Sustainable Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico – A Community Dialogue

by Nicole Wines

Our community shined tonight, raising over $320 for sustainable relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Thank you to everyone who participated!

It got heated. It was passionate. Thoughts and opinions flew. Information, ideas and experiences were shared. It was a true community dialogue.

Tonight, Raíces Cultural Center’s Eco-Culture program presented a slideshow and facilitated a discussion on Sustainable Disaster Relief. We focused on the example of what is currently happening in Puerto Rico post-hurricane María, because the island is so near and dear to our hearts and we have such a strong connection to the island with family, friends and collaborators living there. This was the first in a new lecture series organized by OQ Coffee Co. in Highland Park, NJ, and we made sure to start out their series with a bang! One of the big takeaways from the dialogue is that we have to be sure to think about the social and political history of the island when reflecting on the current situation there, and that when speaking about sustainability we must include not only environmental and ecological sustainability, but also economic, emotional, mental, cultural and spiritual sustainability.

Raíces would like to thank all who attended the program, added their voice to the mix and made a donation to our PR Sustainable Relief Fund. An extra special thank you goes out to OQ Coffee’s Charlotte Taylor who invited us to share and dialogue with the community and to OQ itself for offering its space as a place to have this dialogue, as well as sharing some delicious coffee and snacks. We also want to thank all who could not attend, but shared event information in their networks and helped to spread the word.

During tonight’s discussion, not only did participants’ emotions emerge, but so did their generosity. Thanks to all who participated and gave, we raised a total of $322 to add to our PR Sustainable Relief Fund. This brings our total funds raised for this effort to $620 of our $1,000 goal! 100% of these funds will be donated directly to Casa Pueblo for their grassroots, on the ground, frontline, sustainable relief efforts in Puerto Rico, when we make our own relief work journey there in January 2018. Thank you to all who have helped us move towards our goal! Couldn’t make it tonight, but still want to donate to help us reach our goal? You can give through our Paypal or Network for Good accounts and designate the donation for “Casa Pueblo”. We will send you a donation letter and update you on total funds raised before we leave for Puerto Rico this January.

Interested in learning and discussing more? Be sure to keep an eye on our program calendar, as we will be planning additional presentations, dialogues and programs about the the current situation in Puerto Rico from the perspective of local residents who have recently traveled there to do relief work, and start checking our Digital Archive exhibits in January, as we start to post media and documentation of the situation on the island from our friends and collaborators who have traveled there post-María. If you are looking for additional information about the organizations we highlighted that are doing sustainable relief and rebuilding work on the island of Puerto Rico, please check out their websites:

 

Photo Gallery from tonight’s dialogue on Sustainable Disaster Relief


Comments

Sustainable Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico – A Community Dialogue — 4 Comments

  1. Here’s where the real heat in tonight’s discussion resides:

    http://inthesetimes.com/features/puerto_rico_colonialism_hurricane_vulture_funds.html

    It’s easy to look through the lens of an American citizen that’s not Puertorican born, raised and living there, then talk about sustainability for the island. The eye looking through that lens is a bit myopic at best.

    Nicole, you say: “One of the big takeaways from the dialogue is that we have to be sure to think about the social and political history of the island when reflecting on the current situation there, and that when speaking about sustainability we must include not only environmental and ecological sustainability, but also economic, emotional, mental, cultural and spiritual sustainability.”

    And you’re right, but I’ll take all the social and political history over the few things you mention in that paragraph! The vultures are circling and the prey is Puerto Rico…..

  2. I saw this presentation last nite.
    Amazing and powerful. The presentation (talk and slides) discusses justice and culture and colonization, as well as farming, solar, seeds.

    And about spiritual, emotional and mental sustainability – very important.

    It is about turning a catastrophe into an opportunity to build an ecological society, one based on the peoples’ needs, not based on the needs of capitalism and the colonizers.
    I had read about the possibility of this transformation, but I thot it was hokum, until I saw this presentation and heard from people who have been there.

    More people should view this!
    It has changed me from being mired in pain about Puerto Rico, to having some hope that the future may be better. Not just better than the present, but better than the past.

    If I could make one critique, it would be to say more about vulture capitalism.

    I hope you can show it again.

  3. Thank you for your presentation last night. It was informative on many levels. Every year that I’ve visited Puerto Rico since 1981, I’ve seen how the island changed both for the better and the worst. The past weeks since the hurricane have been difficult for the people there and the family abroad, who like me feel helpless and worried for our island’s future. I’m not an environmentalist or eco-friendly as some of you are but I have a deep respect for it and am willing to learn and grow because our people and really the world needs to.Your work is important and I’d like to be involved and be of support and grow as a person with more awareness and respect for our environment. Sustainable methods of helping just makes 100% sense and any argument against it is illogical! I wish I could elaborate more on this topic but I’ll have to reserve my words for another time. Thank you for all your hard work!

  4. As I told you last night, Norma, your input was instrumental in getting much needed first hand info out to the community! Your experiences, having visited the island shortly after María, was so vital in getting people to think about what is really going on there at present.

    You need not be an environmentalist or eco friendly all the time; Raíces is a wonderful organization to start thinking differently about the things you have come to hold so dear. Those thoughts revolve around the future of your precious children, and the love you have for your parents, who are still on the island.

    So you see, you’re already doing eco work in the area of sustainable spirituality, which is one of the Raíces branches that fall under our umbrella of Ecology, as we discussed last night.

    We hope to see more of you and your valuable participation in Raíces – Once again, thank you so very much for your input last night!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.