Document Your Life #33 – After Hurricane Maria & Denying Climate Change

Cleaning up our garden after Hurricane Maria

Back in Punta Cana and it’s okay. You can definitely tell that a hurricane passed here, BUT it’s not that bad. Most of the damages that we saw driving from the airport to our house yesterday were broken/fallen trees and street signs & signs that have been knocked down.

Our house is okay too. Part of our mosquito net on our terrace has come off in two places. We can fix that.

The garden took a punch, for sure, but the gardeners are already out cleaning it up. They’re working today (on a Sunday), which is unusual. They’ve taken down one of our big trees and part of the tree that was struck by lightening – twice. That happened years ago. Maybe it’s cursed anyways.

Yesterday, it was raining a little. Today, it’s dry. There are a lot of clouds in the sky, and it’s so hot and humid. I went down to the beach in the afternoon and it looks surprisingly fine. People were out swimming and tanning again.

Sunday on Bavaro Beach - after Hurricane Maria

I feel glad to be back. Relieved that nothing happened here in Punta Cana like in e.g. Puerto Rico or Dominica. I feel horrible seeing the damages over there. People have lost everything. We were so, so, so lucky here in Punta Cana – again. I hate to say it, but I really feel like we’re covered by Puerto Rico…that whatever comes our way will hit the other islands first (as the first line of “defense”) and most likely deflect so we don’t get hit.

However, I hope this never happens again. It’s so naive to think and to say, I know. Of course, we’ll have more hurricanes. Heck, this year’s hurricane season isn’t even over and we still have October and November before we can finally say THE END of the 2017 hurricane season.

But then there’s next year. And next year. And the next…

I’ve seen several articles online that say hurricanes and natural disasters in general are fueled by man made climate change. They may not be caused by climate change, but the fact that we’re destroying and heating up the planet and the oceans certainly doesn’t help make things better…or less worse. I think this year has been a(nother) record year.

I just read an article in The New Yorker titled Eden is Broken: A Caribbean Leader Calls for Action on Climate Change. In the article, Dominica’s Prime Minister (Roosevelt Skerrit) is quoted as having said in his speech to the United Nation’s General Assembly this past week:

“To deny climate change is to procrastinate while the earth sinks; it is to deny a truth we have just lived. It is to mock thousands of my compatriots who in a few hours without a roof over their heads will watch the night descend on Dominica, in fear of sudden mudslides . . . and what the next hurricane may bring,” Skerrit said. “My fellow-leaders, there is no more time for conversation. There is little time left for action. While the big countries talk, the small island nations suffer. We need action and we need it now.”

I think he’s right.

Let’s do something about this.

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