“Save the Devil”
The Story of Two Families Fighting for Life
Written by Becky Rosaler on May 13, 2014 in General, News & Events
In 1997, Plant With Purpose launched a program in Haiti. The country became the third to adopt our transformational development approach, which works at the intersection of poverty and environmental degradation. As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and with only two percent of its natural forest standing, Haiti was over-qualified as a place to focus our efforts.
In Haiti, families living on the steep hillsides prepare their food over open flames and heat their homes the same way. Lack of gas and electrical infrastructure leaves them with no choice but to utilize natural resources. Selling fuel-wood or converting trees into charcoal to turn a profit are quick ways for the poor to make money. This causes further environmental degradation that not only affects the hillsides but also the soil, waterways, plants, and animals. It is in Haitian families’ struggle for survival that we find another family struggling for its existence.
The Black-capped Petrel is a little black bird known as the Diablotin (or “Devil”) by locals. This bird’s existence is dependent on the very land that farming families rely on to produce food. Which raises the question, can these two families fighting for the same resources both survive?
At Plant With Purpose, we see biodiversity as an indicator of the health of an ecosystem. And the health of an ecosystem indicates the health of a community. Biodiversity is necessary for life. Plants turn sunlight into sugars and convert CO2 to oxygen. Insects pollinate flowers, which turn into fruits and vegetables. Organisms both micro and macro act as decomposers. Food webs are intricate systems that work together to maintain the living relationships within an ecosystem. And we continue living life as God’s well-designed cosmic dance takes place all around us.
The English poet John Drinkwater once wrote, “When you defile the pleasant streams and the wild bird’s abiding place, you massacre a million dreams and cast your spittle in God’s face.”
The dream of seeing people live with God-given hope and dignity is one that we strive to see brought to reality at Plant With Purpose. Partnering communities in Haiti are working toward this dream. And at the same time, they’re protecting and restoring the streams, the forests, the hillsides, and the habitat that the Diablotin depends on.
“Can we save the Devil and save ourselves in the process?”
We’re excited to share about a unique collaboration has formed between conservationists, humanitarians, Haitians, and filmmakers. Save the Devil is a full-length documentary (currently in production) that shares the story of the Black-capped Petrel and a family that farms the hills of Haiti. To learn more, watch the trailer. Find and follow Save the Devil on social media. And join with us as we anticipate seeing this story of conservation in an area of poverty unfold on the big screen.