Climate change is not a hoax created by the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive. It is, however, one of the biggest issues facing our world today, and it affects every country, every profession, and every person. It also has an incredible impact on international development work and has completely altered how different organizations tackle development issues in our modern world. This blog post will cover some of the different ways climate change has impacted countries in the developing world, and also explore the Himalayan Institute’s sustainable development projects in India and Cameroon.
When western countries such as the United States and the UK were developing and building their economies, they did so through large-scale development of their industrial industries (factories, railroads, mining, etc). There were no such things as carbon emission caps or limits on how much a business or country could pollute their environment. Western countries had free reign to do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted to do it. But now, when developing countries want to take that same approach to develop and grow their economies, they find themselves being harshly criticized and punished by the very countries that pioneered and embraced environmental degradation to kickstart their own economies.
Western countries must realize the sharp hypocrisy of this situation before they immediately jump to accuse others of environmental wrongdoings. This is not to imply that environmental regulations are not important or necessary for the future wellbeing of our world—because they most certainly are. But, these regulations were carefully crafted by many wealthy, Western, developed countries and have been strictly imposed on smaller nations that have contributed almost nothing to the environmental catastrophe we have on our hands today.
Building a sustainable future is one of the core values of the Himalayan Institute and is incorporated into all of our development initiatives. As mentioned above, countries that are going through the process of building and developing their economies today have had to get creative and be incredibly resourceful in the age of climate change—and they have all risen to the challenge. One of the Institute’s first endeavors in promoting sustainability abroad along with productive economic growth was through our Tibetan Refugee Settlement project. Our large-scale tree planting initiative, in coordination with Tibetan Refugee Settlements, provided sustainable job creation and economic growth by educating refugees on soil-replenishing energy farming techniques, using the Pongamia pinnata tree.
Farmers saw the benefits of organic crop diversification and its impact on environmental regeneration; subsequently implementing these methods on their own lands, resulting in improved soil quality, greater yields, and more financial stability. Our Tibetan Refugee Settlement project in India has since been passed along 100% to a local management team, and is an example of one of our most extensive environmental regeneration efforts. We successfully planted over 25,000 biofuel Pongamia pinnata trees, which continue to regenerate and heal the environment to this day.
Our regeneration and sustainability efforts continued when we launched our project in Cameroon, West Africa, and we continued planting trees to help with environmental regeneration. Divisional Director, Jeff Abella, also started a craft coffee and chocolate company called Moka Origins. Moka owns and operates its own cacao farm in Cameroon and uses cacao trees as a way to rehabilitate the environment as well as create employment. To date this farm has planted 10,000 trees, and the local farmers that run the plantation practice sustainable and environmentally friendly farming techniques.
Our most recent project that promotes environmental health and sustainability was our solar panel installation project at our main community center in Kumbo, Cameroon. Our incredibly talented and resourceful team members spent almost an entire year carefully planning this step towards a more sustainable future. The solar panels traveled all the way from India to our center in Kumbo, and were successfully installed just a few months ago. This system of solar panels will provide a consistent and independent source of electricity in an area of the country where electricity is usually sporadic.
This is just the start of our efforts to promote sustainable development and combat climate change, because we know that when our planet is happy and healthy, so are we. When we treat the earth with love and respect, we can only get good things in return. This is truly what yoga in action looks like. Donate now to help us continue to provide safe and sustainable futures for people throughout the world!