Tomorrow is 4 months to the start of Canada to Key West Journey and I'm very grateful for the encouragement and support that I have already received from old and new friends. Every day I realize more and more about why I am doing this when I experience and hear about weather extremes. Today, for instance the headlines read about the "massive storm" set to target 39 states with snow, sleet and rain. A couple of days ago I learned about the 'atmospheric river of rain' poised to hit California's areas already overloaded with oodles of packed powder so much that people have been encourage to stay away and last week--there was snow in Hawaii! I think it is time to say "unusual weather" is now our new normal. Part of me misses the days when you could put away your winter coats and boots and then bring out your summer clothes as a kind of ritual to the change of seasons. Does anyone else miss that too?
Mostly, though, as I think of these changes, I worry about my friends with disabilities. Who am I to sit here and complain about what seem like endless, grey cloudy days when I have the ability to jump over puddles? It's got to be much harder to be in a wheelchair in the snow or the ice. And just imagine having a spinal cord injury with a lack of bodily temperature control and not being able to go outside at all because of the polar vortices (btw did you ever hear of these 10 years ago?-and now we have them every year!) or extreme heat waves. The weather is another barrier that seems to be new-at least coming from a temperate climate and things are not getting better.
My son Sterling says this is a crisis without boundaries and I think that explains it all. Weather extremes are increasing all over our earth and we're all in this together. This is why as Canada to Key West has quickly evolved, we've designated September 22, 2019 as the inaugural Day for Tomorrow-the Sunday before Autumn Solstice. This will be a day for people to show their concerns about extreme weather events and their impacts on persons with disabilities- and without, including our neighbors that are underprivileged, homeless, or hungry as a baseline. Around the world, people have been and will be affected again tomorrow by extreme weather!
So, please consider taking action on the Day for Tomorrow. Ideally form a team and walk or roll for 7 kilometers, somewhere in your city or region and let us know about your efforts through the website. Also, let people in your community know why The Day for Tomorrow is important and get your friends, families and neighbors to participate. Now, more than ever we need to work together to make tomorrow a better day!
Lest I get too windy, I am grateful to be speaking on February 21, 2019 about Climate Change and Disability at the Association of Academic Physiatrists in Puerto Rico. Gretchelle Dilan, a hero, who as head of the United Spinal Association Puerto Rico Chapter helped many persons with SCIs after Hurricane Maria, will speak about her experiences. At this meeting we will also announce Canada to Key West and The Day for Tomorrow. In closing, I want to thank my colleagues and new friends Victor Calise, Adam Stein, Steve Flanagan, Martha Sliwinski, Tom Bryce, Joseph Herrera, Kristen McCosh, Chloe Slocum, Ross Zafonte, David Estrada, Cheri Blauwet, Kirstein Monkhouse, Jim Weisman, Gilda Caputo, Peter Wayne, George Badey, Steve Williams, David Cifu, Lance Goetz, Mary Caldwell, Katherine Dec, Hunter Leemon, Byron Burford-Phearse, Patty Duncan, Chris Chapman, Harvinder Chhabra, Ceren Yarar-Fisher, and most of all Craig Alexander for supporting the cause so far. Please reach out with any ideas you have and let's show the world we want to take action NOW!