TABLE OF CONTENTS
| ecological handprints |
Foreword Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
In his Foreword, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and global ambassador of goodwill Desmond Tutu describes how Ecological Handprints “offer successful approaches to environmental and humanitarian problems that have plagued the world for decades — the profound need for greater human and ecological well-being.”
Today we are living on a globalized, interconnected, and environmentally compromised planet where one-third of humanity, primarily in the developing world, still lives in poverty. Unfortunately, many pathways to prosperity for the poor are both expensive and highly polluting. This chapter poses the question: how can more people affordably improve their standard of living without significant negative impacts on an already damaged biosphere?
Chapter One | Beyond the Footprint
Why is it crucial to find and promote integrated solutions – Ecological Handprints – to the humanitarian and ecological conditions we face today and in the days ahead? Just take a look at the data.
Chapter Two | Five Key Ingredients
A wide range of Ecological Handprints are already thriving all over the developing world. These practical, sustainable programs are models for how to move humanity forward in the ecologically challenging days ahead. This chapter highlights how triumphant programs typically contain vital keys to success.
Chapter Three | Handprints Around the World
For the last decade I’ve been on an international search for highly successful, low-cost, and ecologically sound pathways to prosperity. What I discovered were hundreds of ground-breaking efforts that both lift humanity and lower our ecological footprint.
Chapter Four | Lighting Done Right
Today, in this modern, high-tech world, over 1.3 billion people are still living without any access to electricity. Fortunately, a wide range of financially attractive and technologically brilliant alternatives are now bringing safe and clean light to those beyond the grid.
Chapter Five | What Works for Water — Access and Treatment
One in ten people alive today still struggle to obtain affordable, clean water. As part of a worldwide renaissance of awareness and action addressing water access and treatment, Ecological Handprints offer low cost, low carbon and yet highly effective options to address one of our most significant human health challenges.
Chapter Six | Cleaner, Safer Cooking
Almost 40% of the people living today cook with biofuels. Cooking over an open fire might seem romantic to some of us, but it actually has huge negative impacts on health, safety and biodiversity. There are, however, wonderful examples of clean cooking alternatives rapidly emerging in communities around the world.
Chapter Seven | Taking the Next Step
Ecological Handprints have great perspective, practice, and promise. What can we do to advance and expand these empowering innovations for the future of humanity? Here are the next steps!
Chapter Eight | Links to Leaders
In this final chapter you’ll find internet links to an array of outstanding efforts and organizations that help lift humanity from poverty in ecologically sound, affordable, and innovative ways.
| ecological handprints |
Is it not amazing how so frequently when someone hits on a solution for something that has bothered us for many years we remark “now why did it take us so long to discover something that in a way was so obvious?” Just think of how long we used to stagger around carrying our heavy suitcases until someone hit on the clever idea to “put the luggage on wheels” — and presto! Here we have an elegant solution to a generations old problem. Why did it take us so long?
The same could be said for our myopic and one-sided views on how to reduce poverty or protect the environment. In the past we’ve all too often treated helping the poor and helping the environment as two separate issues, when the reality is that they are inextricable. Additionally, we’ve relied on big governments and organizations to provide the answers, with mixed results.
Yet now we have Ecological Handprints — affordable, locally-driven and market-based solutions that lift humanity out of poverty while also lowering our ecological footprint. Brilliant! Ecological Handprints are a low-impact hand up from poverty and squalor that enhances the dignity and self-image of the beneficiaries. The psychological underpinning of this way of doing things is superb.
Like wheels on a suitcase, this approach offers successful remedies to a problem that has plagued us all for decades — the profound need for greater human and ecological well-being. By highlighting a wonderful array of integrated solutions that are rolling out all over the developing world, this book helps us understand why this perspective is so critical, what inspirational efforts are already underway, how it is they actually succeed, and what lessons they offer us all.
TODAY we are living on a globalized, interconnected, and environmentally compromised planet where one-third of us, primarily in the developing world, still live in poverty. Unfortunately, many pathways to prosperity for the poor are both expensive and highly polluting. So how can more people affordably improve their standard of living without significant negative impacts on an already damaged biosphere?
