Sally’s Action

Neighbor supposed to live neighborly, right? Because like the Short Shirt song say, “the same stick licking the wild goat, the same stick licking the tame”.

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Is so I come to call the meetings Wild and Tame. Call them right here at the shop where everybody end up any way. Still, wasn’t much people at first despite the barbecue I set up. But I have to give it to my Environment girl; could be one person, she talk like is the whole of Sir Vivian Richards stadium.

Talk about how we could reduce the ridiculous amount we spend on currant – or, as she put it, “the exorbitant cost of our energy bills” – by bringing in solar panels; and when one man choopsed that nobody could afford that, she acknowledged that it could be tough to get started, tougher still because the financial institutions weren’t stepping up to offer affordable loans in that area nor the insurance companies affordable coverage to help people adjust to nature’s extremes, but it wasn’t impossible. For instance if the community cooperated and got grant funding or lobbied their representative to make the whole village a demonstration project, collectively, we could lasso the power of the sun.

That’s how the List started. You know how politicians always coming ‘round to offer us two sweetie come election time, well, next time they come we going be waiting, with the List in hand; we not looking no handouts.

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And while we wet we han’ and wait for them, we would do what we could –through our community social, educational, sporting, religious organizations, and in our homes, cut back on the waste, make use of natural resources, compost to cut back on garbage, cut and contrive, that’s always been our way but like we forget.

One bright young thing, because there always have to be one, jump in with, “you all waste money go to conference conference conference, an’ the big country an’ dem choose to do as them please, and suddenly this climate change crisis is on likkle we? Even if every last one of us do everything you say, what difference that make.”

Bright!

“We go because we can’t afford to throw up our hands in defeat,” she replied. “We go so those who can make a larger impact can hear our voices. We go because when the planet becomes inhabitable, where are we then going to go? We do what we can, however small, because we have the most to lose –picture this land you call home taken over by the sea as levels continue to rise. Just because it won’t come in a single Deep Impact tsunami doesn’t mean you won’t feel it. You saw what Juan did. We’re on a fraction of a fraction of a hundred and eight square miles, Barbuda on just 62; do we really have the option of covering our eyes and blocking our ears hoping the storm will pass? I don’t think so. There is such a thing as an environmental refugee and, assuming you survive, that’s just what you will be. We do what we can because doing something is almost always better than doing nothing.”

What a girl have words, eeeh! Shut him up brap!

She leave printouts with environmental tips in the shop and I make sure that every household that come to buy something get one with their receipt. They can’t say nobody remind them to catch and store water properly – drop in little chlorine or bleach, boil the water before they drink it; if they want diarrhea is their look out that.

I make sure they sign the petition by the door, too, so that the next time our representative come round skinning teeth we can present him with The List.

And I let them know bright and early to walk with their shopping bag like we used to back in the day because Sally’s Shop was soon going to be a no plastic bag zone.

Note: Sally is an Antiguan woman. She’s not real, but she could be. Resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental and her views are her own. The Sally series was written as part of an Environmental consultancy. The writer was given a free hand to creatively explore the issue of climate change from a local perspective. The hope is that Sally gets people talking about a global phenomenon that is hitting very close to home. For more on climate action, visit http://www.cop21paris.org/about/cop21

CLIMATE CHANGE TRIVIA (NOT TRIVIAL): When asked in 2015 during the CNN Democratic debate to name the greatest national security threat, U.S. Presidential contender Bernie Sanders responded: “The scientific community is telling us if we do not address the global crisis of climate change, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, the planet that we’re going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable, that is a major crisis.”

Little changes, little villages, little people and a whole ton of determination. I wonder what Prince Klass and Dame Nelly would think of the little folks forwarding together to help solve a problem so much bigger than us?

And What an election the next one would be if we really did have a list like Sally and them in every home? What a difference it would make in our own legislature if our communities could speak with such a united voice?

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