Plan Making from Below--Puerto Rico: Arturo Massol-Deyá
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Arturo Massol-Deyá, PhD – Casa Pueblo in Adjuntas, PR.
“Community action in climate adaptation and to confront colonialism in Puerto Rico” —Anticolonial plan making from below, energy insurgency and autonomy.
In the colonial territory of Puerto Rico, fears and traumas such as those suffered with Hurricane Maria (2017), earthquakes (2020) and the covid-19 pandemic are widespread in the population, due in great part to a deep distrust with the national and federal government. No systemic change has occurred to alter the reality of vulnerability to the climate emergency. In 2017, after Hurricane Maria, it took months and even a year for the restoration of electricity to a large part of the Island, registering some 3,000 excess deaths. In the municipality of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, Casa Pueblo is community self-management project. For 41 years, this community initiative has worked towards the protection and conservation of natural resources while promoting fair and sustainable development. Confronting dependencies in Puerto Rico is critical to build resilience and for self-determination. Since 1999 our headquarters were transformed to become energy self-sufficient with solar power. After Hurricane Maria, the project organization was an oasis for the community and activated a process to transform the energy landscape of the area as a model for community development. Solar energy is providing an alternative source of energy that is beginning to impact many facets of everyday life and emergency preparedness. Adjuntas is different today and continues a path of change, not only in resilience but in social networks. Soon the urban center will be transformed into a route to what we call Adjuntas Pueblo Solar. We know that, as a community, we can protect ourselves and transform reality with scientific knowledge and innovation. Our recent history clearly demonstrates that the true transformative power emanates from the people.