On September 20th, 2017 Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico devastating the lives of thousands. The island suffered massive power outages and one third of homes were damaged or destroyed. The island also lost a third of its forest coverage. This disaster highlighted the weaknesses in Puerto Rico's decaying infrastructure due to financial hardships, as a result of a dysfunctional colonial relationship with the United States.
Puerto Rico Environmental Action Lab is a non-corporate non-institutional grassroots organization, composed of volunteer CUNY and SUNY students, majoring in environmentally related fields. Our goal is to create supportive partnerships with CSAs, farms, non-profits and other environmental organizations in Puerto Rico. We support a culture of empowerment, self-determination and decolonization through research, social activism, networking and student internships.
The money from this fundraiser will go toward housing, transportation and airfare for a group of 5-10 people. During our first week there, we will be farming, specifically helping with seed production to support food security on the island, with the non-profit group El Departamento De La Comida. During our second week, we will be working with Para La Naturaleza to support reforestation efforts. We will also be working with the Marine Ecological Conservation Center in Aguadilla. Activities would include dune restoration, sea turtle monitoring and the removal of invasive plant species. Throughout this trip, we will be networking with numerous non-profits besides the ones listed and conducting interviews and recording the work being done in P.R. to promote and bring attention to the island’s sustainability movements.
This is our first step in creating long-term partnerships, research projects and environmental initiatives in Puerto Rico. My team and I will be accessing the exact needs of the island to determine where our skills will be most valuable, which includes talking to the people already working on these initiatives to learn their needs. We are passionate about supporting Puerto Rico's recovery efforts. We have no hidden agenda and we rely entirely on individual non-corporate, non-governmental sources for support.