Puerto Rico


123 Years Later, the Unfinished Business of Self-Determination for Puerto Ricans

, Climate Vulnerability Social Scientist

In October 2020, Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) introduced the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2020. The bill’s purpose was “[t]o recognize the right of the People of Puerto Rico to call a Status Convention through which the people would exercise their natural right to self-determination, and to establish a mechanism for congressional consideration of such decision, and for other purposes”. This bill would go a long way towards creating a decolonizing, democratic self-determination process for Puerto Rico to resolve the territory’s colonial status. Read more >

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Rebuild Arecibo Observatory: One Scientist’s Reflection on Advocacy and Research

Héctor G. Arce, Ph.D., Professor of Astrophysics, , UCS

On December 1, 2020, the 900-tonne platform that held most of the instruments of the Arecibo Observatory (AO) at a height of more than 500 feet above the ground came crashing down. People from all walks of life, old and young, scientists and non-scientists, for whom this iconic telescope meant so much, have watched the footage of the collapse in disbelief. Soon after the collapse, students, scientists and the general public began a campaign to rebuild the AO. Read more >

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Forest Service photo by Grizelle González

Forest Service Budget Cuts Will Deprive US Communities of Forestry Science that Improves Climate Resilience

, Climate Vulnerability Social Scientist

“Trees are the answer.” The maxim was on a sticker on my PhD mentor’s office door at Arizona State University (ASU). But what was the question? Turns out, there were a lot of them.

  • How to reduce extreme heat in cities? More trees can provide shading and absorb humidity, contributing to lowering the heat index.
  • How to improve urban air quality? More trees that can breathe in more air pollutants.
  • How to stabilize coastal areas from erosion and reduce flooding from hurricanes? Protect mangrove trees and the ecosystems that sustain them, nurture them to grow strong roots, and they will act as barriers against storm surge and even tsunamis. Read more >
Forest Service photo by Grizelle González
Forest Service photo by Maria M. Rivera
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Paddy O Sullivan/Unsplash

The Climate Decade: A Global Crisis Unveiled, a Global Movement Unleashed

, Senior analyst, Climate & Energy

We’ve all just lived through a most consequential ten years.

Some decades, like the 1860s for the Civil War and the 1960s for the Civil Rights Movement, are seismic and stand out in history for generations. The 2010s weren’t like that (though politically it’s been one long mixed-martial arts cage fight) but in this decade, amidst the stampede of everyday life, climate changes, sometimes subtle or invisible, have locked down their profoundly consequential influence on our future–with us, until recently, scarcely noticing. Read more >

Paddy O Sullivan/Unsplash
NOAA
Anthony Quintano/Wikimedia Commons
Climate Action Network/Flickr
Yann Caradec/Flickr
NASA
Melissa Kaye Angel/GLF
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Dos años después de la catástrofe climática, Puerto Rico aparece en el mapamundi

, Climate Vulnerability Social Scientist

Durante los últimos dos años, Puerto Rico ha vivido el episodio más tumultuoso de su historia moderna. En 2017, el Huracán María pasó factura climática a una isla que ya no tenía recursos políticos, económicos ni de infraestructura (urbana, energética) para saldar tal deuda. El huracán—como me dijo un colega hace tiempo—no fué lo que destruyó a Puerto Rico: la crisis de gobernabilidad, la crisis por la agobiante deuda pública que melló servicios públicos, educativos, y sociales, así como la rentabilidad de la isla—la misma crisis que pensamos había tocado fondo durante el cierre del gobierno en 2006—fue lo que destruyó a la isla, y sus escombros fueron barridos por María. Read more >

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