L: British Columbia forest fire drawn by Melaina at 8-years-old; R: Voting in 2020

Fuego, inundación y furia: Un voto por el clima

Pertenezco a la primera generación que ha crecido con la crisis climática. Mi experiencia como ecologista comenzó con el fuego.
United States, Northern America

Story by Melaina Dyck. Translated by Natalia Estrada
Published on March 29, 2022.

This story is also available in GB de ir it ru tr



Cuando pienso en elecciones presidenciales, pienso en cenizas.

El 9 de noviembre de 2016 me desperté aturdida, agotada por la devastación de la noche anterior. [1] La primera sensación que noté fue el olor acre del humo. Salí de mi pequeño apartamento en la planta baja de Columbia, Carolina del Sur, en medio de una neblina cenicienta. El aire estaba cargado de partículas de bosque quemado que venían de la parte occidental del estado, acompañaban a las camionetas que tocaban bocina y circulaban por la ciudad con banderas de celebración de "Make America great again" (Que América vuelva a ser grande) flameando en sus parachoques.

¿Qué clase de broma cósmica es ésta? Pensé. No se supone que haya incendios forestales en Carolina del Sur. [2]

El otoño de 2016 fue el penúltimo semestre de mi licenciatura en Ciencias Ambientales. Era estudiante de la crisis climática y de sus enredos políticos. Los huracanes provocaron inundaciones masivas en Columbia los cuatro años que viví allí, junto con los evacuados de la costa más al este. Mientras los barrios intergeneracionales se desintegraban por las aguas de las inundaciones y las familias perdían las propiedades que fueron pasándose generación tras generación desde la Emancipación,[3] los políticos de la capital del estado, Columbia, se negaban a utilizar siquiera el término "aumento del nivel del mar". [4] Ahora, el oeste del estado ardía mientras el este se inundaba y Columbia se llenaba de desfiles improvisados para celebrar la elección de un negacionista de la crisis climática. Mi desesperación y decepción encendieron una rabia constante que ha ardido desde ese día.

Como no podía ser de otra manera, mi experiencia como ecologista comenzó con el fuego.

Cuando era chica, pasaba veranos en Columbia Británica (BC), Canadá. Cuando tenía ocho años, los escarabajos del pino devastaron los bosques de BC, dejando franjas de árboles muertos. Esos bosques secos eran polvorines y ese verano los incendios arrasaron la región. Una noche, mi papá y mi tío me llevaron a la ladera de una colina para ver, a través de un lago, una ladera similar envuelta en llamas. Me aterrorizó. También me pregunté qué se podía hacer con esos escarabajos.

En la escuela secundaria me enteré de que en 2020 los huracanes serían más numerosos, masivos y húmedos, mientras que los incendios forestales arderían todo el año, si no hacíamos nada. Pero faltaban diez años para el 2020, y seguramente los adultos harían algo.

En la noche de las elecciones de 2020, me senté al aire libre con una hoguera que nos daba calor a mi amigo y a mí en una fría noche de noviembre. Compartimos nuestra nerviosa anticipación al aire libre porque, con el aumento de los casos de COVID-19, no era seguro estar dentro de casa con amigos. Comprobamos constantemente el mapa electoral, esperando que más estados se volvieran azules a favor de los demócratas y menos rojos para los republicanos. Pero, a medida que la hoguera se apagaba, el mapa ardía más en rojo.

El 4 de noviembre de 2020 amaneció despejado, pero la incertidumbre se cernía sobre todo como la ceniza de cuatro años antes. Durante los días siguientes, se contaron los votos y el mapa se volvió lo suficientemente azul. En 2020, por primera vez, los votantes estadounidenses eligieron a un candidato con un sólido plan climático. [5]

Pertenezco a la primera generación que ha crecido con la crisis climática. Para mí, las elecciones tienen que ver con incendios y cenizas, huracanes e inundaciones. Mi rabia está encendida por los fracasos políticos que nos han llevado a este punto de crisis. No confío en que los políticos cumplan sus planes. Sin embargo, cuando finalmente se convocaron las elecciones de 2020, sentí un soplo de esperanza en la brisa de noviembre. Esto también aviva la llama. Hay trabajo que hacer.


Notas al pie

[1] El 8 de noviembre de 2016, Donald Trump fue elegido presidente de Estados Unidos.

[2] Al desplazarse hacia "2016" se puede obtener información sobre el mayor incendio forestal de la historia de Carolina del Sur, que ardió el día después de las elecciones de 2016: https://www.state.sc.us/forest/firesign.htm#:~:text=The%20largest%20mountain%20wildfire%20on,was%20controlled%20on%20December%2016.

[3] La emancipación se refiere al fin de la esclavitud en Estados Unidos, declarado por la Proclamación de Emancipación el 22 de septiembre de 1862.

[4] El aumento del nivel del mar está inundando muchas comunidades costeras de Carolina del Sur. Entre los primeros y más afectados están los barrios afroamericanos, incluidos aquellos cuyas familias se han ido pasando propiedades generación tras generación, desde el final de la esclavitud. Algunas de estas propiedades entran en la categoría de "propiedad de los herederos", en la que la tierra se ha transmitido a lo largo de generaciones sin un testamento legal. Las propiedades de los herederos suelen quedar excluidas de las ayudas gubernamentales para recuperarse o alejarse de las inundaciones y del crecimiento el nivel del mar, lo que implica la pérdida de riqueza, así como de las conexiones con la comunidad. Para obtener más información consultar: Heir’s Property Retention Coalition; Southern Environmental Law Center  podcast "Broken Ground" , en especial el episodio "Uprooted"; Sea Level Rise de Post & Courier de Charleston y Land Slipping Away

[5] Para obtener más información, leer el plan de acción climática de Biden  y escuchar "How 2020 Became a climate election" (Cómo se convirtió el 2020 en una elección climática) del podcast "How to Save a Planet" (Cómo salvar un planeta).


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Melaina Dyck

Melaina Dyck

Melaina is passionate about the power of stories in order to create connection. Personally and professionally, she driven by the desire to meet people and learn new perspectives.

With a Masters in Environmental Science, Melaina works at the intersection of human rights and environmental issues, advocating for communities whose stories are not always heard. Melaina has had the opportunity to travel, live and study in 11 countries (so far!). 

Melaina enjoys the challenging art of editing and writing. She is Correspondents of the World Senior Editor and USA Country Manager. Correspondents of the World combines several of her favourite things: learning from diverse perspectives, connecting with people all over the world, and working with words to tell stories.

Send her an email ([email protected]) if you’d like to chat. She looks forward to meeting you! 

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