When I say I pray each morning, seeking what to write, I do spend time in quietness. But I also research what my sources are saying.
I came across this photo I took in 2013 that I found on the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement’s (ICCI) website. The photo was taken at ICCI’s offices during the two days of training for leaders in the Keystone Pledge of Resistance. Where I learned so much about community organizing.
This reminds me we have been working on pipeline resistance for ten years. We defeated the Keystone XL pipeline, but not the Dakota Access pipeline. It also looks like the Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia, on Wet’suwet’en lands, will be completed.
Now we are faced with the “false climate solutions” of several proposed carbon (CO2) pipelines in Iowa. The liquified carbon dioxide in these pipelines is a hazardous material that can be lethal when ruptures occur. If that happens in a densely populated area, there could be many deaths.
On November 9th, we held a rally against carbon capture in Des Moines, organized by the Buffalo Rebellion I’m a member of. See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/2022/11/10/dont-look-down/
Part of that rally was blocking Third Street, in front of the Iowa Event Center, where the carbon pipeline supporters were meeting, for about twenty minutes.
In this photo my friend Jake Grobe says “yes, these people stuck in traffic are impatient and angry. But so are we. How long have we waited for action on real climate solutions?”
That is demonstrated by the time span between this photo, and the one above, taken in 2013.
The images of the latest environmental catastrophe, Hurricane Nicole, are really stunning. And, of course, the erosion of beach fronts will only worsen. As another warning, the article below was published just today.
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — Nations will likely burn through their remaining carbon budget in less than a decade if they do not significantly reduce greenhouse gas pollution, a new study shows, causing the world to blow past a critical warming threshold and triggering catastrophic climate impacts.World has nine years to avert catastrophic warming, study shows. Scientists say gas projects discussed at U.N. climate conference would seriously threaten world’s climate goals, by Sarah Kaplan, The Washington Post, November 11, 2022
The question of human survival
Running throughout (Lopez’s book) Horizon is the question of human survival. The multiple threats we now face, especially the very real possibility of climate disaster, expose the tensions between human aspiration and ecological reality. Perhaps what is most needed, Lopez suggests, is for us to lament what we’ve destroyed, but also to praise and love the world we still have. “Mystery,” he writes, “is the real condition in which we live, not certainty.”
Bahnson: You’ve confronted the darkness you see on the horizon with anthropogenic climate change. How do you talk about this with audiences? People need to know what’s coming, yet if you overwhelm them with depressing news, they might freeze. How do you strike the balance between educator and artist?
Lopez: Whenever I speak in public, I write out a new talk. I begin by stipulating, with a modulated voice, that things are way worse than we imagine. And I offer some examples: the collapse of pollinating insect populations; the rise of nationalism; belligerent and ignorant narcissists like Donald Trump; methane gas spewing out of the Siberian tundra. You’re saying to everybody, “Let’s take off the rose-colored glasses now and see what our dilemma really is.” And then the second part of the talk is an evocation of the healing that is necessary and possible, a gradual elevation of the human spirit. It’s about the mobilization that is needed and which is within our reach. Then people know you’ve spoken truthfully, and you have evoked in each person a desire to help, to take care of their families, to have self-regard. I see this pattern in every talk I give. To remember, geographically, exactly where you are speaking that night, and to know whether there might be a full moon outside the building; to offer that sense of immediacy and groundedness; to underscore the specificity of the moment; and to be sure that you implicate yourself in the trouble. It all helps in these situations. If you attempt any version of “I know, and you don’t” or “This is not my fault” or “I am the holy messenger, and you’re the fools,” the evening ends in darkness. You have to be in it with them.
You have to be in it with them
“And then the second part of the talk is an evocation of the healing that is necessary and possible, a gradual elevation of the human spirit. It’s about the mobilization that is needed and which is within our reach. Then people know you’ve spoken truthfully, and you have evoked in each person a desire to help, to take care of their families, to have self-regard”
I have experienced this healing with my Des Moines Mutual Aid community.
“You have to be in it with them” is the core concept of Mutual Aid. Perhaps more accurately stated, “we are all in this together”.
Please build Mutual Aid communities where you are.