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Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

November 28, 2017

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Days Since Hurricane MariaCountup

Ways to Take Action | More Ways You Can Help | Puerto Rico Sierra Club Chapter | Our Leaders in Puerto Rico | Partner Organizations | Read More | Press Releases

The Sierra Club is working closely with staff and volunteers in Puerto Rico to help bring a just and green recovery from the ravages of hurricanes Irma and Maria. In addition to distributing hot food, solar lights, and water filtration systems, our team gave grants to partner organizations doing first response on the ground and is now doing grantmaking for long-term recovery. Our national policy team is working for a just recovery package from Congress and is helping develop a plan for a sustainable rebuild of the island's electrical grid. This page is meant to help you learn more about the Sierra Club’s work to help Puerto Rico recover and how you can help. You can donate, take action, and sign up to be informed as our work together evolves.

Take Action

Tell Congress: Pass a special aid and relief package for Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico is without power after Hurricane Maria. One of its dams is on the verge of failing and causing massive flooding again. Homes have been  destroyed. Multiple mudslides have buried people, with the death toll rising.

This humanitarian disaster involving 3.5 million Americans demands the full response of the U.S. government.

It will take years to rebuild Puerto Rico, not just from the worst hurricane to make landfall since 1932 but also from environmental injustices that made Maria's devastation even more catastrophic.

Write to your member of Congress now urging them to come to your fellow Americans' aid.

More Ways You Can Help

    • Find out more and RSVPJoin the Sierra Student Coalition's Puerto Rican youth leaders for a webinar on December 20.

The UN Commission on Human Rights and Extreme poverty meets with community leaders in Guayama. Photo by Jose Menendez

Puerto Rico Chapter of the Sierra Club

Visit the Puerto Rico Chapter for more information: Find out more about the Sierra Club and Puerto Rico.

Our Leaders in Puerto Rico

Adriana Gonzalez, Organizing Representative

Ramon Cruz, Sierra Club Board of Directors

Jose "Cano" Menendez, Chapter Chair, Sierra Club do Puerto Rico

Partner Organizations

Defendamos el Corredor Ecológico del Noreste | On Facebook

Casa Pueblo | On Twitter | On Facebook

Hery, a young resident of Aguirre, tells the UN Envoy what it's like living under the shadow of the Aguirre power plant. His hurricane-damaged home is in the background. Photo by Jose Menendez

Read More

Good Enough for Puerto Rico

Biodiversity for Sale in Puerto Rico

Biodiversidad a la Venta en Puerto Rico (24-5-18)

Trump y Su Administración, Durante Sus Ajetreadas Fiestas, Ignoraron a Puerto Rico

Padre e Hija Legislan en Florida con Corazón Puertorriqueño

Las Descabelladas Exigencias de Whitefish en Puerto Rico

El Sierra Club y Socios Comunitarios en Puerto Rico Hacen Llegar a los Damnificados la Ayuda Generada por Campaña de Recaudación de Fondos

Los Puertorriqueños Se Merecen Respuestas, No Escándalos de la Administración

Respuesta del Sierra Club a los Ataques de Trump contra Puerto Rico

El Vergonzoso Silencio de Donald Trump

Por una Recuperación Equitativa y Justa en Puerto Rico

Declaración del Sierra Club sobre el Huracán María

Post-Apocalyptic Puerto Rico: David Ferris, a reporter for E&E News and past columnist for Sierra, recently returned from a reporting trip to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Ricans Face Uneasy Future After Hurricane Maria: As Hurricane Maria approached Puerto Rico on Tuesday, September 19, Adriana Gonzalez prepared as well as she could.

Irma's Impact on Puerto Rico: A Slideshow: Many Puerto Ricans left without water or electricity.

Letter From Puerto Rico: Two months after Hurricane Maria slashed across Puerto Rico, the power remains off in most places, and the whir of gasoline.

Solar Lanterns Serve as Beacon of Hope for Puerto Rico: Two months after Hurricane Maria knocked out power to most of Puerto Rico, gasoline and diesel generators have become household.

