Friday, June 1, 2007

Turn off the Lights, the rains are coming

Turn off Your Loghts: The Rains are Coming

"So do you want to go away this weekend?" I said to a friend in the Capital. We can see the sea but are bound in by concrete and pollution.

"But it is raining all over the country. Even across Haiti. There have been two deaths in Santiago."

So we will not be attempting to go to beach or the mountains,for when the rains come here, they come in torrents. Rivers flood, bridges wash out, trees uproot bringing down live electric wires, people die. Mostly the poor, of course, the ones who have built their small wooden shanties on the side of the river's edge.

People die on the roads as cars skid through mudslides. Commerce slows as people stay home. Open air markets, fruit vendors who sell off their horse drawn carts, all lose their incomes. You do not hear, as you do in the States:"Well, it is good for the plants: they need the water."

For lurking behind every storm for the next 6 months is the possibility of the big one, the hurricane, the killer. Here there is no FEMA to call, no shelters to run to, no federal flood insurance.

So when you leave your house today make sure that all the lights are off. All the fans and air conditioners are turned off, all those little energy lights are off. And while you are out, go pick up those low consumption bulbs you have been meaning to buy. And stop complaining, please about the price of gas at the pump. Every little bit helps. Lives are at stake.

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