Haitian Studies Association

Working Groups

Working across Disciplines toward an Environmental Understanding for Haiti

Konbit miltidisiplinè pou konesans anviwònman ann Ayiti

“Devastated Landscape,” Henry Nickson, Cap Haitian, 2003, courtesy Elizabeth Deloughry. Photo by Jon Ries.

 

The recently convened working group (konbit) on the environment of the Haitian Studies Association (HSA) held its first public presentation at HSA’s 32nd Annual Conference, “Nou La Pi Rèd! Embodying a New Praxis.” The presentation took place in virtual webinar format on the Zoom platform, with live streaming to Facebook, on October 7th. Speakers across disciplines ranging from environmental sciences and agriculture to religion and musicology but with a common interest in the past, present, and future of Haiti’s ecosystems presented problems and perspectives from their research and application. LeGrace Benson moderated. Presenters included Marc Cohen, Evens Emmanuel, Gerdès Fleurant, Ellie Happel, and Jean Wiener. Karen Richman provided a summary, and Rebecca Dirksen announced the Journal of Haitian Studies special issue on the environment. We thank HSA—especially President Mark Schuller, Julio Perez Centeno, and Darlene Dubuisson—for providing the platform and technical support.

Watch the session on YouTube.

The Konbit membership, currently at fifteen, met virtually on December 1. You may find meeting notes here.

We have created a bibliography on the environment, available for viewing here. This is a work-in-progress, and we intend to transfer it to a database, where items may be searched in a variety of ways. The Konbit also aims to place special emphasis on the work of environmentalists on the ground in Haiti. Suggestions are welcome.

The Konbit has also proposed creation of a blog. We will keep readers posted on the progress of this proposal.

Our purpose

Through this working session, we aim to (1) define a set of recommendations for management of Haitian land and natural resources in a time of climate change and profound environmental challenges, and (2) develop more effective models of environmental communication moving forward. Haitian history bears numerous approaches to environmental policy, ranging from excessive resource exploitation (at the level of central government) to a more balanced exchange that sees humans as integral participants within the ecosystem (at the level of a decentralized rural population). The balance of power weighted toward the former pole has brought large-scale destruction of ecosystems and loss of resources. Furthermore, such externally imposed policies as those of the United States Occupation (1915–34) have exacerbated the erosion of Haiti’s ecosystems. Today, Haiti ranks among the most vulnerable nations to climate change.

We hope to include Haitianists from a range of academic disciplines (natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities) and practitioners with diverse language, gender, and generational perspectives. This working session will examine case studies of programs directly involved in such initiatives as shoreline restoration, forestry, water resources management, and sustainable agricultural programs. We are particularly seeking those who can report on cooperative collaborations with ordinary residents, citing their insights, concerns, advice, and resistance. Participants will identify models with the potential to revolutionize policy and compile a set of future possibilities based on grounded realities.

Contact:

LeGrace Benson (lead convener), legrace.benson@gmail.com

Lois Wilcken (co-convener), makandal@earthlink.net

 

Kreyòl

Konbit miltidisiplinè pou konesans anviwònman ann Ayiti a, yon konbit etabli ane sa anba patwonaj Asosyasyon Etid Ayisyen an (AEA), te fè premye kòlòk li. Sesyon an pase 7 òktòb pandan 32yèm Konferans Anyèl AEA (Nou La Pi Rèd! Annou bay fòm nouvo pratik-teyori jarèt) kòm wèbina sou platfòm Zoom, avèk difizyon an dirèk sou Facebook. Konferansye yo te reprezante divès disiplin depi nan syans anviwònmantal yo ak agrikilti jis relijyon ak mizikoloji, poutan tout swiv istwa ekosistèm ayisyen yo ak anpil enterè. Yo te prezante tout pwoblèm, tout pèspektiv ki soti nan rechèch ak aplikasyon yo. LeGrace Benson te modere. Men konferansye yo: Marc Cohen, Evens Emmanuel, Gerdès Fleurant, Ellie Happel, avèk Jean Wiener. Karen Richman te bay yon rezime, epi Rebecca Dirksen t anonse yon nimewo espesyal Jounal Etid Ayisyen ki mete askan sou anviwònman Ayisyen an. Konbit la remèsye AEA—espesyalman Prezidan Mark Schuller, Julio Perez Centeno, ak Darlene Dubuisson—ki ba nou platfòm nan ak sipò teknik.

Gade sesyon an sou YouTube.

Aktyèlman Konbit la sanble kenz moun. Yo reyini vityèlman premye desanm pase. Nou mèt jwenn nòt reyinyon sa yo isit.

Ansanm nou te kreye yon bibliyografi sou anviwònman an ki disponib pou tout itilizatè/èz entènèt yo gade bò isit. Travay sa ankou, epi nou gen entansyon transfere l a yon bank enfòmasyon pou itilizatè/èz yo chache nan divès fason. Anplis, Konbit la bezwen mete aksan sou travay fèt pa chèchè ak aktivis baze ann Ayiti yo. Nou akeyi konsèy nou.

Konbit la gen lide etabli yon blog. N ap bay rapò pwojè sa tanzantan.

Rezon Konbit la

Nan gwoup travay sa a, nou pral mete tèt nou ansanm pou nou (1) idantifye yon seri rekòmandasyon pou jere tè ansanm avèk lòt resous natirèl nan mitan chanjman klimatik ak lòt defi nan anviwònman an, epi (2) devlope kèk bon modèl pou nou kominike sou pwoblèm anviwònman an apre sesyon sa a. Nan istwa peyi d Ayiti, yo konn sèvi ak diferan apwòch sou kesyon regleman sou anviwònman soti sou esplwatasyon resous san limit (nan nivo gouvènman santral la) rive sou yon sistèm ki pi balanse kote yo gade moun kòm eleman ki fè on sèl ak sistèm ekolojik la (nan nivo popilasyon riral desantralize). Premye apwòch la gen tandans kraze sistèm ekolojik la anpil, li gen tandans detwi resous yo. Anplis, politik peyi etranje yo—tankou jan peyi Etazini te enpoze Ayiti sa pou l fè pandan premye okipasyon an (1915–34)—te ogmante ewozyon ekosistèm peyi a. Jounen jodi a, Ayiti pami peyi ki gen plis defi nan kesyon chanjman klimatik.

Nou ta renmen rasanble espesyalis k ap travay sou Ayiti ki nan diferan domèn akademik (syans natirèl, syans sosyal, ak syans imèn) ansanm ak moun ki reprezante divès pwennvi sou koze lang, idantite seksyèl, moun diferan jenerasyon, elatriye. Konbit sa a pral etidye pwogram ki enplike dirèkteman nan travay tankou restorasyon bòdmè, pran swen forè yo, jesyon dlo, ak agrikilti dirab. Nou enterese anpil nan tande temwayay moun ki nan koperativ kolaborasyon ak moun ki rete nan kominote yo, epi ki ka pataje esperyans yo, enkyetid yo, konsèy yo, ak rezistans yo. Patisipan yo ap gen pou yo idantifye modèl ki gen kapasite potansyèl, epi konpile on seri rekòmandasyon ki konekte ak reyalite yo.

Nou remèsye Espas Kreyòl pou asistans a tradiksyon an.

Kontak:

LeGrace Benson (Premye Metrès Lanbi), legrace.benson@gmail.com

Lois Wilcken (Dezyèm Metrès Lanbi), makandal@earthlink.net