On April 22, The Hunger Project will join the rest of the world in to celebrate Earth Day 2015. Earth Day celebrates the environment and promotes the repair and protection of our planet to create healthy lives and a sustainable future.
The theme of this year’s Earth Day is “It’s Our Turn to Lead,” placing the responsibility of advocacy and change on individual action and leadership. We must take a stand on issues of climate change, pollution, clean air and water and much more in order to stop the damage being done to our planet and create a healthier environment for future living. As the earth becomes healthier so too will the people who live on it; and when more people have access to healthy living conditions, poverty will greatly decrease.
Past Earth Days have been effective in implementing environmental agencies and acts of protection, and protesting climate change. In the United States this includes the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
Hunger is inextricably linked to a nexus of issues including decent work, health, education, social justice, and environmental sustainability. Protecting and restoring our natural environment is fundamental to ending hunger and poverty. We know that people living in poverty are most vulnerable to the environmental hazards that impede everyday life and health. When people live in healthier environments they have improved health outcomes and are more capable of receiving an education and becoming leaders and business owners in their communities. The Hunger Project works to raise awareness and build rural communities’ capacity to adapt to climate change, promote sustainable farming practices and more.
What We Do:
- Raise awareness of and build the capacity to adapt to climate change. The Hunger Project holds workshops to build our partners’ capacity to exercise leadership, take steps to increase their resilience and formulate strategies to mitigate climate change risks. At the regional and international level, we also advocate for the conservation of natural resources, the mitigation of the harmful effects of extractive industries, and the recovery and promotion of traditional knowledge and technology that is highly adaptable to changing climate conditions. For example, in India, The Hunger Project and Environmental Defense Fund created the “Arohan” film — the story of a courageous low caste woman who leads her village to tackle climate change. The video is used by The Hunger Project in training elected women to build the capacity of their villages to cope with the ravages of climate change.
- Increase the use of renewable energy. The Hunger Project-Senegal’s Coki Epicenter’s Rural Bank, for example, partnered with with the National Agency of Eco-Villages (ANEV) and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency on a program that promotes the use of biodigesters that convert waste into renewable energy. Biodigesters help reduce methane emissions and prevent it from being released into the atmosphere. Instead, it can be used as gas for cooking, heating and lighting. In addition, in Mexico, a rainwater harvesting system—built and managed by our partners—collects water and does not require energy to operate.
- Promote sustainable farming practices. At our epicenters in Africa, The Hunger Project’s partners create community farms, where villagers learn composting, intercropping and other methods, like drip irrigation, to improve crop yields, restore soil fertility and make the best use of scarce resources.
- Increase access to sustainable agriculture technology. The Hunger Project provides training and credit, mobilizing people to adopt sustainable agricultural technology and practices, and encouraging them to demand agricultural extension services from their government.
- Promote the use of clean air through “green stoves.” The Hunger Project recently launched a “clean stoves” or “green stoves” project in four communities in the Mazateca region of Mexico following an earlier pilot project with non-profit partner Water for Humans. Traditional stoves in the villages where we work in Mexico fill houses with smoke that the whole family breathes in, creating poor health conditions from poor air quality. They also consume a lot of wood The clean stoves are designed to remove smoke from the house, and use less wood. The communities were involved in the process of fundraising, planning and construction. Water for Humans trained promoters on how to build and fix the clean stoves, keeping expertise and knowledge in the region.
- Facilitate reforestation and tree planting campaigns. Throughout our Program Countries, trained Hunger Project partners establish tree nurseries, which can reforest their communities, control soil erosion, and become entrepreneurial village businesses, supplying families with fruit trees that not only capture carbon, but also provide nutrition and income. In Bangladesh for example, trained leaders, called “animators,” and volunteer students lead community reforestation efforts by mobilizing mass-action tree-planting campaigns.
- Ensure access to clean water. Water project boards, made up of community leaders, are trained by experts to monitor, maintain and repair water systems; people are trained to use and repair of water pumps and generators; and a core of local leaders lead workshops on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) throughout the community to expand grassroots knowledge and promote water safety practices.
This Earth Day, The Hunger Project stands with billions of others around the world to celebrate the earth and advocate for a protected, valued, and sustainable environment for the future.