PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI- Environmental advocate and lawyer, Heather Leibowitz, joined the Jack Brewer Foundation (“JBF”) and a delegation of nearly 100 Global Ambassadors who traveled to Haiti this week with the aim to better the lives of Haiti’s citizens and educate others. Partnering with various philanthropic organizations and public figures, the foundation prioritized various humanitarian issues, including environmental concerns.
The JBF’s Global Ambassadors made an impact in Haiti with a full itinerary of philanthropic endeavors, which included a tree planting project aimed to address Haiti’s deforestation crises. Leibowitz joined individuals including Clinton Portis (NFL All Pro), Carlos Dunlap (NFL All Pro), Julz Goddard(Entertainer and Director of Vibes), Karen Civil (Celebrity PR and Brand Ambassador), Sidney Rice (Super Bowl Champion and NFL All Pro), Na’il Diggs(Former NFL Player), and Jenny Watwood (International Model) in planting over 100 trees and raising awareness.
Although about a third of Haiti is covered in trees, the deforestation problem in the country is significant. Deforestation on this scale has contributed significantly to a host of problems like loss of soil from erosion, higher and more extreme incidences of flooding, degradation of water resources, and habitat destruction.
“While planting trees is important to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, trees do so much more,” says Leibowitz. “Trees play a substantial role in protecting the health of the environment and in turn, the health of people.”
The problems the Brewer Foundation are working to tackle are difficult, as significant social and economic challenges need to be overcome.
“Being there and witnessing the level of poverty and suffering first hand made such a powerful impression,” said Na’il Diggs, a former NFL Player. “I thought it was ironic that we did a tree planting event during the tour. Seeing what I needed to see at a certain point in my life was the ultimate gift from Haiti. It also reminded me to give the people something in return beyond my empathy and love. Planting those trees allowed me to leave something behind that will help Haiti’s environment, economy and health as well. It was a great honor to be there and to be given so much humility.”
“Despite the difficulties of fighting deforestation, sustaining our trees and forests is critical to health and well-being,” says Leibowitz. “We need to plant for the future we want. With Arbor Day and Earth Day coming up later this month, there is no better time to act than right now.”