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

Incendi, inondazioni e furia: votare per il clima

Appartengo alla prima generazione che cresce nella crisi climatica. Il mio viaggio da ambientalista è iniziato col fuoco.
United States, Northern America

Story by Melaina Dyck. Translated by Anita Landolfo
Published on March 19, 2022.

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



Quando penso alle elezioni presidenziali, penso alla cenere.

Il 9 novembre 2016, mi svegliai in uno stato confusionale, devastata dal caos della notte precedente. [1] La prima cosa che avvertii fu l’odore acre del fumo. Uscii dal mio piccolo appartamento al piano terra in Columbia, nella Carolina del Sud, e mi ritrovai in una nube di cenere. L'aria era colma di residui bruciati provenienti dalla foresta nella zona occidentale dello stato, giunti in città insieme ai pick-up che suonavano fragorosamente per le strade esibendo dai paraurti le bandiere celebrative del "Make America Great Again" (Rendiamo di nuovo grande l'America).

"Che razza di scherzo cosmico è mai questo?" Pensai. Gli incendi non dovrebbero scoppiare nella Carolina del Sud. [2]

Nell’autunno 2016 ero al penultimo semestre del mio corso di laurea in Scienze Ambientali, dove studiavo la crisi climatica e i suoi intrecci politici. Per tutti e quattro gli anni vissuti in Columbia, gli uragani causarono enormi inondazioni con numerosi sfollati dalla costa più a est. Mentre i quartieri intergenerazionali venivano smantellati dagli allagamenti e le famiglie perdevano le proprietà tramandate sin dall'emancipazione, [3] i politici in Columbia si rifiutavano persino di parlare di "innalzamento del livello del mare"[4] e, man mano che la zona occidentale dello stato bruciava e quella orientale si allagava, la Columbia straripava di parate improvvisate per celebrare l'elezione di un negazionista climatico. La disperazione, la delusione accesero in me una rabbia infinita che brucia tutt’ora da quel giorno.

È per questo che il mio viaggio da ambientalista è iniziato col fuoco.

Crescendo, ho trascorso le estati nella Columbia Britannica (CB), in Canada. Quando avevo otto anni, lo scarabeo di pino di montagna infestò le sue foreste, lasciando lunghe distese di alberi morti. Essendo aride come scatole di legno infiammabili, le foreste permisero agli incendi estivi di spazzar via l’intera provincia. Una notte, mio padre e mio zio mi portarono su una collina e lì, al di là del lago, vidi una collina simile venir inghiottita dalle fiamme. Ero terrificata e non potei fare a meno di chiedermi cosa si potesse fare per quegli scarabei.

Al liceo ci dissero che entro il 2020 gli uragani sarebbero stati più numerosi, caratterizzati da maggiore forza e umidità e, se non avessimo agito subito, gli incendi avrebbero bruciato tutto l'anno; ma mancavano ancora dieci anni al 2020 ed ero certa che gli adulti avrebbero preso provvedimenti al riguardo.

Nella notte delle elezioni 2020, ero seduta intorno ad un falò che riscaldava me ed il mio amico in una fredda sera di novembre; entrambi attendevamo impazienti all'aperto, poiché con l'aumento dei casi di COVID-19 non era appropriato assembrarsi tra amici al chiuso. Insieme controllavamo costantemente le mappe elettorali con la speranza che gli stati blu in favore dei democratici fossero maggiori di quelli rossi, in favore dei repubblicani; tuttavia, man mano che il fuoco si spegneva, la mappa si accendeva di un rosso intenso.

Il 4 novembre 2020 l'alba limpida rischiarava il cielo, ma l'incertezza incombeva su tutto il resto come la cenere di quattro anni addietro. Il conteggio dei voti fu fatto nei giorni successivi e la mappa si colorò prettamente di blu. Nel 2020, per la prima volta, gli elettori statunitensi elessero un candidato con un solido piano sul clima. [5]

Appartengo alla prima generazione che cresce nella crisi climatica. Per me, le elezioni riguardano incendi e cenere, uragani e inondazioni. La mia rabbia arde per i fallimenti che ci hanno trascinati in questa crisi e non mi fido né dei politici né dei loro piani. Eppure, quando le elezioni del 2020 sono state finalmente convocate, ho intravisto un barlume di speranza nella fredda brezza di novembre che ancora una volta ha acceso quel fuoco in me. Ora, però, mettiamoci al lavoro.


Note a piè di pagina

[1] L’8 novembre 2016, Donald Trump è stato eletto presidente degli Stati Uniti d'America. 

[2] Scorrere in basso fino alla voce “2016” per maggiori informazioni sul più grande incendio nella storia della Carolina del Sud scoppiato il giorno dopo le elezioni del 2016: https://www.state.sc.us/forest/firesign.htm#:~:text=The%20largest%20mountain%20wildfire%20on,was%20controlled%20on%20December%2016.

[3] Con emancipazione ci si riferisce alla fine della schiavitù negli Stati Uniti, dichiarata dal Proclama di Emancipazione il 22 settembre 1862.

[4] L'innalzamento del livello del mare sta interessando molte comunità costiere nella Carolina del Sud. Tra quelli colpiti per primi e più duramente ci sono i quartieri neri, compresi quelli con famiglie che hanno tramandato le loro proprietà dalla fine della schiavitù. Alcune di queste rientrano nella "proprietà dell’erede", secondo cui la terra viene tramandata per generazioni senza un testamento legale. La proprietà dell’erede è spesso esclusa dal sostegno governativo per la ripresa o l’allontanamento dalle inondazioni e dall'innalzamento del livello del mare, comportando la perdita di ricchezza e di connessioni comunitarie. Per ulteriori informazioni cercare “Heirs Property Retention Coalition”, ascoltare il podcast “Broken Ground” del Southern Environmental Law Center, in particolare l'episodio ‘Uprooted’ e leggere l’articolo “Sea Level Rise and Land Slipping Away” sul quotidiano Charleston Post & Courier.

[5] Per ulteriori dettagli, leggere il piano sul clima di Biden e ascoltare "How 2020 Became a Climate Election” dal podcast "How to Save a Planet".


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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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