Saturday, September 17, 2016

#NoDAPL #WaterIsLife

Over the years I've become more and more of a fan of Ed Abbey the man and his writing. I was late to come to his novel Monkey Wrench Gang, supposedly a model for the group Earth First. While reading reports of the protests at, and in support of, Standing Rock, I've been enjoying a fantasy of the Monkey Wrench Gang taking on the oil pipeline folks. In a happy coincidence, this morning while poking about the back alleys of the interwebs, I found online copies of Wild Earth, a journal published by Earth First. (If there is a heaven, and if I make it there, will eternity give me enough time to read everything I want to?)

St. Louis River, northern Minnesota
St. Louis River, northern Minnesota
Photo by J. Harrington

I think we may have already mentioned in My Minnesota, but it's worth emphasizing through repetition, that there have been more than 400 oil pipeline accidents and spills in the U.S. just this century. That list is incomplete and growing. I'm not sure how the safety record of the oil and gas industry compares to that of the mining sector, but from all I've read, neither has anything to be proud of, but then the record of the U.S. government in honoring commitments to Native Americans isn't something I'd want to try to get into heaven on either.

If we want to maintain a habitable earth for ourselves and our children, we need a 12 step program to help us off our addiction to fossil fuels and we need to work that program now, not "I'll quit tomorrow." Building more pipelines under those circumstances makes as much sense to me as Iron Rangers voting for Donald Trump. If Minnesota and the federal government issue the permits needed for copper sulfide mining to proceed before the entire industry has reformed its less than sterling behavior, I hope we'll be blessed by a visit from all those now at Standing Rock to support the Ojibwe who rely on northern Minnesota's waters. Maybe, just maybe, we're starting to learn as a society that letting extractive industries have their way in exchange for fundamentally worthless promises to clean up their messes later (and send the rest of us the bill) isn't a winning or wise strategy.

Eagle Poem


By Joy Harjo


To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.


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