Monday, October 03, 2005
Green Earth Cluster Relief Efforts
Relief and Rebuilding after the Hurricanes
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita affected an area the size of Great Britain. While the official government response has ranged from inadequate to abusive, hundreds and thousands of ordinary people have volunteered time, skills, and resources to help the survivors. As the flood waters recede, relief is still needed in many communities. The Common Ground collective in Algiers, a suburb of New Orleans, has organized community-based services, a medical clinic, and resisted attempts to evict all the remaining inhabitants of the city. The Rainbow Gathering kitchens have been feeding thousands. The Veterans for Peace have been using their skills and experience to help bring supplies and needed services to people.
For the month of October, the Green Earth Cluster will establish a base for people with skills in ecological design, permaculture, and/or roots in earth-based spirituality to connect together and volunteer our help. Many of us have been together in Pagan Cluster actions in mobilizations, or taken part in Green Bloc projects to support community gardens or challenge corporate control by planting a vision of the world we want. Now we have an opportunity to use our skills on a much larger scale.
In early October, we’ll be setting up an encampment on a friend’s land near the Houma Reservation, about an hour and a half from New Orleans, working on offering support to the elders and community members whose homes were flooded and now need to be cleaned, demolded, and made habitable. The work is not likely to be glamorous, and we may or may not have opportunities to do permaculture, building or greening projects, but our intention is to do what is most needed. Later, our base and focus may change as new needs are identified.
Who is needed? Anyone who can work hard, stay healthy in tough conditions, be self-reliant, and do what needs to be done. People with carpentry and building skills, trauma and crisis counseling skills, and medical training are always needed, but so are those who can do driving, general cleanup, and are simply willing to take on unpleasant tasks. We all need to be able to work sensitively in a variety of different cultural milieus.
Below is a call sent out by the Pagan Cluster, with contact information. If you are moved to join us, contact information is at the bottom of this post. There is also information on how to donate money (by Paypal or by tax-deductible check) to help purchase needed supplies.
Pagan Cluster Call to Action
Hurricane Relief Mobilization
The Green Earth Cluster is planning to create a presence in the hurricane affected areas for at least the month of October, around which we can reach out to support the relief and rebuilding work of the local individuals and communities in the affected areas.
What will we be doing?
Many of the details will remain fluid as we respond to opportunities and shifting needs. We might be nailing tarps to roofs, we might be chipping wood, we might be listening to people, we might be offering healing at a community medical center, we might be building water filtration systems, we might be helping to organize, we might be sifting through trash and building compost piles. In all things we will be grounding.
What spirit do we hope people will bring with them?
We have the intention of listening and being open to the needs and desires of those who have survived this disaster and to be willing to adapt our response to what we learn. Come with a spirit of willingness to do whatever is needed.
What kind of support can I expect?
It is our intention to create a space to support each other as we reach out to others. There are at least two buses and an RV coming. Accommodations will be very rough and might include tent camping or sleeping on floor space; and will require a fair degree of self sufficiency and self responsibility for your own health and groundedness.
How might I get there?
You can drive there - better yet find others from your area willing to go and drive together. Borrow or rent a truck or van and collect needed supplies from your local community to bring down. You could also fly in and out of the New Orleans airport.
The Living River bus, a grease bus with Elizabeth and Deborah, will be leaving from North Carolina on October 5 and they are willing to pick 10 people up at airports along the way (Charlotte, NC, must arrive by October 4; Atlanta, GA must arrive before noon on October 5; or Birmingham, AL, must arrive by 2 PM October 5.) Four people can get rides back to those airports with Elizabeth on October 17th. Contact Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-877-5571 to make arrangements.
What time frame do I need to come for?
Our expectation is that people will come and go as their schedule and other considerations allow. We will attempt to coordinate those able to offer transportation to and from the mobilization with those that need it, however we ask that you consider your transportation and scheduling needs and do your best to have a plan to meet those needs before arriving.
What should I do if I want to come?
If you can come for any amount of time, email email@example.com with your name and phone number(let us know if it is a cell or land line), the time you will be coming, how you will be getting there, any particular skills or material support you will be bringing with you and any needs that you want the PC community to be aware of.
What else can I do?
- You can donate supplies for Katrina survivors and for the Pagan Cluster community while we are there. The supplies that are most needed change day to day and by location, so please check www.commongroundrelief.org to find out what is most needed. If you have supplies that you are willing to donate, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with what you have and we will help to coordinate how to get it there.
- You can donate much needed money which will be used to help finance this mobilization and hopefully have enough to provide more of the needed supplies. Contributions can by made through PayPal at www.pagancluster.org. Please mail checks to: Alliance for Community Trainers; 1405 Hillmont; Austin, Texas 78704. Indicate on the check that the donation is for Pagan Cluster Katrina Relief Mobilization.
- You can pass along this call to as many supportive communities that you know of in order to strengthen the webs of connections and support.
An e-mail to email@example.com will get a response as soon as possible. If you need to call someone, you can call Juniper at 512-431-7988 or Elizabeth at 336-877-5571.
There is also useful and updated information at the following web-sites: