Would you agree to live in a simulated slum?

I am incredibly impressed with Tristan Baker's service learning project! He summizes his project like this: "I helped run a slum experience called “48”, which is where high school students stay in a moderated slum for 48 hours both to raise funds and to raise awareness. My personal job was to be the “Master Builder” where I facilitated the repair/general maintenance and construction of the entire town. The funds raised from the experience went to missionaries in Nigeria who are teaching “16 brick” stove technology to the poor, which greatly reduces the amount of fuel needed to cook, which reduces the amount of trees harvested, and smoke inhalation, the third leading cause of death." 


The connections Tristan made to our course lessons were also very well done:

1. Chapter 11 – Nigeria was one the heart of Africa’s tropical rainforest belt, but it now has lost almost 95% of its forested land. Nigeria is also home to the fastest growing population on Earth, forecasted to exceed that of the United States by 2050, in a fraction of the space. As the population increases the need for fuel increases exponentially as each new person also desires a higher standard of living. By introducing 16 brick stove technology to the country it will allow the significant proportion of Nigerians who still rely on stoves for heat and to cook to vastly reduce the amount of wood needed to support the burgeoning population. Without some significant change current trends will quickly strip the entire country of its luscious forests upon which much of the wildlife depends.

2. Chapter 21 – Furthermore, the 16 brick stove technology provides a significant reduction in the carbon emissions produced by the population, which is beneficial in two ways. As the population of Nigeria continues to expand, even a small carbon footprint by a billion and a half people will have a significant both the health of the populace and the overall health of the planet. By reducing the carbon footprint of each individual one can significantly reduce the air pollution present in every part of the country. In addition, it will increase the quality of life for everyone as pollution related diseases fall. It should be noted that the current third leading cause of death in Nigeria is smoke inhalation due to prolonged exposure to smoke to fires which cook and heat the home every hour of every day.

3. Chapter 22 – In addition, one of the single greatest threats to Nigeria as a nation is long term environmental degradation. As time passes the livability (already tenuous in parts) will only decline as forests disappear and the air is increasingly unbreathable. By reducing the short term pollution one can hope reduce the effects of, or even stave off, the worst of climate change as a result of the over burning of wood and coal. By providing cheaper, more efficient technology one allows the people to take a personal initiative in the struggle to save one’s own country. One of the most influential tools in the arsenal of one struggling against climate change is personal involvement and dedication by the individual, because only then will the nation change in any palpable manner. By giving the individual a means to change and better themselves in addition to the environment one provides a catalyst in the development of an environmentally responsible and knowledgeable culture, the true and only key to staving off global warming.

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