Venezuelans hit by cooking gas shortages look to forests for firewood

Venezuelans hit by cooking gas shortages look to forests for firewood

A one-minute audio clip made the rounds on Venezuelan Twitter last year, in which a state official being interviewed on a radio show tells citizens that, because of ongoing national shortages, they should pick and choose when to cook with gas. “Save it to make pasta, rice and those things,” said Dante Rivas, protector of Nueva Esparta state. “When you go to make beans or some other grain, you are going to do it with firewood.” The backlash to his comments was so strong because many Venezuelans had already been cooking exclusively with firewood for years, having given up on finding a consistent source of propane for their stoves and ovens. Firewood and charcoal have become a part of life for millions of Venezuelans across the country, especially in small towns and rural areas where access to gas is even scarcer than it is in cities. Yet as firewood becomes a domestic staple, some conservationists are expressing concern about what impact it might be having on the country’s forests. “The Venezuelan state is not able to provide its citizens with basic services,” said Bram Ebus, an investigator for international policy think tank Crisis Group. “Therefore, the country’s most marginalized populations are condemned to destroying their natural surroundings as they try to cope with multiple crises.” Gas canisters stacked up in the state of Miranda, Venezuela. Image via Twitter, Gobierno de Miranda More than 80% of Venezuelan families rely on propane gas, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Public Services. The…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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