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  • Writer's pictureJessica Kind

Newsletter - December 2020

Dear Friends of Tui’k Ruch’Lew/Helping the Earth,

It is with tremendous pride and gratitude to everyone involved that we announce that Tui’k Ruch’Lew has reached its next milestone. We are now part of the voluntary greenhouse gas emission market. The heart of our projects -- the ONIL stoves -- is a clean and innovative technology that was certified by VERRA following the Verified Carbon Standard. Thus we will be able to issue tradable greenhouse gas credits, also called verified carbon units (VCUs).

Did you know that three billion people cook their food on an open fire?

When entering a typical kitchen in Santiago Atitlan, you are welcomed by talk, laughter, and smoke -- gritty, eye-watering smoke that sticks in the throat and provokes deep, scratchy coughs. This smoke kills more than four million people annually and sickens millions more. To fuel these smoky fires, families spend 4 days a week or more gathering wood, time that might otherwise be spent at school, at work, or simply at rest. Cooking a simple meal becomes a major health issue, consumes excessive amounts of natural resources, and is at the same time a significant barrier to sustainable economic development.

Since 2016, we at Tui’k Ruch’Lew address these environmental, social, and economic obstacles with our improved cookstove program. As an innovative and forward-thinking organization, we wanted to know quantitatively how much we are actually helping the Earth. That is why we started the carbon certification project last autumn.

Offset your carbon footprint with us!

Our improved cookstove program constantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions because the ONIL cookstove uses 70% less fuel than the open fires commonly used in the Lake Atitlan region. In addition, our team regularly services the ONIL stoves, which increases their energy efficiency, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Based on our analysis, we know that a single ONIL cookstove offsets three tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in its first year of use while also improving health, quality of life, and livelihoods. (Three tonnes of CO2(e) emissions equal about one-fifth of the average per capita emissions in the US.)

We all know by now: the temperature is rising, forests are burning, glaciers are melting, cities are flooded. And this is just the beginning. Climate change is a very serious problem and one of the biggest responsibilities of our time. The objective is clear: to become carbon neutral by 2030. And according to science, we only have two strategies to reach this ambitious goal: reduce emissions and increase the carbon sinks. With our improved cookstove project, we are contributing to both strategies (burning less firewood and protecting the native forests from deforestation). YOU are helping us work toward these key strategies.

Call to Action!

Your support continues to be critical, especially during this time of stress. Not only is climate change affecting daily life in Santiago Atitlan (e.g., increasing food insecurity), but the pandemic is having a devastating effect on the people in our community.

Today, on this day of International Climate Action, we are asking you to help us do what we can to support our friends and neighbors. Please consider offsetting your personal carbon footprint with us. For our friends and supporters we will reserve a limited amount of carbon credits. Together, we can calculate your carbon footprint and discuss the offset mechanisms we offer. Let’s turn ambitions into success for the people and the planet.

Please also forward our newsletter to friends and family--many people are looking for new ways to help.

Thank you again for your continued support,

The Tui’k Ruch’Lew Team.

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