Hello world! After three and a half days of almost nonstop work, I’m finally ready to do some writing.
As you may have noticed, the city of Miami is more or less underwater. If you’ve been reading the past few entries and thinking ahead, you may be wondering what we plan to do with our bus and van. What use will they be in a city where most streets are flooded? Of course, we had a plan.
Miami Diaspora has a team of about a dozen organizers who live along the edge of the floodwaters and provide logistical support to allies living in the city. They call themselves the Liminals. The Liminals drive back and forth from a few spots of high ground north of Miami to pickup points in neighboring cities, transporting people, food, and various supplies for relief and rebuilding.
Before leaving on our trip, we made arrangements with the Liminals to donate the bus and van to them in exchange for helping us scout out a home base and giving us priority on any trips involving our old vehicles. They really needed a few large electric vehicles, and we really needed some help getting established in the city, so it was a wonderful partnership.
We arrived at a small Liminal community center in North Miami Beach just in time for lunch. After an enthusiastic greeting and a hearty lunch, we were all quick to get to work.
Now that we’re in Miami, I may as well let the cat out of the bag. Harold and five of our other fellow travelers are also members of Green Guard. I didn’t want to talk about this during the trip because I didn’t want to draw any extra attention from the authorities or anyone else who has a problem with green militias. I also didn’t want to make it seem like we were on some type of military mission to Miami. We’re on a peaceful mission to turn what’s left of Miami into a regional model of climate mitigation and adaptation. This involves things like solar energy, graywater systems, urban agriculture, and so on. The inclusion of members of Green Guard is simply a precaution.
As peace-loving people, we hope and pray that there won’t be any violence. But let’s be realistic here. Miami is mostly a lawless city at this point. There are some police left who have a serious commitment to maintaining law and order. They do what they can. But they’re outnumbered by Bastion, a paramilitary security force with questionable motives and tactics. They’re also outnumbered by gangs, but that’s nothing new. The Florida National Guard is out on the streets in some places, but they barely match Bastion in number and have limited involvement in most of the city. Their primary mission is simply to maintain the most basic functions of government and protect what little key infrastructure is still operational. They’re not here for general law enforcement purposes. And everybody knows it — including the criminals. The Florida National Guard will only interfere in local turf wars if the violence threatens to take down the entire city. Short of that, it’s open season on locals and tourists who have no means of protecting themselves.
So Miami is a dangerous city right now. Bastion is running around protecting the property of wealthy absentee landowners and carving out their own little local empire in the process. Gangs are claiming territory and becoming more open in their criminality. Police are struggling to keep up — and probably getting paid or threatened into letting some things slide. Florida National Guard is just here to keep the government from collapsing — nothing less, nothing more. So by and large, the average citizen is on their own.
That’s why we thought it was important to accept Green Guard’s help with this mission. Of course, the people who volunteered have other skills to offer too.
Harold is a master gardener, farmer, mechanic, tinkerer, martial arts instructor, and long-time community organizer who started the Southern Illinois chapter of Green Guard a few years ago. He’s also an excellent chef! Jalen is a combat medic with experience both at home and overseas. Bridget is a certified electrician and solar electric installer who also has first responder training. Murray is a plumber and sailor with a lot of experience with boats. Lou is a jack of all trades: carpenter, sailor, gardener, construction worker, martial artist, biker, musician, and more. Melissa is a botanist, herbalist, gardener, and beekeeper. They’re all in their late twenties or thirties. Except for Harold, of course, who is probably in his mid-forties, although it’s hard to be sure with his youthful energy. Everyone says I’m such an active person and I can barely keep up with Harold!
They all have special skills, interests, and ideas that qualify them for this mission. The fact that they also have special training and experience from Green Guard is just a bonus. It’s like having a co-worker who also happens to be a Boy Scout. It comes in handy.
I didn’t know any of them very well before this trip, but spending a week on the road and a few days in Miami with them has been a good opportunity to get to know them. They’re all good people and we’re really starting to work well together as a team.
Anyway, I’ve talked so much about our team and our arrival in the city that I don’t have any time to get past that. I have to be up early tomorrow, so it’s time to stop writing for now. I’ll post more soon.