I am inspired to write this brief note about this article because of the optimism of these people as they work to save their living and working environment for the present and for the future. For these islanders climate change, over farming, overfishing, and deforestation without replanting has had an immediate effect on their ability to sustain a good quality of existence in their communities. As a collective residents renewed their environment by replanting and growing trees, capturing rainwater and disinfecting it with solar heat, as well as using manure to revive the fertility of the soil. Residents use refrigerators without electric power, “…lined with charcoal, into which water seeps through a hosepipe fed by a bucket. The wet charcoal absorbs heat and keeps the items inside the fridge cool.” Recycled plastic containers are painted black on one to capture rainwater and subsequently exposed to ultraviolet rays of the sun for disinfection and use by families.
In short, it’s the environment and they “get it.” This is also Afrofuturism. Technological advances must take into consideration the needs of the people and the needs of the environment. These islanders are using technology without becoming dependent on electricity to save their lives, thereby serving as an example to those of us living in the West draining resources with our fancy gadgets and cars dependent on oil and electricity.
As I sit here typing away on my laptop powered by PEPCO, I wonder what we will do when our water resources dry out, when we pull the last fish out of our oceans, when we find that the soil in the Heartland can’t give us another bite of bread because of the chemicals we’ve pumped into the soil and water. I wonder what we will do when we find that we the people must stop ignoring climate change and do something to save our planet. The politicians want us to believe that science is a fairy tale and that we can continue to be irresponsible to our planet. As an Afrofuturist, I know that fairy tales have more than a margin of truth–it would be wise for us to listen to the Earth tell us Her tale and take decisive action to protect Her for the future.