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Hi Diane,

Here in the northeastern U.S. we have seen a shift in our weather patterns, particularly in the last few years as a result of climate change. We of course have witnessed and have been indirectly effected by the terrible tropical storms that have caused major destruction in the Caribbean. There are many Puerto Ricans in New York City where I live, and many of them have families in Puerto Rico that are still dealing with terrible losses of homes, and infrastructure due to the hurricanes from last year. Scientists predict that the pattern of major tropical storms will continue to worsen due to the effects of climate changes over Africa and the Atlantic ocean where these storms evolve.

It is hard to imagine how the Caribbean will be able to withstand years
more of these storms. The environmental and economic impact have already been disastrous and the racism and issues of colonization that have affected the region are increasingly revealed as
these natural disasters occur with more frequency. The mayor of San Juan passionately requested aid and was attacked by the current U.S.
administration when she was critical of their feeble response while people were dying from lack of electricity, water, food and medicine and relief efforts failed to activate.  The U.S. government has still been largely absent in a coherent long-term relief and reconstruction effort for Puerto Rico. The policies of colonization and exploitation of the island continue.

Residents who relocated to the mainland the New York region as part of a relief effort have now lost any governmental housing aid. Some of these families have no homes to return to in Puerto Rico and no economic safety net.

My own friends on Puerto Rico own a small farm in the mountains that was completely destroyed in the last hurricane. They are some of the first to try and re-establish local organic farms and fight back against Monsanto, a major agriculture-chemical corporation, that has contributed to the destruction of native farms and was part of an effort that helped destroy the island's ability to feed its own people. More than 90% of food must now be imported to Puerto Rico, whereas two generations ago the island had been largely food sustainable. Monsanto has bought up much land and uses it to experiment with new forms of chemicals and genetic experiments that have negatively impacted the environment and indigenous people around the world-
with health impact for consumers of food and those inhabiting the land, as well. (Hawai'i being another area that has been terribly impacted by these corporate practices. I have another indigenous friend there who is involved in native defense of the land and the environment). All of the vegetation was stripped off the side of the mountain at my friends' farm in Puerto Rico in the last hurricane.

Because the U.S. government relief efforts were so feeble and basically abandoned people in outer rural areas, my friends helped establish a network of relief by citizens. She received many donations of medicine and survival supplies from around the world and then
helped set up a network to get food, water, solar generators and medicine into the mountains where many people were trapped without electricity, water or medicine. They did this for months because there was no organized aid, on this colonized island under the control of the richest nation in the world. The effects of racism, colonization and genocide are ever present in the realities of global warming and how it is affecting people.

Thank you,
Mike Ishii
New York City, USA

Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00