Why Greenpeace Supports a Just Recovery in Puerto Rico

by Hannah Strange

November 17, 2017

Greenpeace’s ship the Arctic Sunrise is en route from Miami to San Juan to support ‘Our Power Puerto Rico’, a national campaign started by Climate Justice Alliance (CJA). We are going to support rural communities on the island as they push for a Just Recovery following Hurricane Maria.

Arctic Sunrise Departs New York 2017

The Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise departs New York displaying a message of support for Puerto Rico.

© Stephanie Keith / Greenpeace

A brigade of nine climate justice leaders, organizers, and artists who represent organizations at the forefront of the fight for climate justice in the U.S. have joined our crew as we sail to Puerto Rico.

The #OurPowerPR campaign has been gathering supplies for the past month to help hundreds of farming communities recover from Hurricane Maria, in a way that leaves them more empowered, resilient, and sustainable in the years to come. Shipping containers full of solar batteries, tools and supplies for agroecology, water filtration systems, and more will arrive in Puerto Rico over the coming weeks and months as part of this campaign.

When the ship arrives in San Juan, the brigade will be welcomed by Organizacion Boricua (member of CJA), which has worked with over 100 communities and family farmers in rural areas across Puerto Rico for the past 30 years. We will work alongside them to set up distribution plans for future supply deliveries and engage in dialogue about what their medium and long-term vision is for a just transition in their communities.

The brigade traveling aboard the Arctic Sunrise is only the first step in what will be a long road toward a just recovery for the people of Puerto Rico. In the next six months, two more delegations will travel to the island to help with supply distribution, as more supplies will be gathered and sent down.

This first brigade includes representatives from CJA, Greenpeace USA, Uprose, Movement Generation and the PR Resiliency Fund. ‘Our Power Puerto Rico’ has 25 partners and growing across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Organizacion Boricua is also a member of Via Campesina and works with communities and family farmers in rural areas across Puerto Rico, including youth and women collectives working to transform food sovereignty of the island.

What does a Just Recovery look like in Puerto Rico?

A Just Recovery on the island means implementing long-term, community-led solutions that help Puerto Ricans thrive and be better prepared in the case of future climate disasters. It includes a transparent, participatory process that has environmental justice, sustainable energy, food sovereignty, and community empowerment at its core.

With 85% of the food on Puerto Rico coming from imports, and only 2% of energy coming from sustainable sources prior to Maria, there’s plenty of room to grow towards a Just Recovery on the island. The work ahead will be led by Puerto Ricans for Puerto Ricans who will create opportunities for meaningful work, energy democracy, and resilient rebuilding of both rural and urban areas.

There is plenty of work for us to do on the U.S. mainland in pressuring decision-makers to invest in recovery packages that maximize the use of our tax dollars for the benefit of all. It is no longer acceptable to leave countries, cities, and communities as they were before climate-induced catastrophes — we need to prepare these communities to be resilient, and to rebuild with the right kinds of materials that can sustain these new systems of recovery in the long term.

Why Greenpeace supports a Just Recovery

For decades, Greenpeace has campaigned to stop the causes of climate change and continues to do so with our work against new oil drilling off our coasts, and fossil fuel pipelines throughout the US.

This season of superstorms has made clear that the impacts of climate change are real, affecting communities from Texas to Puerto Rico, and around the globe. Climate change makes hurricanes like Maria even more powerful and destructive— and it will continue to happen. It’s evident that Greenpeace not only works on stopping climate change but continue to support solutions that address these climate impacts.

To follow this exciting partnership follow: http://www.ourpowercampaign.org/puerto_rico

 

By Hannah Strange

Hannah Strange is the director of Greenpeace USA's Movement Support Hub.

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