MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Living in Harmony with Nature
Protecting and restoring our natural environment is fundamental to ending hunger and abject poverty. Rural community members are primarily food farmers and their well-being is most closely tied to the natural environment. As millions around the globe awaken to the threat of climate change, it is incumbent on us to recognize that, in the quest for a sustainable future, the severely disempowered individuals of the developing world are on the front lines.
In India, wells were dry three months of the year, forcing women to walk for hours to get water. Thousands of trained women panchayat (village council) leaders have led campaigns to install water-harvesting systems on every house and school in their villages.
At our epicenters across Africa, villagers learn composting, intercropping, and other methods to improve crop yields and restore soil fertility through organic methods. Epicenters have pioneered the use of drip irrigation, making the best use of scarce resources. Simple foot-operated treadle pumps allow irrigation with minimal effort, reducing the amount of land and time needed to produce crops.
In Bangladesh, trained village leaders, called "animators," and volunteer students mobilize tree-planting mass-action campaigns. Animators have established hundreds of village tree nurseries, which then become entrepreneurial village businesses, supplying families with fruit trees that not only capture carbon, but also provide impoverished families with nutrition and income.
In Mexico, fifty families in the village of Ignacio Zaragoza, with technical support from college volunteers, established a recycling business and partnered with a local company that grants points for every kilo of refuse collected. The points can be traded for commodities needed by the villages; for example, cement, which the villagers used to repair homes damaged in recent flooding. The business has now expanded to the surrounding six villages, making it the largest recycling company in the state.