Friday, September 16, 2016

What is being birthed in North Dakota?

The Sacred Stone Camp in North Dakota, one of the two front lines of struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline (the other being in Iowa), continues to grow - both physically in place, and in terms of solidarity all around the world. It has captured the imagination of people who are facing a similar harsh reality - the threat to their land and waters, the threat to their families and their futures, the threat to climate, from the fossil fuel industry.

Photo: Sacred Stone Camp

One of the harsh realities of the Obama administration, despite a public commitment to address the threat of the atmosphere's rising carbon load, is the record expansion of the domestic oil and gas industry by way of drilling and fracking, greater than ever in our history. This is being done in the name of "energy independence," a strategy that Obama called "all of the above." Expand it all - solar, wind, sure, but the real ticket in this global economy was to get at our own oil and gas reserves. And that meant developing the technology to go after the hard-to-get stuff, the carbon stuck in shale rock or deep under the seas or all mixed up in the sands we call "tar" sands because what this is really is tar, not sand, and needs to be extracted and refined into a synthetic fuel.

And to get that stuff extracted and then moved to refineries and to market, the other thing needed was infrastructure - more and more infrastructure. More pipelines, bigger refineries, larger export platforms, super-tankers for ocean carriers, more rail cars, more frac sand mined from the rich sand hills of western Wisconsin.

One result is a real dirty mess wherever the expansion is underway, grave costs to the natural environment, irreparable damage - the boreal forests of Alberta, the poisoned water from the fracking process, the stripped sand hills, gone forever, the sites of hundreds and hundreds of pipeline spills.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Meaning of New Creation

Some call it “The Great Unraveling.” What we know is that all around the planet, living systems are under stress and some are breaking down. What we know is that the atmosphere is warming rapidly, weather is becoming more chaotic and unpredictable as climate responds to the heat, ice sheets and glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising, flooding our shores and threatening island nations. What we know is that everywhere we seem to be facing crises of toxic contamination – in our water sources, in our soils, in the air we breathe. We also know that the rate of species extinctions is accelerating at a rate not seen in millions of years.

Something has gone very wrong with the way we humans live here.