By Ashfred Norris
In September 2017, a new school year began- which means I finally became a 2nd year Create intern! This symbolizes that I’ve successfully gotten through the probation period, did my fair share of mini projects as a first year student, and can now work on the ‘big-kid’ projects like Carisealand. I will admit- there’s prestige in being a 2nd year intern, but there’s also pressure… more pressure. Unlike the introductory mini projects we’re given to work on in the initial stages of our internship, working on the bigger projects; the stakes are higher, the quality must be superb and there’s absolutely no room for errors- actually feels like being a Digital Humanist. Quite unfortunately, the buzz and thrill from the pressure and prestige all had to be suspended thanks to the passage of Hurricane Maria. Sigh…
I wish I could say we conquered it; I wish I could say we survived. But the fact of the matter is that a hurricane isn’t a natural disaster until it has caused damage and devastation to its victim- which was exactly what Maria sought out to do. I used to say, that the worst part was waking up the next morning and not recognizing a place I’ve lived in all my life and called home. It’s not. The worst part is living, or at least trying to, after the disaster; or during it. Nonetheless, whether we want to or not, we have to persevere and we have to survive.
However, in our first and last colloquium class in 2017, we set out to further develop one of our ongoing projects (Carisealand), and make it the ultimate alternate Caribbean reality. To be quite honest, there isn’t any one way to describe this project and what we want to create out of it but, in my opinion, it’s a multi-faceted undertaking which sets out to visually construct a sustainable Caribbean future. Like I said before, the project has many parts and my responsibility is to deal with the Environmental Justice, Poverty and Human Impact, and this is what I plan to do.
Whenever we speak of Environmental Justice, it basically speaks about any individual regardless of the age, sex, nationality, beliefs, sexual orientation, race, origin, income (anything which may differentiate one person from another), regardless of those differences, it shouldn’t determine the way in which they are treated, or how they are involved and engaged in relation to environmental laws, policies, and regulations. An example of environmental injustice would be someone who’s a part of a minority group, being forced to live in an air polluted area- other than someone who’s not a part of the minority group. I plan to get to the bottom of this problem. Why is it that certain people live in certain areas and others don’t? And especially after hurricane Maria, how does this affect it? How does poverty tie into all of this? Are poor people forced to take residence in poorly aeriated vicinities? Not only does it have to do with their right to fresh air, but what about their water supply and land distribution? Do certain groups or “types” get cleaner, treated water than others? Is climate gentrification, or gentrification of any kind going to be a problem? And in the end, how does all of this affect the individual, the victim; the human.
All in all, I’m very optimistic of what the future may have in store; especially since this project is my first time taking a seat at the ‘big-kids’ table.