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Seeing Firsthand Climate Disruption in Haiti

May 2015

It is rainy season in Haiti – or at least it is supposed to be rainy season. But the rains didn’t come in April, and it has only rained a few times in May. All the rice seeds they saved up to buy, and all the time they took to plant the seeds and care for the plants – it’s all gone. They lost them because the rains haven’t come, and the government never finished the irrigation project it had promised them. But the bigger reason is climate disruption.

All week, my colleagues from Grassroots International and I have been hearing stories from our partners about how hard Haiti has been hit by climate impacts, from flooding to hurricanes to drought. It’s so tangible in everyone’s lives, and it’s devastating.

Today we were with our partners at PAPDA (Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development), and we met with peasant farmers in the north of Haiti who have lost the rice crops they planted. Walking on the parched earth and the dry remains of rice plants with the local farmers, I was filled with anger at seeing the painful consequences of what we in the US (especially our government and corporations under our economic system) are causing.

I know this is only part of the story – and the other part is how Haitian peasants have such a key leadership role to play in global climate justice movements. They have so many of the important solutions. And that’s incredibly inspiring.

But right now I am mad.

We have so much to learn, so much to unlearn, and so much to do.

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