Forty years ago Peter Tosh asked, ‘Downpresser man, where you gonna run to?’ Good question in light of what Hurricane Harvey did to Texans and Katrina did to the citizens of New Orleans. The national response was heartfelt but inadequate in both cases, which only goes to show how vulnerable humankind, no matter how developed, is to the supreme forces of nature. Although Dominica was spared from Hurricane Irma’s wrath, small island states are especially at risk.
At first, the sensation over the magnitude of Irma was focused on the Caribbean islands, mainly in terms of expats and tourists. But once she hit the US mainland, the islands were forgotten in favor of ‘people who matter.’ The general consensus is that we live in paradise, and most days I agree. Therefore we should expect a little punishment from time to time. Never mind that colonial masters built their fortunes on the backs of these former colonies leaving them ill-equipped to face catastrophe. But since the idea of remuneration is generally considered ridiculous by the privileged “powers-that-were,” why should the Caribbean not expect foreign aid?
These are the same mighty nations that consider migration a scourge. Yet what else are marginalized people supposed to do? Whether it’s war, poverty, starvation, or the result of climate change, it’s all about survival. When I listen to the BBC World Service on the radio, the amount of human suffering that is reported makes me shiver. I haven’t had a TV for 25 years, but the coverage of the earthquake in Mexico, the floods in India, and the mud slides in Sierra Leone on the Internet (accompanied by popup ads for expensive cell phones, impractical shoes on sale from Amazon.com, and hotel deals in Key West) makes me want to scream.
My native-born president doesn’t believe in global warming. As far as he’s concerned, it’s probably ‘fake news.’ His press secretary says this is not the time to talk about climate change. Don’t these people have children and grandchildren? If not now, when? Time is running out, folks. The world as we know and love it seems to be disappearing before our very eyes. As intelligent human beings, we have to figure out a way to get ourselves out of this mess. For me that means practicing land and sea stewardship, living a sustainable lifestyle, and writing about things that matter.
My heart goes out to those who suffered loss via Hurricane Irma. In 2105, I had a short story on climate change published in the Caribbean American Heritage Literary Magazine. The title is “Everything for a Time,” which is a proverbial phrase typical to the islands. It is republished on this website under the tab “Kristine’s Work–Shorts,” and I hope you will take time to read it. I have in my possession a letter written by Barrack Obama that addresses the blessings of multiculturalism. Now we have Donald Trump. Dude, what happened to my country? More succinctly, what is happening to our world?