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Puerto Rico Then and Now

2012 December 17

Today’s featured area brings us to Puerto Rico’s past. Places and people were sharply documented by photographer John Vachon, who gave us scenes that are no less emotional and challenging than those that we have seen before.

Browse the full Vachon set on Flickr, or search further in the Archives OPA Database.

If you live or travel within the area, we invite you to share photos of Puerto Rico today. Where possible, we challenge you to match any of the scenes from Documerica for State of the Environment’s Then & Now challenge.

Photos taken from the same vantage point could earn you a spot at the 2013 National Archives Exhibit in D.C.

Find how close Documerica came to you – where you may have grown up and where you live now – with the simple steps below. Please include a link to the Documerica image(s) you match.

Documerica Returns Traveling Exhibit

… is coming to New York City for the remainder of December and January. Stay tuned here for venue dates and locations!

DOCUMERICA: Boat Launching From Luguillo Beach San Juan, Puerto Rico 02/1973 by John Vachon.

DOCUMERICA: Boat Launching From Luguillo Beach San Juan, Puerto Rico 02/1973 by John Vachon.

DOCUMERICA: Palo Seco Electric Power Plant Across the Bay From San Juan 02/1973 San Juan, Puerto Rico by John Vachon (1914-1975).

DOCUMERICA: Palo Seco Electric Power Plant Across the Bay From San Juan 02/1973 San Juan, Puerto Rico by John Vachon (1914-1975).

DOCUMERICA: Sign on Bridge near Ppg Plant Protests Air Pollution Ponce, Puerto Rico 02/1973 by John Vachon.

DOCUMERICA: Sign on Bridge near Ppg Plant Protests Air Pollution Ponce, Puerto Rico 02/1973 by John Vachon.

DOCUMERICA: Sugar Refinery. Trucks Bring in Freshly Cut Cane 02/1973 Mayagüez-Aguadilla, Puerto Rico John Vachon (1914-1975).

DOCUMERICA: Sugar Refinery. Trucks Bring in Freshly Cut Cane 02/1973 Mayagüez-Aguadilla, Puerto Rico John Vachon (1914-1975).

DOCUMERICA: A Village Street 02/1973 Ponce, Puerto Rico by John Vachon (1914-1975).

DOCUMERICA: A Village Street 02/1973 Ponce, Puerto Rico by John Vachon (1914-1975).

DOCUMERICA: Palo Seco Electric Power Plant in the Background San Juan, Puerto Rico 02/1973 by John Vachon (1914-1975).

DOCUMERICA: Palo Seco Electric Power Plant in the Background San Juan, Puerto Rico 02/1973 by John Vachon (1914-1975).

DOCUMERICA: Garbage-Strewn Atlantic Beach 02/1973, Puerto Rico 02/1973 by John Vachon (1914-1975).

DOCUMERICA: Garbage-Strewn Atlantic Beach 02/1973, Puerto Rico 02/1973 by John Vachon (1914-1975).

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

3 Responses
  1. Master Melvin M. Lusterio permalink
    December 18, 2012

    The Good Force be with you!

    Puerto Rico needs a clean up to make it beautiful again.

    Live forever and prosper!

  2. Eusebia Luna Aquino-Hughes permalink
    December 18, 2012

    USA treats our PuertoRico homeland like it has “always” treated our native people like “trash”until they need “warm bodies”to die in their home grown wars around the World to maintain their White and Black only America 2012. PuertoRico will never be beautiful until America “free”us from The Colonial chains of Slavery and hate it has for here and in The States for all second class PuertoRicans American citizens like me.We all had to renew our “birth certificate after 9/11.NO LATINOS WOULD EVER HARM AMERICA But we are paying for it based on racism alone!CRYING OUT LOUD FREE ME AMERICA OR KILL ME:-( Peace

  3. Lina - EPA permalink
    December 19, 2012

    Dear Eusebia,

    Thank you for comments. In fact, at EPA we seek to actively engage the public through our social media in both English and Spanish in order to enhance environmental awareness and stewardship. We actively reach out to Hispanics through out blog “Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente” (blog.epa.gov/espanol) and facebook.com/epaespanol and Twitter.com/epaespanol.

    In the 40 plus years that EPA has been in Puerto Rico, the Agency has worked with the government and people of Puerto Rico to make the air cleaner, the water purer and the land better protected.

    As a Puerto Rican who works at EPA, I also care deeply about the islands’ environment and people. If you have been following the news, you probably are aware that in November the people of the islands of Puerto Rico voted to reject Puerto Rico’s territorial status and a majority voted for statehood. It is true that Puerto Rico’s status will not change overnight, but the US Congress will have to take into consideration Puerto Rico’s will and start the proces for Puerto Rico to finally have a voice and vote in its national government.

Comments are closed.