With support from The Amsterdam Collective Casa de Cultura and Tohmajärvi Residency I have collected people’s personal experiences with climate change. This is a portion of the many interviews. The process continues with Jamaica Flux: Workspaces and Windows 2021.
Education is important in teaching people about climate change. People also need activities that can show them and inform them how to do things better. We can start by convincing the people that we care about.
We are really pushing consumption when we should be pushing conservation: hold on to what you have; make it little, don’t make it big. This is like a whole mindset that we have grown away from.
She believes that everybody has to sit back and think about what they are doing. We don’t have any time to wait. We are not going to make these kinds of sacrifices unless we see the greater good and the greater good is that we are all in this together and we are all related.
During her childhood in Hong Kong she experienced the four seasons. Her family made seasonal foods to help the body adjust and be balanced from one season to another. In spring or fall certain soups were made to reduce dampness or dryness in the body. At school they had two different uniforms for spring/summer and fall/winter. The parents were notified when to switch their child’s uniform according to the season. In today’s climate, the four seasons are blend into one – summer. Traditional Chinese New Year is around January or February. As a young child her mom bought her a new dress or winter coat to celebrate the New Year and her growth. She still remembers the cozy, warm feeling of a new dress made of wool or velvet. In today’s climate higher temperatures linger longer all year around. Children can now wear short sleeve shirts and enjoy ice cream during the traditional Chinese New Year.
With her family they used to love winter gatherings on their frozen pond in upstate New York. They played music and danced on the frozen ice. They miss this fun family winter activity which they have not been able to do for many years. Each winter for the past 15-20 years their pond froze over but for the recent 4-5 years in has stopped freezing entirely.
Connecticut / Honduras
He was born in Honduras from “Jaimeneros” parents and Garifuna Culture. He lived in Connecticut for 32 years and recently moved to NYC. He had a garden in Connecticut where he used to plant and grow food. As a farmer, he noticed changes in the environment like the lack of snow in the last few years. The lack of snow affects the crops. As a farmer he also noticed that it became harder to find some products, prices started coming up and if he was able to find certain products, they were more expensive and less nutritious (higher price for less quality).
In poor countries, like Honduras, the lack of rain affects farming. The caravans of people traveling from Honduras to the US border is partially happening due to lack of agronomic resources. Many young people cannot find work because there is no income from the farming, and no support for farmers.
He wants to ask churches and different programs to help immigrants find farmers who cultivate coffee and basic grains so that they don’t have to leave their countries and suffer the immigration journey but instead can stay in Honduras and live out of farming and help the country’s economy. Also, opportunities for higher education would help people stay in their country and work as farmers. We have been observing the global warming around the world and trying to learn what we can to make positive changes, learn about our responsibility and give higher respect to the planet where we live on.
She has spent a lot of her time in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and has seen a lot of changes over the years. Last summer she noticed some big changes. There have been more shark and seal encounters in Cape Cod. Also, you never hear of a tornado in Cape Cod but recently there was a tornado on their street. She and her husband couldn’t believe the tornado warnings but it came and whipped through their street knocking down many trees. It made a lot of damage in ten minutes.
As a child he always commuted to school by skis. Every winter there was snow. In recent years there have been less and less snow in southern Finland. Last winter there was barely any snow. He loves skiing but was unable to ski even once.
As a child he also did forestry work with his father. They used a horse buggy. In today’s climate it would be impossible to do forestry work with a horse buggy because the forest floors are too soft, not frozen and the buggy wheels would sink into the forest floors.
Lots of changes in climate have happened in six decades that he can remember easily.
The summer weather in the northern Spain has been hot and dry, with temperatures around 42-50 degrees Celsius. That is very unusual for the north. She cannot understand how people keep denying climate change.
It was a mild winter. Without the precipitation, snow on the ground, the water to fill the rivers there’s a potential of forest fires and lessening of water supply. It is worrisome to have such mild winters.
He is excited that the youth are getting involved in impacting climate change. His niece knows how to recycle which is an advancement from the days when he was much younger. The earth needs to be a sustainable place to live and it is important for everyone to be part of that cause.
Finns celebrate name days, meaning that on each day of the year someone’s name is acknowledged. There is an old way of saying related to the name days: Simo builds bridges and Antti carries buggy shafts. Simo’s day is celebrated in October and it used to be that the winter frost came by Simo’s day. By Antti’s day which is celebrated in November, the frost used to be strong enough for the horse buggies to travel in the forests. The farmers could begin forestry work as the ground was sturdy and not soft under the buggy reels.
In today’s climate the winter frost comes much later and sometimes not until January. The old-school horse buggies would sink into the soft forest floors. She believes that a good frost would also give nature a chance to rest. Now there are more plant diseases, pests and weeds and more pesticides are needed to control farming.
She is from Brazil, Porto Alegre and thinks that it is impossible not to see the effects of climate change. She has particularly seen its signs in the southern Brazil, through torrential rains, flash floods, and heavy winds that now occur more frequently. These climate events have led to people losing their homes and belongings that often took life times to build. Many farmers have lost their crops, their livelihood but also this has made it harder for people to access food. She thinks that it is important to be attentive to the individual choices we make because these choices have an impact in climate change. But collective pressure for actions is needed so that we can detain further climate changes.
She is worried how the climate may change and how it may influence her future. She hopes that we can stop climate change.
A couple of years ago she visited the Amazon forest for the first time in her life and found herself overwhelmed by an infinite sense of beauty and the power of nature, trees, water, birds and other living species. She felt like a speckle in the panorama of life. In seeing such beauty in an environment full of vitality and strength made her think of other environments that are dying, like forests, coral reefs, and glaciers. The loss of these environments made her feel like losing tissue of her own body, her own life, and all the richness that she carries within herself.
At her home country in Austria she has experienced climate change and environmental protection issues. She hears that the mountain glaciers are thinning and the ice is melting more and more rapidly. This causes flash floods and stone falls that bury roads and destroy houses. The melting ice makes the rivers overflow. Temperatures have risen. Temperatures above 38 degrees C are not uncommon any more. She asks herself if there is anything she could do to protect the environment and climate. She questions whether her family needs a car. Maybe they can rent one when needed. She tries to avoid traveling by plane and considers traveling only locally. She also thinks that it is better to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. It is important for all of us to ask ourselves what we can do to protect the environment.