This week we’re looking at Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15, Life on Land. We believe that following UN's SDGs is the best way for NGOs, corporations, and individuals to work across the world toward the same goals using the same standards. Per the UN, “Forests cover 30.7 per cent of the Earth’s surface and, in addition to providing food security and shelter, they are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population. By protecting forests, we will also be able to strengthen natural resource management and increase land productivity.” Santiago Atitlán is surrounded by secondary and primary forest, home to flora and fauna that people travel the world over to experience. Unfortunately, financial desperation and a lack of educational opportunity drives deforestation and mono-cropping on the slopes of the volcano, destroying habitat and decreasing the potential for environmental tourism.
TRL is mitigating deforestation with the introduction of the ONIL stove. As we said last week, ONIL stoves reduce wood use by one tree per family per month - a pretty substantial amount! Over the nearly 2,000 stoves that we’ve installed so far, 237,360 trees will be saved from being cut from the forests surrounding Lake Atitlán. This is a step in the right direction, but we have a ways to go. Between 2010 and 2015, the world lost 3.3 million hectares in forest area.
Sustainable forest management is a challenge throughout Guatemala. It is going to take a lot more than efficient cookstoves to fix the issue and most of the change necessary needs to occur on a far larger scale. Previously successful models in the Maya Biosphere Reserve are under threat. But we are positive that no matter how small, we’re playing an important part in affecting technological and behavioral change. We believe that changes in attitudes and expectations are at least as important as technological change, and our Environmental Education Program ensures that our beneficiaries will learn about climate change, and its impacts and drivers, on both a local and international scale