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Many people would agree that there are a few wrong attitudes that can lead to negative outcomes for short-term missions: the “great white savior” complex; assuming that you understand a culture better than the people inside of it; mission trips with no follow up; or bequeathing gifts that have no value or require maintenance beyond the capacity of the local population.
Beyond ensuring they don’t share any of these attitudes, how much should mission groups also be concerned about their impact on the natural environment?
Poverty - Environment - People - Poverty - Creators
“Poverty and environment are closely interrelated. Whilst people living in poverty are seldom the principal creators of environmental damage, they often bear the brunt of environmental damage and are often caught in a downward spiral, whereby the poor are forced to deplete resources to survive, and this degradation of the environment further impoverishes people.”
The poor rely on food, water, and other natural resources to survive. Their livelihoods are connected to environmental issues to a greater degree than any other population. So when development organizations don’t consider the effect they are having on a local environment, they risk injuring not just the local environment but the very people they are attempting to serve.
Nonprofit - LiveBeyond - Thomazeau - Haiti - Priority
That’s why international nonprofit LiveBeyond, based in Thomazeau, Haiti, has made it a priority to use alternative energy sources to run its 63-acre base since the very beginning.
“We’ve been in Haiti for almost ten years now, and the air quality has just gotten worse and worse,” said Dr. David Vanderpool, founder of LiveBeyond. “That’s why we’ve always had alternative energy sources. We use inverter systems to store power, but now our entire electrical grid runs primarily off of solar power. In fact, we had a generator expert down recently who found and fixed some inefficiencies in our system, and our generator hasn’t had to kick on...
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When will they ever learn?