National Geographic Magazine stated that the future of humanity pivots on the answer to one simple question:
“How can we share and sustain the planet while lifting even more people into a better life?”
This insightful query highlights the twin mega-challenges we face in our globalized, interconnected and environmentally compromised world: how do we 1) lower our ecological footprint on planetary support systems such as atmosphere, fresh water, soil, forests, and fisheries, while 2) also fighting poverty and meeting the basic human needs of an ever growing world population? Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, expressed this same question as a course of action, saying succinctly, “We need to promote development that does not destroy our environment.”
Can we actually do this? Are there affordable, market-driven means to ecologically combat poverty? Is it already happening? If so, who has succeeded and what are their keys to success? What models exist that can be rapidly scaled up where they are, or adapted to other locales?
In the last decade I’ve been on a personal and professional journey to discover answers to these critical questions by seeking out effective model projects and programs that “share and sustain the planet while lifting even more people into a better life.” What I’ve discovered along the way are hundreds of success stories that I now call Ecological Handprints. Ecological because they lower our collective ecological footprint. Handprints because they touch the lives of local communities through improved human health and well-being.
These empowering stories illustrate how disadvantaged and disenfranchised people from around the developing world are finding solutions to poverty and addressing local needs through a blend of entrepreneurship, creative financing, high tech digital tools, and clean, green technologies.
Rocky Rohwedder, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Environmental Studies and Planning at Sonoma State University, located in Northern California. Over the past decade Dr. Rohwedder has taught and conducted research in over forty countries all over the world. For more than thirty years he has been a university professor of environmental science as well as an international consultant and keynote speaker. He has also served as a professor on multiple voyages with Semester at Sea.
Dr. Rohwedder’s consulting clients have included the US Agency for International Development and the US Peace Corps, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Lexicon of Sustainability, and the George Lucas Education Foundation. He currently serves on the Education Caucus of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Environmental Education and Communication.
“Dr. Rocky Rohwedder is a very practically-minded, generous, and knowledgeable humanitarian. He has been all over the world in search of positive examples and in turn has become a champion for splendid grassroots efforts with international potential. His important message and the stories in this book boost the morale of conscientious, dedicated indigenous women and men who want to lead full and healthy lives and are eager for the same for their families. They have found a principled and dedicated coworker in this splendid and committed academic.” — Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
For speaking engagements, feedback on this book, or other inquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org
I owe a debt of gratitude to far more people than I can acknowledge here. That said, I want to first extend my heartfelt thanks to the pioneering and empowering people all over the world whose Ecological Handprints fill the pages of this book. In a world that at times can feel filled with despair, their efforts help light a positive pathway forward for so many in the developing world — with extra benefits for all. By sharing these examples, I acknowledge their important work. I also hope to inspire others to support what they are doing. Perhaps even follow in their footsteps.
A special note of thanks to . . .
Sonoma State University and Semester at Sea for allowing me to integrate my field research, scholarship and teaching; Editor Fran Slayton for turning professor speak into more coherent prose; some amazing photographers — Annie Griffiths, Sameer Halai, Esther Havens, Lynn Johnson, Mark Katzman, and Ami Vitale — who generously shared their powerful images; and a team of dedicated practitioners and academics from around the world who have provided important feedback and insights on core content.
- Paula Hammett, Librarian, Sonoma State University
- Michelle Kreger, Chair of the Board, Potential Energy
- Daniele Susan Lantagne, Assistant Professor, Tufts University
- Evan Mills, Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories
- Ervand Peterson, Professor Emeritus, Sonoma State University
- Cathy Rogers, Vice President of Global Opportunities, IBM
- Pramod K. Sharma, Program Coordinator, Center for Environmental Education
- Daniel Soto, Assistant Professor, Sonoma State University
- James C. Stewart, Professor Emeritus, Sonoma State University and Associate, Global Footprint Network
- Robert Wilkinson, Adjunct Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara