Amira Odeh has personally faced the devastation of extreme weather. In 2017, she was living with her grandmother in Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit.
As wind and rain battered their home, she struggled to block water from coming in the windows and doors.
“It was super scary, super stressful,” Odeh says. “We could feel the walls vibrating because of how strong the wind was.”
But when the storm ended, the fear did not.
“We were scared every day not knowing if we were going to have water or if we were going to have food for the next day,” she says.
So after the initial crisis passed, Odeh wanted to help rebuild the island and improve local food security. She and other young organizers set out to reforest the island with fruit trees.
Odeh says their effort, called Regreen Puerto Rico, provided trees and seeds to more than 3,000 families in need.
“It was like community therapy,” she says. “It brought a lot of people together.”
Odeh says she and other young people are passionate about helping the island prepare for increasingly extreme weather.
“We know we’re going to live through this,” she says. “And we know that if we don’t do anything about this, then no one’s going to do it for us.”
Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.