The glaciers on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro have been receding since they were first recorded in the late 1800s and more so in the last decade. I have read several articles about the struggle to keep the mountain clean of litter from the numerous hikers that traverse its trails. The base of the mountain suffers from deforestation.
We often talk about the environment and our impact on it, but how often do we recognize the connection between the environment and poverty?
Many in the majority world or third world are rural poor and eke out an existence by living off the land. Often, this involves deforestation, cutting trees and selling or using the lumber for cooking or heat, as farmers continually seek good soil for their crops.
We are traveling to Tanzania under the auspices of Plant With Purpose, a non-profit organization based in San Diego. For three days before climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, we will volunteer in a few of the villages where Plant With Purpose works with the community.
Founded in 1984, Plant With Purpose - www.plantwithpurpose.org - has been in Tanzania for four years. It's mission is to "help the poor restore productivity to their land to create economic opportunity out of environmental restoration." Twenty two communities in regions surrounding Mt. Kilimanjaro participate in community driven projects such as village community banks, tree planting - more than 350,000 for farming and reforestation planted so far- and family vegetable gardens. According to the Plant With Purpose website, members of these self-governing groups or village community banks raise and distribute their own funds, and have generated $120,000 of loan capital to improve their farms, send their children to school, and begin small businesses.
Plant With Purpose has worked with more than 100,000 people around the world in Tanzania, Thailand, Haiti, Mexico and the Dominican Republic since recognizing the connection between the environment and poverty.
I'm excited about seeing what has been done in Tanzania. www.plantwithpurpose.org