Rebuilding Haiti - who said you have to ride the bikes?
Henryka Manes wrote:
Just came back from Haiti and going back in a few days.
It seems to me that the people involved in this discussion have not been to Port au Prince yet. The city is full of high hills, the reason bicycles have not taken root is because only those who train for the Olympics can use them in Port au Prince. The range of where one could go is very limited given the terrain.
There is one detail which could be spelled out more clearly or even added to the list - transport, the glue that helps to bind in the links to education, water, moving the crops to the people, so that each crop requiring a particular growing regime can be grown in places where that can be established in a sustainable way (without having to force changes on the soil, or 'push water uphill').
That transport should also be, as far as possible, capable of operating without any imported fuel or materials, and to that end the bicycle fills that role in a very effective way - it requires considerably less infrastructure than motorised transport, and in the crudest form, as seen in Africa, it operates with no requirement for tyres or brakes (imported consumables).
Not only that but proven by the recovery process of Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami, the bicycle can be running and fully functional as a transport system as soon as the wheels hit the ground - no need to consider fuel bunkering (and the inherent security issue - given the break down of public order) and special equipment/spares to keep the fleet running. Bikes can get running repairs by the roadside. The UK's mail service renew their fleet on a 7-year rotation - that's around 6000 bikes per year and I'd guess the French do likewise along with other operators of cargo bikes. A cargo bike fleet could mobilise the fit population otherwise likely to create a problem and distribute the supplies in a large number of small shipments, less vulnerable to having the delays or diversions/hold-ups that will impact on a large shipment on a single large vehicle.
Eric Britton wrote:
I think that Ms. Hartzok's list (http://www.earthrightsinstitute.org/) give us a good point of departure, to which I invite your comments and suggestions. I am working on a revised version of it from our perspective here which I shall send on later today along with a broader call for support for next steps in Haiti.
My reason for trying to work this through has to do with an eventual new mobility collaborative effort we have been discussing in Haiti before this tragic event. We need to see whatever we might be able to offer or do in the broader context.
I look forward to your comments and suggestions on this.
On Behalf Of Alanna Hartzok
Sent: Sunday, 17 January, 2010 03:59
Subject: Rebuilding Haiti
Our compassionate hearts are deeply touched by the tragedy in Haiti. And from this event, many are learning about how it came to be that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world.
We as populist leaders and activists need to come together with great clarity concerning the fundamentals of economic justice in order to build a powerful force to create a fair global society - a world that works for everyone.
The tragedy experienced by the people of Haiti can help serve this larger purpose. Here are the basics and a post acute crisis proposal:
A very few individuals and corporations own and control most of the land of Haiti. Their cash crops are exported. Most of the people are landless or have insecure land tenure. Vast numbers have been trying to survive on just one or two dollars a day. Children scavenge garbage dumps for scraps of food leftover from the plates of US soldiers stationed there.
In order to build a just society with basic needs secured for all after this acute crisis the land problem in Haiti must be addressed via land reform and land value taxation.
There needs to be:
* Establishment of community land trusts and allocation of land for ecological villages.
* Implementation of a transparent public finance system based on land value taxation as called for by UN Habitat and the Global Land Tool Network.
On the basis of secure and equitable land tenure these are some details of what then can be established in order to meet basic human needs:
1. potable water
3. agricultural fields (rice and root crops) and appropriate technology
4. wind and solar energy
5. dairy farms (goats, cows)
6. cotton and hemp fields for fabric and building material
7. mangosteen, mango, pineapple, papaya, trees
8. nut trees/ coconut trees, ground nuts (peanuts)
10. Affordable heath care.
11. educational institutions
13. small industries.
One way we can help Haitians build a better tomorrow is to convince global creditors to cancel Haiti’s $890 million international debt. Doing so will help make sure that every possible future dollar goes towards rebuilding a stronger Haiti, not to servicing old debts.
Alanna Hartzok, Co-Director Earth Rights Institute
Ame Johnson, PROUT New York