Have you ever been to Puerto Rico? I have, and it is beautiful! I've seen the rain forest, and old San Juan, and some of those beaches that look like a commercial for a tropical vacation. I saw pineapples growing in the fields!
Add to this nostalgia the fact that about 15 percent of my students are of Puerto Rican origin, and you'll understand that I truly care about that island.
So, here's a modest proposal for Puerto Rico. Gods know our horrible leader won't heed it -- he's too busy blaming the citizens for not being plucky enough to fix their own power grids.
It's this very power grid that I want to talk about.
From what I hear, Puerto Rico is pretty much a blank slate at this moment when it comes to electrical power. And the power infrastructure was already really poor.
What if we used this tragic opportunity as a way to transform Puerto Rico's messed-up grid with solar and wind? What if we put solar cells on the roofs of houses and set up wind and solar farms instead of the other power plants? Nothing is going to save PR from bad storms (especially moving forward), but perhaps a more localized source of power generation could be repaired and brought back to work more quickly.
I don't know the first thing about power grids. But I do know that when something breaks so catastrophically, it offers an opportunity to try implementing the most cutting-edge technology, just to see how well it works.
My modest proposal won't matter. Poor islanders! When what they should be getting is a star on our flag, they will be getting cheap and shoddy workmanship, third in line behind Florida and Texas, and the dregs that FEMA and the military have left over from other disasters.
Might be different if presidential elections were decided by majority vote.
Readers, if you feel moved to help the citizens of Puerto Rico and you want to donate at the source, send me an email and I'll give you my address. I have a mentee at my school whose mom is going to PR next week. Her family there has asked for Home Depot gift cards. If you send me one, I'll give it to her.
My email is annejohnson17211 at gmail dot com.
If you don't want to go through me, I beg you to help the island. If you've ever been without electricity for a day or water for a hot afternoon, you can maybe begin to imagine what those people are going through. Then again, none of us has ever had cholera.