Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Green Resolution for 2009 - Dr. Anne Hallum of the Alliance for International Reforestation (AIR)

We continue with our journey looking to learn more about our partners' green resolutions for 2009, and today we have a very special guest: Dr. Anne Hallum, Founder and Director of the Alliance for International Reforestation (AIR), which is one of Eco-Libris planting partners.

AIR is working mainly in Guatemala, where it plants trees and is involved in other activities such as
providing environmental education for teachers and farmers, digging wells, building fuel-efficient brick ovens. AIR was founded by Dr. Anne Hallum in 1992 at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, where she serves as a Political Science Professor.

In its first year of operations Eco-Libris planted more than 25,000 trees with AIR. You are welcome to learn more about it from our annual assessment of these operations.

Dr. Anne Hallum and residents reforesting a hillside near Xetonox, 2008. Photo courtsey of AIR.

Hello Anne.
What's your professional green resolution for 2009?
To plant even more trees in Guatemala, and to write successful grants for expansion. I will also be teaching two Environmental politics classes this semester, so another professional resolution is to engage and motivate students to “green the campus” (to buy Eco-Libris stickers, for instance).

If you have a personal green resolution for 2009, what is it?
My personal green resolution is to make our backyard more of a refuge for birds: more birdbaths, bird houses, planting more trees, and leaving any dead ones standing for woodpeckers. Almost 80 percent of North American bird species are in decline from habitat loss. I also resolve to continue to reduce my own use of water and carbon fuels….

What’s your green wish for 2009?
My green wish is for world leaders to quickly negotiate a new Protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to give it some teeth.
(Meanwhile, I wish for environmental activism on the ground to continue to spread.)

If you have any other greetings, please feel free to add them.
The AIR staff in Guatemala send heartfelt thanks to every person who bought Eco-Libris stickers, and to every bookstore and publisher who sold them.
We have several tree nurseries in Guatemala, dedicated to growing trees in your name.

Any other plans for 2009?
AIR-Guatemala was just awarded a small grant from the United Nations (UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues), to build more fuel-efficient stoves! This is a prestigious recognition that AIR works directly with indigenous people. Every stove conserves a ton of firewood a year; and each family with a stove volunteers in planting many trees. We also plan to plant trees to protect the Mayuelas River watershed, in a brand new region of Guatemala.

Happy New Year, For the Earth!

Anne Hallum, The Alliance for International Reforestation (AIR)

Thanks, Anne!

Here's more about AIR:

The Alliance for International Reforestation (AIR) is a non-profit organization working to make a difference for the people of Guatemala and Nicaragua. AIR was founded by Political Science Professor Anne M. Hallum in 1992 at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. AIR's objective is to assist local communities in Central America to conserve their environment through reforestation, sustainable farming, and education. So far, AIR planted more than 3 million trees in Guatemala and Nicaragua. In 2004, AIR was named The Best Environmental NGO in Guatemala for 2004, by the national government's forestry institute in Guatemala.

AIR works to initiate continuous reforestation programs at the community level. All of AIR's projects are based on the philosophy that direct community involvement in all phases of the projects, from their design to their implementation, is essential for the success and sustainability of project activities.

The daily destruction of forests that occurs in Guatemala is a serious problem - each year more than 1620 square kilometers are deforested. This has already had a severe negative impact on the environment: water sources are quickly disappearing, 65% of Guatemalan soil is considered highly susceptible to erosion and air quality is deteriorating rapidly. In addition, deforestation leads to the depletion of essential nutrients in the soils, especially those used for agricultural activities. As these soils become drained of nutrients and no longer support agriculture, populations migrate to virgin areas and conduct slash-and-burn activities, continuing the cycle of deforestation.

The replanting of trees on community lands, in addition to otherwise conserving the environment, replenishes soil nutrients, and therefore decelerates the destruction of the virgin forests that remain in Guatemala.

More information on AIR can be found on its website:

AIR's First Year Assessment:

Women who work at AIR's nursery in San Andres ,Itzapa, Guatemala, which is supported by Eco-Libris. AIR has worked here for six years, producing and planting tens of thousands of trees.
Photo courtsey of AIR.

So far on "My Green Resolution for 2009":

Surendra James Conti of East West Bookstore

Jennifer Taylor of GreetQ

Bill Roth, author of "On Empty (Out of Time)"

Vonda Schaefer of Valley Books

Madeline Kaplan, author of "Planet Earth Gets Well"

Chris Flynn of Torpedo

Edain Duguay of Wyrdwood Publications

Raz @ Eco-Libris