Our project Rethinking Home is focused on looking at climate change in New York and Samoa specifically, but we have participants from throughout the Pacific Islands. Climate change is impacting the entire world though and there are many people who are also engaging this issue. I decided to research other climate change related projects that have been happening throughout the Pacific Islands that were closely related to the arts because of the important role art, dance and music plays in many Pacific Island cultures. As well we have a number of creatively-minded participants on both sides of our project, so I’ve decided to highlight the creative approach to climate change in both traditional and contemporary art and dance.
We are fighting every day for basic needs. We cope with uncertainty about the future of our houses and neighborhoods. We appeal to insurance companies, aid programs, charitable organizations, community foundations, and government agencies, begging for the assistance that will enable us to recover. Those of us who experienced the most severe flooding and the most extensive structural damage to our homes relyon the kindness of family and friends, which wears our relationships down: after 15 months of staying in the guest room, or sleeping on the couch, or using the air mattress, the temporariness of displacement feels unending.
I can’t remember a time I didn’t love islands. I was born on one, lived on one for most of my life and even chose to work on one when I volunteered for the Peace Corps. In all of my island experiences the sea kept me close to nature with its tides, smells, sea life and beach life. The sea was always to be respected but rarely feared.
After a tragedy the soul always seeks only the light. Weary of darkness, it wobbles on and tries to take flight. That is the beauty of life. We continue on. We carry forward. We never really die. Our spirits are meant to soar, not brittle and fated to the floor.