For Poor Households in Rwanda, One Cow Makes A Difference

This is the final in a four-partseries on my visit to Heifer International projects in Gicumbi District in Rwanda. Crossposted from the Worldwatch Institute Nourishing the Planet blog.
Leonard Birahira has been connected to Heifer International in Gicumbi District for the last seven years, but only recently as a beneficiary of their projects. He's been using his carpentry skills to help build stalls for farmers to keep their animals, a requirement for all Heifer beneficiaries, and just last month received his own dairy cow as part of Heifer's projects  in Rwanda. Dr. Dennis Karamuzi, the Director of Programs for Heifer Rwanda, told me that he's looking forward to seeing this family in two years. Right now they live in a mud house, without electricity or running water, things the other Heifer beneficiaries we visited were able to get after they began raising cows and selling milk.

And Heifer's work is now being recognized--and supported--by the Rwandan government. In 2008 the government instituted the One Cow Per Poor Household Program, which aims to give the 257,000 of the poorest households in the country training and support to raise milk for home consumption.  But Heifer, says, Dr. Karamuzi, is also building an exit strategy by connecting farmers to cooperatives, which can organize and train farmers themselves.

For more on Heifer International's work in Rwanda, please see the following links: Rwanda Sustainable Dairy Enterprise Development Project and Miracle Cows in Rwanda.

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Anne Korin: Why Shouldn't We Believe Her?

This morning I heard on C-SPAN radio about 10 minutes of an Anne Korin speech (Co-Director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, and Chair of Set America Free), delivered live to the National Conservative Student Conference in DC.  In the space of a few minutes, filled with a fast-paced presentation of data on global oil production and US oil consumption, I learned that she favors quick adoption by the US of plug-in hybrids, combined with flex-fuels combustion engines, as the most immediate path to extricating ourselves from our current national security pickle.

She sure made sense to me -- but then, I'm a sucker for arguments set up with a marshaling of seemingly relevant facts (that why I'm a Biden supporter, by the way - but that's another topic).  She made so much sense that I'm about to sit down and watch the video on C-SPAN's site (Korin appears about one hour in on the morning session).  

I did a quick search online looking for any critiques of her analysis -- nothing so far.  I'm curious what the progressive blogosphere thinks of her work.  Anyone?  I did learn she teamed up with James Woolsey on a National Review article last September: "Turning Oil Into Salt," and that apparently Woolsey is now advising McCain.  I also found a KCRW radio show she appeared on last November (in a segment titled, "Is America's Thirst for Expensive Oil Fueling Dictators?")

Thanks for any comments.

~ Rob

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Appalachian Coal: the faucet is almost dry

cardiovascular disease, loss of visibility, and (somewhat importantly) the complete shattering of our global climactic patterns.

Many are also seeing for the first time that extracting coal is as destructive (and socially expensive) as emitting coal. Mountaintop removal and strip mining are decimating the majestic Appalachian Mountains - the oldest mountains on this continent. More than 1 million acres have been blasted away, and shoved recklessly into creek-beds and hollows. 1200+ miles of headwater streams have been buried, poisoning the water for us and those who live down stream.  

The ancient hardwood forests of Appalachia (themselves an important carbon sink in our war on CO2) are often shoved aside with the mountain, left to rot and clog our streams without even being commercially harvested. The "rape" of Appalachia, as Senator Webb has called it.

How much coal would be "worth it?"
100 years?
250 years?
500 years?

Hows about a dozen?

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NiMH Today

In 1980 Stanford Ovshinsky patented a battery that was supposed to revolutionize the world. A battery that he knew could take almost unlimited charges and discharges, a battery that held far more energy at half the weight of lead acid batteries, a battery whose thermal properties were balanced with metals that combine endothermic and exothermic reactions to prevent thermal runaway, which is an explosive reaction common to the first iterations of lithium-ion batteries. Twenty seven years later those batteries are just beginning to have the impact they promised a quarter of a century ago.

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GM Kills the Volt ......... Vote


The image above links to Plug-In America

It looks like GM, in all its infinite wisdom, has taken the VOLT Vote down. They did so just as the vote was fast approaching the half million mark. On April 7 I took snap shot of the survey and it stood at just under 450,000 votes tallied of which 446,118 said that GM should build the VOLT and another 445,187 voters said to GM that they would buy the vehicle if it were made. Big, big numbers to say the least, however, I was hoping that the vote would reach the psychological milestone of 500,000. There is just no denying a number like half a million votes. If GM ever says there isn't enough demand for alternative fuel vehicles remind them that they can use their fingers and their toes to count. Read on for action.

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