September 4, 2003 - Trees for the Future: The Loret Miller Ruppe Center for Sustainable Development

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: Peace Corps Director Loret Ruppe Miller (1981 - 1989): Loret Ruppe Miller: September 4, 2003 - Trees for the Future: The Loret Miller Ruppe Center for Sustainable Development

By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 8:56 pm: Edit Post

The Loret Miller Ruppe Center for Sustainable Development

The Loret Miller Ruppe Center for Sustainable Development

Loret Miller Ruppe was Director of the United States Peace Corps throughout the 1980's. Until her death in 1996, she lived with husband, former Congressman Phil Ruppe and their daughters in nearby Bethesda, Maryland. Loret was a genuine hero to us here at TREES, as to many former Peace Corps volunteers. She took over an organization half-dead from bureaucratic apathy and again made it a bright symbol to the world of what Americans can be. She showed us that Peace through Development is the only possible way any of us can have a future.

When we were finally able to gain a permanent home here in Silver Spring in 1998, it was only logical that we name it after Loret. And, in doing so, we dedicated ourselves to continuing her vision.

The timing was right. We are starting new projects at a record pace: more people in the world's most devastated lands are finding out about us, contacting us by mail, fax and telephone, by e-mail - sometimes they just walk in the door. All are asking for, and receiving, our help. At the same time our program continues to evolve - we think for the better. Looking back those 30 years, it seemed once to be fairly simple: people had a problem and we figured out a way to fix it by planting trees. It always seemed to work. But it wasn't enough then and it's certainly not enough now. If these projects are to bring all the possible benefits, and to do so for that future we include in our name, we must be able to provide a wide range of practical, appropriate, and affordable technology, over a long period of time. That means not just sharing what we know but also gaining from the experience of others and sharing this as well. We're no longer just "tree planters". Now we see our work as environmentally sustainable economic development.

You think about that for a minute: How can there be economic development if it's not environmentally sustainable? And how can projects to save the environment be maintained if they don't bring the participants economic benefit? And going back to Loret's vision, how can we have World Peace if we can't save the environment and help people? That's the challenge facing the Loret Ruppe Center.

That challenge gets even more daunting. Since our country cut back its program of international development, many of the former participants have closed or reduced their technical libraries. A lot of very useful technology is no longer available - and more is disappearing every day.

On the bright side, worldwide communications are now faster, cheaper and more available than ever before. New technical miracles appear every day. For people living even in the most remote villages of the developing world, new doors are opening. Even our project leaders in communities where there is no electricity find their way to a "cybercafe" when they need to know something. They get answers.

There is now no reason that any farmer, herder, fisherman, the owner of any small business, anywhere on earth, should not have access to information that will improve his livelihood, his health, the quality of life in his community - as long as we are willing to share with him. That's what the Loret Ruppe Center is doing.In this, with the support of our members, we are making rapid strides. Other organizations including PVO's working for development and institutions of higher learning are "net-working" with us in a cooperative effort to make more information about sustainable development available. But we are still far short of meeting the needs of all those who desperately need better ideas and better planning support.

To that end, we seek additional help from concerned individuals, from development agencies, from socially responsible businesses and foundations, to help bring Loret's vision of Peace through Development to all those people who desperately want to be part of it.

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Story Source: Trees for the Future

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Peace Corps Directors - Ruppe Millter; Development; sustainable Development; Trees; Service



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