Maria's Devastating Impact on Puerto Rico—A Slideshow: The worst hurricane to hit the island since 1928 leaves Puerto Ricans reeling.

Press Releases

Saturday, September 30, 2017: Sierra Club Response to Trump’s Twitter Attacks on Puerto Rico

Wednesday, September 27, 2017: Statement: Trump Failing Puerto Ricans With Refusal to Lift Shipping Restrictions

Friday, September 22, 2017: Declaración del Sierra Club sobre el Huracán María

Friday, September 22, 2017: Statement on Hurricane Maria

My Memories of Puerto Rico and the Northeaster Ecological Corridor—a Testimonial by Lee Lockie

When I became the lone Trustee of the Dr. Paul Johanson Foundation, in 2013, I didn’t know that I would be reconnected with Puerto Rico’s northeastern coast where I spent many happy years as a girl.

My parents fell in love with Puerto Rico on their first trip to the island in 1947. We vacationed there every August in the 1950’s and 1960’s. My older brother remembers them hugging each other, ecstatic as they stood for the first time near the base of a majestic waterfall in the heart of El Yunque National Forest. They ventured on to see El Yunque Peak in a morning mist, surrounded by its unique rainforest and diverse ecosystem full of more waterfalls, rivers, flora and fauna.

As children, my brother and I enjoyed sitting and listening to the calls of the native frogs, the coquis, and birds and as we looked up at an epiphyte for the very first time. The chorus of bird sounds were special, mysterious and exciting to us. And my brother once knocked me off of my little chair as he charged up to point out a frog leaping quickly for shelter in a bush along a stream and then splashing into the stream.

My father loved deep sea fishing and exploring beaches. Fajardo and the area of the Northeast Corridor Ecosystem fascinated he and my mother. I learned to swim in the Luquillo beach area and found my first corals, jellyfish and sea urchins there. We took many trips offshore to the islands such as La Culebra and my brother and I were entranced by the rhythm of the dolphins up close. One of my most vivid memories is of the Bioluminescent Bay with its mangroves and moon jellies at night. We snorkeled and rode in glass bottomed boats to see many beautiful fish and the fascinating Atlantic Ocean bottom.

One year, we planned a special trip to arrive in time to see the Leatherbacks in the Spring near Luquillo.

Years later when I was living in Southern California, I joined a birdwatching group and met Dr. Paul Johanson. He was an orthopedic surgeon and professor at UCLA. He saved close to every penny he earned to establish a foundation dedicated to the preservation of riparian habitat. Before he passed away in 2013 of congestive heart failure, he asked me to manage his foundation and support its goals. In a meeting with a New Mexico staff person to support efforts to protect the Gila River I learned the Sierra Club was working in Puerto Rico to protect the very spot I’d treasured as a child and where Dr. Johanson spent a month in 2003 doing bird counting in and around Fajardo and El Yunque National Forest. As a friend of mine once said, one never knows the value of these moments until they become memories, but suddenly I was given the opportunity to turn my memories into action.

I visited the northeast part of Puerto Rico again in 2015 on behalf of the foundation. The Paul H. Johanson Foundation has donated to the Sierra Club and its trails program to improve the trail system there and intends to continue as part of a matching effort. As I have said, I am grateful for the inspiration provided by my parents and by Dr. Johanson and hope that the work of the foundation can inspire others to help restore this area. I was very saddened to see the destruction from Hurricane Maria but I know that these natural areas have the strength to recover and open to the public again with our help. In this way, we can foster a greater understanding of their value to our planet as well as their vulnerability to climate change.

What You Can Do

Support Sierra Club Puerto Rico and our Hurricane Maria recovery efforts. Just over a year after the devastating hurricane, we're working to rebuild -- and reimagine -- our Island, building a just, resilient and sustainable electric grid, protecting and promoting our coastal lands, and continuing our environmental justice efforts to create a zero waste Island of Enchantment.

Your tax-deductible donation supports all of these efforts across Puerto Rico, and when you give today, your gift will be matched by the Dr. Paul H. Johanson Foundation, up to $100,000. Please help us take advantage of this opportunity and give what you can today.

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