What a busy weekend! I’ve started my part-time job canvassing for a green group called the Integral Ecology Initiative. They work out of an office at Gaia House. They’re not like any other nonprofit I’ve worked with before. They’re a multidisciplinary academic center, but they also get involved in activist projects. They teach classes, publish research papers, and do what they can to help the community and region work on its relationship with the environment.
The canvassing they have me doing is really interesting. When I first heard about it, I thought it would be like what I did in other places: getting members for a nonprofit, getting candidates on the ballot, and so on. I used to do a lot of petitioning like that for the Green Party back when they weren’t as established yet. But IEI is more about gathering information and using it to come up with new ideas and solutions. They do surveys, they do open-ended questionnaires, they even sometimes do less traditional things like a little play in the street where all of the people walking by become participants.
As soon as I told the guy that I was fresh off the train from Miami, his eyes lit up. Miami is really big in the news now in the U.S. and all over the world. There are a lot of major cities slowly sinking beneath the waves, but Miami is the hot topic now because Hurricane Florence is still so recent and they’re still figuring out what to do about it. So this guy got excited and told me that he’d like me to do some surveys about Miami. He also wants me to speak at an event about my experiences in Miami. They’re organizing a panel discussion with me as the Miami voice and several other people talking about the climate, the economy, and so on.
So I spent a few hours canvassing Friday night and another few hours this morning. I’ll be going one more time tomorrow. It’s not great money, even by southern Illinois standards. But it’s a job doing something I love, which is talking to people about green issues and Miami.
I also spent some time out with Alejandra last night. We went salsa dancing and danced with a bunch of the college boys who are still in town for the summer. Most of them looked about ten years younger than me, but I didn’t mind. Maybe they like me because I’m Alejandra’s cousin, or maybe they like me because they’ve never met a Greek-Cuban girl before. Either way, they all wanted to dance with me. I’m okay with that.
But Alejandra wants to set me up with Ermete. I told her that I met Ermete at the food co-op and she told me what a great guy he is. She’s always been such a matchmaker. She tries to set me up with guys because she only goes out with guys and wants me to find a good man to keep me happy. Honestly, though, I’m not looking for anything serious now. I just want to save up some money and get back to Miami, or someplace near Miami so I can volunteer on the weekends. But I’ll humor her and spend some time with Ermete.
That’s plenty of news for today. I’ve been reading the latest news from Miami, but I didn’t see any major news over the last day or two. They’re still debating a lot of the logistics and details of what to do next. Meanwhile, a few nonprofits have stepped in to fill in the gaps and meet some of the short-term needs of the people like food, water, safe shelter, and so on. This country would fall apart without the help of all of these volunteers and low-paid community organizers. God knows it’s not the politicians or the corporations holding it all together as the temperatures rise and the oceans rise and everyone ends up broke and hungry and displaced. Anyway, I’ll let you know if I hear anything new, especially if they don’t talk about it on TV. I wouldn’t be surprised if they gloss over all of the unpleasant details and make it seem like everything’s fine in Miami.