After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in the fall of 2017, Christine Nieves and her community realized the power they had within themselves to lead the recovery and reimagine their future.
Christine Nieves was greeted with the tragedy of Hurricane Maria in September 2017. To initially support her community, Christine co-created Proyecto de Apoyo Mutuo Mariana (Project for Mutual Aid Mariana), a cooperative open-air kitchen and neighborhood resource that convenes local community members, providing an oasis complete with solar panels, free Wi-Fi, rainwater collection and filtration for cooking, and serves up to 300 meals per day. With her eyes set on the long-term recovery, Christine and her collaborators are shifting to sustainable development. From transforming an abandoned school building into a community center for cultural and artistic projects, to identifying and marshalling resources for individuals to launch micro-businesses, her team is finding ways to support healing from individual and collective trauma. Christine Nieves is co-founder and President of Emerge Puerto Rico - an initiative focused on rooting cutting-edge Climate Change leadership and education in holistic Indigenous and African wisdom. She is also a Bridge Fellow at TNTP where she is working to learn how the education field can better prepare for the growing instances of natural and human-made disasters affecting students, schools, and communities.
“Puerto Rico is birthing a new heart.” Medium. 2017.
“How One Small Town In Puerto Rico Found Food And Community After Maria.” Buzzfeed News. 2017.
Books Christine recommends to contextualize Puerto Rico:
Aftershock of Disaster, Puerto Rico Before and After the Storm, Edited by Yarimar Bonilla and Marisol Lebrón, Haymarket Books. 2019.
Amores que luchan: relato de la victoria contra el gasoducto en tiempos de crisis energetica Massol, A. Libros El Navegante, Ediciones Callejón. 2018.
A un año de Maria, a photographic documentation by Various Authors. Independent Publication.
Fantasy Island Morales, E. Hachette Book Group and Blackstone Publishing. 2019.
La Borinqueña comic Miranda-Rodriguez, E. Somos Arte. 2016.
The Battle for Paradise Klein, N. Haymarket Books. 2018.
Voices from Puerto Rico Morales, I. Red Sugarcane Press, Inc. 2019.
Books that have informed Christine's work:
A Paradise Built in Hell Solnit, R. Penguin. 2010.
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself Dispenza, J. Hay House Inc. 2013.
Dare to Lead Brown, B. Random House. 2018.
Emergent Strategy Brown, A. AK Press. 2017.
Hope in the Dark Solnit, R. Haymarket Books. 2016.
The Body Keeps the Score van Der Kolk, B. Penguin Books. 2015.
Other recommendations from Christine:
Brach, Tara. "Earth's Crisis: On the Edge of the Roof." 2014.
The Seeds We Sow. Directed by Mike Atwood and Edson Jean. 2019.
We need our planet more than it needs us. Human health and climate health are intimately intertwined.
We, individually and collectively, have a relationship with the planet we live on. Like the human body, the planet Earth is a complicated balance of elements that work in harmony to provide stability long into the future. When that balance is disrupted by unnatural events, such as human activity, our future is less certain.
When we consider human health, we must consider how the health of our climate health shapes it—whether it is the impact the climate has on the social determinants of health, the depletion of essential resources like water caused by a changing climate, how we can harness art to connect ourselves to our environment, or how united communities may have profound impacts.
Our speakers have a unique understanding of our connection to climate and its impact on our health. They ask us to consider how we may act as communities on a road toward a healthier world, both for our climate and ourselves.