Bodies collected for disposal so far: 9,000. Number of people being fed daily by the United Nation’s World Food Program: only 8,000.
The numbers behind the outpouring of earthquake assistance are giant. But they are dwarfed by the statistics indicating the scope of the disaster in Haiti, the number of victims and their deep poverty.
“The level of need is going to be significantly higher” than many previous disasters, said Dr. Michael VanRooyen, director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
Here are some numbers, with the proviso that figures are estimates that are constantly changing.
Current death estimates: The Red Cross says 45,000 to 50,000 people have died. The Pan American Health Organization puts the number between 50,000 and 100,000 and Rueters news has 100,000 to 200,000 possibly dead or missing
Bodies collected for disposal so far: 9,000. An additional 7,000 corpses were reportedly placed
in a mass grave.
Percent of buildings damaged or destroyed: Up to 50 percent.
Hospitals or health facilities in Haiti damaged, forced to close: eight.
Patients treated by Doctors Without Borders initially: more than 1,500.
Search-and-rescue teams on ground or en route Friday: 38.
Homeless people in Port-au-Prince: at least 300,000.
Water needed daily: 6 to 12 million gallons (enough to fill 18 Olympic sized swimming pools a day).
Kate Conradt, chief spokeswoman for Save the Children, said that the challenge ahead cannot be overcome in a few days or weeks. “This is a long-term disaster,” she said in a telephone interview from Port-au-Prince.
Helping Haiti “is going to take far more than we ever could imagine,” VanRooyen said.
So in response, the world has opened its wallets.
United Nations Emergency appeal for aid: $550 million.
United States pledge of aid: $100 million. (some of this may be in the form of a IMF loan)
European Commission’s initial spending: 3 million Euros.
Total pledge of aid by governments around world: $400 million.
Number of governments that have sent aid so far: more than 20.
International Red Cross’ initial emergency appeal goal: $10 million.
Amount of money raised by Save The Children: $7 million.
Amount of money pledged by George Soros: $4 million.
Amount raised by Wyclef Jean’s Yele 10 million
Amount of money raised by the Salvation Army and some other charities: more than $3 million.
Number of people being fed daily by U.N.’s World Food Program: only 8,000.
Number of people a day WFP hopes to feed within 15 days: 1 million.
Number of people a day WFP hopes to feed within one month: 2 million!
Amount of food salvaged by WFP in damaged Haitian warehouse being distributed: 6,000 tons (out of a total of 15,000 tons stored before the earthquake).
Meals prepared and freeze dried by the Salvation Army in Kansas and Iowa to ship to Haiti: 1.28 million, weighing nearly 200,000 pounds.
Number of trucks carrying bottled water being trucked in from neighboring Dominican Republic: 13.
UNICEF initial shipment of rehydration liquids, water-purification tables, hygiene kits and tents: enough for only 10,000 people.
Size of Doctors Without Borders initial relief package: 25 tons.
International Red Cross pre-positioned relief supplies:only enough for 3,000 families.
Plane of Red Cross supplies sent Thursday: 40 tons.
Body bags sent by Red Cross on Thursday: 3,000.
“We are seeing overwhelming need within the city and increasingly desperate conditions,” Conradt said. “We visited two camps today with 5,000 people and only four latrines total. We were told that the number of people there doubles at night, but during the day they are looking out for food, water and family members.”
Camps like that are all over Port-au-Prince.
And this is a country that before Tuesday’s earthquake was the poorest in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest worldwide. More than half of Haiti’s 10 million people live on less than $1 a day, even before the earthquake, according to the United Nation’s World Food Program. The World Bank said the average Haitian lives on just $1,180 a year.
Nearly half of Haiti’s population is hungry and only half had access to safe drinking water before the earthquake, according to the World Food Program. Nearly 60 percent of Haiti’s children under 5 are anemic.
Americans in Haiti when earthquake struck: 45,000.
Number of Americans evacuated from Haiti: 846.
Number of Americans confirmed dead: six.
Number of Canadians dead: four.
Number of United Nations workers in Haiti when earthquake struck: 12,000.
Number of UN workers confirmed dead: 37.
Number of UN workers missing: 330.
Number of Dominicans dead: six.
Number of Brazilians dead: 15.
Number of Europeans dead: six.
Number of staffers of Christian humanitarian agency World Vision: 370.
U.S. troops there to help or possibly on their way: 10,000.
Haitian Red Cross volunteers: 1,700.
This report was compiled by Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein in Washington and Frank Jordans in Geneva. Edith Lederer at the United Nations in New York contributed.
SOURCES: The Associated Press, United Nations, U.S. State Department, European Commission, International Red Cross, Save The Children, Salvation Army, other charities.