Soundwaves: Political and Musical Exchange between Students and Activists in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands

Vol. 7, núm. 1, 2019

Por: Priya Parrotta Natarajan

Climate activists tend to agree that the ecological crisis we face today is, to a large extent, a crisis of communication. The lived experience of climate change in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands, for instance, are often excluded from international political negotiations. They are also ignored by industries and individuals with the largest “ecological footprints”—in Puerto Rico, and around the world. This is a source of immense frustration for academics, artists, and activists who wish for a dramatic shift in climate politics. It is equally maddening for people who wish to engage in climate-related dialogue with people beyond the borders of their own countries—in the service of this deeply global, and deeply local, challenge. In this article, I discuss this crisis further, focusing in particular on the gaps in communication between environmentalists in the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. Drawing lessons from a course on music and climate change that is taking place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I explore the potential of music to foster solidarity between students and activists in Puerto Rico, and across the world’s islands.

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