Having grown up close to the gulf coast all of my life, I have seen my share of hurricanes. There are pictures of me on the sand of Gulf Shores, AL, forcing all of my weight forward in the wind –gripping smile, flapping hair – I was always one for a thrill. I loved hurricanes namely because of my innocence. I’d never experienced a hurricane strong enough to do much damage (other than ruin my beach vacation) and I always had a strong, stable shelter where I felt nothing but safe. Unfortunately, that's not the case for thousands if not millions of people on the Gulf Coast and in many other countries that experienced the devastating effects of Gustav.
Members of Outreach International in Haiti say that community members there have experienced some of the worst atrocities -- displacing thousands of school children and their families. News now comes in that Outreach International is on its way to assess the damage -- they are estimating billions of dollars necessary for the recovery work.
Also -- this blog would not be complete if I didn't mention the embedded relationship between the most poverty stricken communities and the effects of climate change. Many countries to the south of us (including Haiti) get the brunt of extreme weather because richer economies have laid waste to our air, dirt, and water. Scientists have already deemed this a human made problem. We now must move past blame and judgement and DO something about our past atrocities.
Stephen laid out some great actions to take in his last blog. But I'd like to add a few more. Educate yourself about the people in Haiti suffering from the latest hurricane. Read about the school children that can no longer sit at their desks, talk to people who have seen the damage caused by wind and rain, watch the videos that portray the thousands of people who no longer have a home. Put a face to poverty. Know that their pain and suffering affects us all. And then find out what you can do to make a difference.