It was just a quick trip to Santiago Atitlan to visit friends. Then I met the TRL team. Now I'm hooked! TRL (Tui’k Ruch’Lew, Helping the Earth in the Mayan language) is a local not-for-profit group that is providing low-cost energy-efficient cookstoves and water filters to local families in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala (see photo). I'm now one of their committed supporters.
Since 2017, I've watched TRL grow and evolve, even tackling the challenges of the pandemic, which has hit this small Mayan community with devastating force. In addition to providing food baskets to local families, TRL has been planning the installation of biogas digesters, which will prevent wastewater from entering Lake Atitlan and create cooking fuel and garden fertilizer. This project will help the local community protect their environment from further deforestation while creating sustainable job opportunities.
TRL is doing what we all know we should be doing: Reducing Our Carbon Footprint. When I met the TRL team in 2017 and saw what they were achieving with minimal funds, I knew I had to help. Since then, I've been supporting them with donations when possible (I'm retired) and helping with mailings, the newsletter, and any other requests. I am trying to do what I can at home, of course, but my support for TRL is so much more tangible. Each installed cookstove cuts carbon emissions by about four tons during just the first year, and the cookstoves also immediately improve the health and livelihood of each family.
It's clear, TRL is on the move. This past year, they qualified for Verra's Verified Carbon Standard [Improved Cookstove Project for Lake Atitlan] for the cookstove project. TRL estimates that during their first 7-year monitoring period, the cookstove project in Santiago Atitlan reduced greenhouse emissions by about 13,000 tons of CO2(e), equaling about 110,000,000 kms driven by an average passenger vehicle - that's 2’700 trips around the world. TRL is ready to enter the growing voluntary carbon market to sell carbon credits, which will help ensure the program's self-sufficiency.
The Lake Atitlan community is a true paradise with one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. But it is suffering from severe pollution. Thanks to TRL's hard work and all of our donations, the degradation is beginning to slow. Please continue to support TRL and make a donation today.