Taking the Long View

September/October 2010
A version of this article appears in the September/October 2010 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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September 03, 2010
Instead of offering merely supplies to the people of postearthquake Haiti, what if we could offer our ingenuity?
In postearthquake Haiti, as the discussions of appropriate home rebuilding begin, what does it mean that we respond with tents and plywood structures as temporary solutions that for many become long term? With over 1.2 million Haitians in need of shelter in the short term and adequate housing in the long term, we bring resources from our developed nations that are nearly impossible to find regionally. Instead of offering merely supplies, what if we could offer our ingenuity? What if we could look together as globalized citizens with all that our collective minds have to offer to improve the lives of those who are hungry for development, without replicating unsustainable systems? As the rock dust settles, alliances are forming among the various relief groups in order to join creative forces to discover sustainable ways to help Haitians help themselves. ( © Kevin Rowell ) One such group, officially known as Technical Working Group on Local Materials in Construction and informally known as the Co-laboratory, has formed out of a larger group of various experts to explore using local materials in construction, but learning how to engineer them to withstand natural disasters well enough to protect the life inside. It began when UN-Habitat, (the ...

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