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Environmental Hedging: Puerto Rico

December 6, 2017

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How goes it ladies and germs,

History shows us that social change most often arises when people become aware of tension. They become aware that reality and the ideals they carry are no longer in sync and the tension experienced is little more than the recognition of a new reality. Human beings have a natural tendency to revert to the past for confirmation, to say this has worked before, therefore it will work now. But what a lot of people do not understand is that there is such a thing as good progress and bad progress and that what once was renowned old, is now found anew. Because humanity is not very good at learning from its past mistakes it is common we lead ourselves into reminiscent predicaments. In some circles one might say we gain wisdom through trial and error. In other circles, however, we loose the opportunity for wisdom through denial and error.  As Heraclitus once wrote: “Man is found foolish by a god, as child is by a man.” Sometimes we need to grow up a bit and face our problems with the resolve of adulthood.

However, the strength of our humanity is that we are, by the very definition of our creation, capable of nearly anything. The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amount to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle. The fact that humans are capable of action means that the unexpected can be expected from us, that we are able to perform what is infinitely improbable. And this again is possible only because each human being is unique, that with each birth something uniquely new comes into the world. This is why every single life is something anew that ought to be cherished and nurtured. Which is why this week were are going to talk miracles.

Folks, it was nothing short of a late night miracle this week that baby boomers took the last safe guard of social-equality this country had left to offer in taxation and representation. We are now on our own as a fully individualistic society and have been painfully released from the bonds of modern american governance and back to something reminiscent of the Gilded Age of the early 1900s. You know, the era of monopolization, the era of cronyism, and the big family politics which ultimately formed and founded our contemporary basis of social-equality in the first place—things like women’s suffrage, child-labor laws, civil-liberty laws, and labor unions all were derived from the reactionary movement of the many from the greed and inhumanity of the few during that time frame.

This is how history always surprises humanity with the miracle of change, change which more often than not takes an entire generation to enact. Sometimes this change comes in the form of presidential example, and sometimes change reveals itself as a painful complementary of what not to be. Fortunately for all of us here today we have been given the best of poor examples to enact every miracle in our arsenal. Which is how, always, things come full circle for human beings. Some people contribute to good progress, others contribute to bad progress. But no matter what, to the individual, it is progress.

At the end of the day, however, what defines the good and the bad is society itself. In society there are people that make miracles, then there are people that are miracles in and of themselves. Then there are those in need of miracles. Puerto Rico is in need of a miracle, folks. We can either help or not help. We could either sit by idle and do nothing or we could perk up a bit and lend the helping hand of human dignity. They are, by all legal standards, American. Just have a Puerto Rican produce their passport. Furthermore, if one considers history as an authority in such matters, Puerto Ricans are by definition amongst the first people to lay claim to the title: American. Especially if you consider the notion that there are such things as South Americans, Central Americans, and North Americans, which by global definition is the correct purview to have. That, and their colony preceded ours by roughly 100 years.

That being said, we have been extended a great opportunity to do something really neat for our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. From the rubble always comes the chance to rebuild anew and progress society in a good direction. I have yet to meet the individual to lay claim to the argument that rebuilding Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and gird system to fully accommodate renewable energy is a bad idea and detrimental to society and the longevity of the planet. In fact I am pretty sure society has determined this opportunity as “good” insofar as we have been extended the perfect canvas to show the world what miracles we are capable of.

On one level, it would be a miracle of human dignity. People are suffering there, and suffering in ways the are flat-out wrong. We can change this and are more than capable of doing so. On another level, we can show the world the miracle of mother nature. Indeed she can be destructive from time to time, but more often than not she is a benevolent force of good. We just have to nurture these good qualities. Revamping Puerto Rico’s infrastructure and electrical grid as fully renewable would be a major thorn in the side of big oil and would further provide a beacon of example, an example for good and one we can globally be apart of. This is a big moment for us and for future generations in North America. I say we seize the moment… the only thing getting in our way is the red-tape and the bullshit.

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows and understands this. Each of us contributes his or her own share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken by it. So the phenomena has not aroused much deliberate concern, nor attracted much sustainable inquiry. In consequence, we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what function it serves. But it is clear all of us are taken by it, and taken by it in such proportions we willingly offer up our own well-being in order to accommodate it. Bullshit pervades American culture and we need to understand and know how it is different than lying. And the only difference between bullshit and lying is nothing more than the perversion of language. What the current administration did with the language of Puerto Rico and the perversion of written truth is nothing short of criminal.

