Firewood is a precious commodity in Malawi. If you think about it just a minute, that makes sense. In the village, and even many places in the city, fires are the main source of cooking, light and heat. No matter where you travel, small fires are everywhere as people use them for these purposes.
All these fires demand fuel, and most of the fuel comes from trees. Villagers cut down the trees for wood. Others harvest wood to sell at roadside stands as a source of income. Over the years this has become a real problem. Deforestation has taken a toll. Fewer trees changes the environment. The ecosystem is impacted, and both man and animals suffer. There is more run off, less ground water, more heat, and the food supply is reduced.
Deforestation does not have an easy fix, but strides are being made. New methods of cooking have been introduced, new fuels, and people are beginning to realize the importance of saving trees. Y-Malawi Partner, The Nkhoma Youth Department is engaging by having Youth Clubs work together to plant new trees. These young people are making an impact. They are learning about the importance of protecting environmental resources and investing their lives in changing the future.
The pay off will take time, but changing a culture always does. The best part is that this generation is making a lasting difference!