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If you have not done so, please read the Healing Earth Introduction before proceeding through this chapter. The Introduction gives you background terms and explanations necessary for understanding the chapter.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic are Caribbean countries that share the island of Hispaniola. Haiti is almost completely deforested while its neighbor, the Dominican Republic, is not. Do you know why? Read this interesting explanation by geographer Jared Diamond.

Our lives depend on nature's energy. Lighting the darkness, cooking our food, heating our homes--these basic requirements for survival rely on energy. Yet, human beings around the world are living with more and more uncertainty as to energy availability. An estimated 2 billion people do not have access to modern energy services. In regions where traditional biomass is the main source of energy, resources are dwindling. The island nation of Haiti has only 1% of its forest remaining because few people have anything else to use for fuel.

Meeting the energy needs of human beings depends on a thorough understanding of the science of energy. Acting to meeting those needs in an environmentally and socially responsible way depends on ethical analysis and spiritual reflection. As with every topic in Healing Earth, today's energy challenges must be approached from the standpoint of an integral ecology--a standpoint that integrates science, ethics, spirituality, and action.