For example, it is untrue that Puerto Ricans are not “American” by legal standards. Just ask one to produce a passport. That, and they fight side by side with us in our wars of conquest and provide integral contributions to American culture every single day. However, it is bullshit that our government left them out to dry in spite of them being fully contributing Americans. It is untrue that Puerto Ricans do not deserve the same emergency aide as Americans in the upper-48 do. It is, however, bullshit that they pax taxes for such disservice. It is untrue that we do not need or want Puerto Rico in our union. They are a substantial economic player and a critical location for bio-diversity in the Caribbean. It is, however, bullshit that several months before hurricane Maria they voted to become the 51st state and we did not accept their offer. They have paid their dues, folks. Go there and see it for yourself: there are entire islands that are off-limits to human beings because they were once bombing ranges for the American Navy. There are experimental nuclear facilities there, abandoned by the American army to leak toxic waste into their oceans. And god forbid we talk about the tourists who go there to litter and pillage the iconic island destination every winter. I don’t see why we cant fluff their purse beyond a 10% tip for what we have historically put them through.

So here is our chance to do right by others and future generations! As mentioned in prior blogs Tackle has teamed up with one of our students, Antoine I. of Puerto Rico, Off-Grid Relief Fund, and Urban Health Plan. This will be the first of many rounds of funding and donation to renewable grid development in Puerto Rico, all of which will end with free solar-kits, panels, and energy for families in need.

In Antoine’s own words:

“Off Grid’s Relief first mission is to bring energy to people in the countryside that will not receive power from our energy grid for a year or more. Families that can’t afford to buy a Solar Energy Kit due to how expensive solar energy is.

Our second mission is to also conserve our breathing air, many fumes are intoxicating our island due to the smoke coming from the generators that homes, companies, and hospitals are using in to order to create power. Generators are also time consuming, dangerous and expensive to keep running with gas or diesel every day. It is also a big expense for families that cannot afford to pour gas into them every day or week.

Solar energy is a permanent solution, it generates energy from our biggest natural resource. They can keep the kit and use it forever, if the electrical energy from the grid comes back they can use it as back up in their home in case of a black out.

Our two step mission is to try an impact as many families as we can with Solar Energy in their homes. We want families to see the light shining in their homes forever.

How it Works:

Step 1. Andres scouts the community and chooses a home.

Step 2. Alberto orders to Elementz Energy Corp a friend who supplies almost at cost most of the materials, the rest we buy locally. He also prepares and installs our Solar Energy Kits. Below is the kit we provide homes with. We address that it needs to be a simple kit in order for it to be not complicated for the families.

Step 3. Kamil manages, acquires donations from individuals and/or companies and takes care of the social media outlets with posts and shares of our relief efforts.

Step 4. Together we visit the home with our parents and other donors that want to join. We install the kit and have lunch that we bring with us as well with the family.”


A). If you would like to donate directly to Antoine and the Off-Grid Relief Fund you can go directly to to their Go-Fund me page:


The Go Fund Me web page details their services and impact they’re are making. The ladies and gentlemen at Off-Grid are the ones building the solar-kits, locating the families in need, and coordinating all solar installation efforts. However, they have not obtained non-profit status even though their work is largely non-profit. You can donate as little as $1 or as much as you want. You could even sponsor an entire home if you so choose. Just be sure to note on their Go Fund Me page that you would want to sponsor a home. I would suggest checking out their Facebook page for more in depth look of their efforts. Check them out:


B). Another route of donation, especially you would like to take a tax write-off, one can go through the non-profit fund: Urban Health Plan. Any donations given to this fund will produce a tax-receipt and Antione and Off-Grid can pull donations from the fund and translate them into solar-kits, panels, converters, and so on… Here is their web-site:


All in all if you choose to donate you can go through either or route. If you have already written off all you can for the year, maybe the Go Fund Me route is the most efficient. If there are, however, still write-offs to be had, I would suggest Urban Health as your donation source.

1). The cost of a solar-kit, which powers all electronics and basic refrigeration systems is: $1750

2). The cost of full solar power to a house hold is roughly: $3,200*

(*full solar prices are dependent on size of home, structural condition, and many other variables. That said, $3200 is a fair bidding on cost at this point)

Of course you can donate as little or as much as you want. Every cent counts and will go to improving the lives of others. In the spirit of Tackle Trading and Environmental Hedging there is not a better opportunity to put our money where are mouths are. We have a great chance to make lasting change and set an excellent example of where we need to be as a species, and as a nation. I will be arriving in Puerto Rico on the 14th and Dec to oversee the process, improve upon it if improvements are needed, and show where and to whom your contributions have gone to. This will merely be the first round of donations in what will be a 1-2 year service project, one which we can gather arounds as a community and see that the job gets done.


Bob Shannon.













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