The many-faced fight of climate change
The many-faced fight of climate change
Survival Beach Aguadilla Photo by Luis G Rosado
By Isatis Marié Cintrón Rodríguez / engage4climate.org
Jun 3, 2016

I am island born. Growing up with wind styling my hair, the sun kissing my salty skin and sand between my toes, I was told it could all be taken away. I fail to pin-point a specific moment in time where my climate action story began.

Maybe it was the fear of trading the relaxing sound of the sea with gushing waves against people’s walls. Maybe it was courage instilled in the mountains of Caimito where people resisted, fiercely, against urban expansion and environmental disruption in San Juan. Maybe it was my access to privileged education to help me understand the disconnection between rules and practice. It allowed me to grasp and describe the endless loop of global interconnections. Regardless of the blurred lines of time, when I think about my story I don’t think about it as being isolated.

I think about the story of us.

For a long time, I thought about climate change as a scientific problem, but enlightenment doesn’t provoke behavior change, action does. Positive social facilitation is crucial to internalize climate action as a norm, as an expected conduct. Frustrated for the lack of action, I started tracing stories, testimonies from afar and words from home. Soon I realized that just because affirmative action is not boxed into climate change doesn’t mean it is not building sustainability. The fight for social justice is as environmental as the fight for fossil fuel divestment. Poverty reduction is pivotal to reduce climate risk.

I often found myself on the verge of fighting for social and environmental justice or supporting progress and innovation. As if they were polar opposites of the same equation. I couldn’t raise my voice without doubting myself—having internalized the dominant discourse, that somehow environmentalists are inherently against progress.

But what does progress mean? And who defined it? Just because things work a certain way, doesn’t mean they should be. This confrontation with past definitions of progress puts the environmental aim of progress toward a better way in conflict with itself.

I listened, I read and I saw people harvesting water from air, using the Warka Tower to solve the challenge facing thirsty families. I learned that the collectives in Puerto Rico for gender equality were increasing community resilience. It is no secret that women already experience disproportionate hardships, which will only be deepened by climate change. This puts them at the top of climate vulnerability, even as they are the key for climate solutions. Women serve as the bedrock both for families and for better governance. Their empowerment will be the seed towards sustainable practices and environment-friendly education, starting at home.

Some people denounce long-view solutions (some of them false solutions) to climate change, because we do not have time to waste. We do not need technological fixes that will set us up for another type of climate change. We do not need fuels that only bridge to a different kind of poisoning of our communities . We do not need reforestation mechanisms that ignore its underlying causes in the first place. We do need, however, ample engagement of all the individual stakeholders. Indigenous people claim their seat at the table arguing because they are “global players in climate change mitigation and reliable guardians” of the carbon sinks they inhabit: the forests.

There are students and visionaries awake across the world, drinking a cup of coffee before entering the lab again at midnight, developing solar roads, electric vehicles, bladeless turbines, photovoltaic windows and atomizing showers. There are powerful nations, such as Germany, powering their grid mainly with renewables. Yet, we cling to the idea of wiping clean lands, building sturdy walls and the use of fossil fuels to move our obsolete machinery.

Who is really halting innovation—the environmentalist or the private interest that sustains the status quo?

There is no victim and no savior, just opportunities to learn from each other.

How can we unify our knowledge? Or better yet, diversify our understanding? In examining traditions of resistance, I always found persistence as a common denominator. Stories of men and women willing to fight for change come hurricane or high water, drought or wildfire. We are not faceless; in fact we are a many-faced collective identity.  As such, I aim to build global solidarity to rise together against climate change. This is my fight; this is our fight. We are the pollution spread through our lands, the fury rushing through our veins, the color of our landscapes, the pain in the variety of the living, the spark of a revolution.

Our identity and desire to live cannot be washed away, and people like us cannot be contained.

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 24,366 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 15,839 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 11,571 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 9,087 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
Stunning Small Homes Form Part of a Communal Compound for Best Friends
Lighter Side · 6,392 views today · If you’re lucky enough to have longtime friends even as an adult, then you know probably already know how much it means to be able to spend time together. Maybe you even have a...
Voices of Standing Rock
49 min · 3,874 views today · Short stories told by water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Part 1 - Introduction: Since mid-August 2016, thousands have set up camp near the Standing Rock Sioux...
What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd
Sofo Archon · 3,475 views today · Are You Truly Living Your Life? You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on...
Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong
6 min · 3,223 views today · What causes addiction? Easy, right? Drugs cause addiction. But maybe it is not that simple. This video is adapted from Johann Hari's New York Times best-selling book 'Chasing...
Charles Eisenstein: The Two Great Stories That Give Meaning to Our Lives
6 min · 2,841 views today · What matters in life? Who are we? Every culture has answers to these questions. And the way we answer them has profound effects on the health of people and planet. This is a...
Redneck Revolt Presents: A Message to the Patriot Movement
6 min · 2,786 views today · Over the past few weeks, Redneck Revolt has been communicating with a former member of a III% Patriot Militia based out of Ohio. Peter made contact with our organization after...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 2,626 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Films for Action's Public Film Screening Guide
Tim Hjersted and Matt Toplikar · 1,801 views today · This guide will give you step by step instructions on how to host Films For Action sponsored film screening events in your city. It is intended primarily for people who have...
Artificial Ethics and the Search for Intelligence
5 min · 1,644 views today · How to stop a robot turning evil.  It's 2027 and Mental Endeavours Ltd has a problem with their flagship robot Günther. How do you program an intelligent machine not to...
Philippine Vigils Against Vigilantes - The Reign of Terror in the President's War on Drugs
7 min · 1,366 views today · The war on drugs waged by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has taken more than 7,000 lives since its inception. It took the killing of a South Korean businessman by police...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 873 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 855 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 841 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
The Lessons of Standing Rock
Michael Emero · 797 views today · In mid-November of 2016, I was a Water Protector at Standing Rock. At first my goal was to play investigative journalist; documenting then writing about every detail for my...
Two Ways to Build Global Community
Dan Hind · 752 views today · A platform co-operative approach to information, rather than the models of Facebook and legacy media, provide reason for optimism, writes Dan Hind.
System Change Will Not Be Negotiated
Nnimmo Bassey · 698 views today · We frequently hear calls for system change, at public mobilisations, in conference halls and even in negotiation halls. The calls come as slogans, they come in anger and they...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
The many-faced fight of climate change