“The earth is what we all have in common.” – Wendell Berry, farmer, naturalist and writer
For weeks now, like most North Americans and people everywhere, I’ve followed the nerve-wracking news reports of climate chaos and violent weather in many parts of the world.
Shocking. And heartbreaking.
I watched CNN’s live coverage as Houston, my hometown, was flooded with not just rain, but also toxic chemicals from oil refineries and chemical plants that dominate the Texas economy.
In Northern California, where I attended an organic seed conference, the skies were blackened by smoke from the massive forest fires raging in the Northwest.
Hurricanes. Floods. Earthquakes. Wildfires. Is this the beginning of the end of normal life, even in North America?
This week, disaster struck even closer to home. On Tuesday, a powerful earthquake— the second in a matter of weeks—rattled our Mexico City office.
Everyone is fine, but one of our Mexico City staff lost her family’s apartment. Seven of her neighbors died when their four-story building collapsed.
Beyond Mexico City’s borders, in impoverished rural areas wracked by hurricanes or hit by two back-to-back earthquakes, three million people who were already struggling with the basics of food and shelter, now have nowhere to turn.
This latest catastrophe occurred just as we were about to launch our third-quarter fundraising campaign. As a staff, we asked ourselves if we should hold off on this campaign. There are so many people in need right now.
Then we had an idea. What if we reached out to you, our regular donors, with this offer: Donate to our third-quarter campaign, and we’ll give back 15 percent of your donation to help farmers and others in Mexico hit hard by the recent earthquakes.
Right now, our Mexico-based Vía Orgánica team is collecting food from our farm and our organic food store in Mexico, along with clothes and other much-needed necessities. We’re trying to get these supplies to the areas where they’re most needed. We’ll use 15 percent of your donation to help buy food, clothes and other supplies, and pay for transport.
We’ll also donate to Yolcan, an organization in Mexico working to protect sensitive island farms that “float” above the surface of Mexico’s Chinampas canals. Farmers tending these lands, which provide Mexico City with much of its fresh organic fruits and vegetables, have been hit hard by the earthquakes.
But this thought also comes to mind: In a larger sense, each disaster ultimately affects all of us. Because we share a common home, Earth.
And how we care—or don’t care—for our common home, including our soils, waters and forests, has consequences for all of us.