Tomorrow is Earth Day. I hope we can all find a way to celebrate the event, if not in leisure time then at least in mentioning it to co-workers and friends in order to lift awareness for our serious environmental issues. “Cowboys and Indians” are going to camp in WA-DC, making their way to the White House in order to make a point about the united front of rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. They’ll be there a week and let’s hope the press picks up on it. That should provide enough human interest and pageantry to earn some print space.
Yesterday, the administration announced additional delay in the decision making process. 350′s Bill McKibbon is disturbed that Obama did not reject the pipeline, outright, and I understand his passion on this issue but at least it hasn’t been approved, giving us more time to get the public turned around on the dangers — especially during this potent astrological energy — seems appropriate to me. The public favors this pipeline. Furthering education on the issue is critical.
There is a lot of speculation that Obama orchestrated this delay in order to avoid making a decision prior to the election, where Dems are said to be in trouble in the Senate. Looking at the situation in Nebraska, seems to me that it was their decision to make rather than that of the prez, but … whatever … there is a case to be made that the party of deniers, who always turn out strongly in mid-terms, don’t need any more heat under their butts over the next few months.
And that’s not just “politics as usual.” It’s dire necessity that the left keeps the Senate so that Republicans don’t get to run roughshod over legislation for Obama’s last two years AND — most importantly — don’t get to filibuster and/or outright reject any Supreme Court candidate he puts up over the next months. Yesterday, retired Justice John Paul Stevens mentioned that 81-year old Ruth Bader Ginsberg had solicited his advice on her own retirement.
A cancer survivor, Ginsberg has vowed to keep working at a job she loves rather than quit under a Dem president, guaranteeing a lefty replacement, but at her stage of life it must surely be on her mind. Scalia and Kennedy, on the right, and Breyer on the left are all in their mid-to-late 70s and, although no health problems have been reported, actuary tables reduce their odds of continued lengthy service. worse, even should Obama be the one who nominates a Ginsberg replacement, there are no guarantees, thanks to obscure rules and bylaws (go here for the ugly options.)
Still, numbers count to tip the balance. Another conservative Justice would make the court moot to progressive causes, period. Yes, the United States is in dire trouble in terms of democracy — has, in fact, been identified as an oligarchy — and needs serious assessment and renewal, as does the political party system. Giving ourselves over to regressivism due to political weariness and lethargy is like throwing our hands up and deciding to go down with the ship. In other words, not an option.
Play the YouTube for a satirical but highly educational look at this topic –’like’ the poster on Facebook if you approve. Then, an article on the Cowboy Indian Alliance is next, and here’s some history on such rare cross-culture alliances to flesh out the situation. We need more of that, putting aside our difference for common cause.
The next piece is a template for increasing and improving “the commons” — promoting sharing and collaboration rather than the outmoded notions of production and growth that capitalism continues to push at us. Trying to grow forever is a contradiction in terms. In order to grow, this Republic has had to take a lot of what belongs to others. That has to stop!
Last, just as an FYI, is the 350 press release that adds details to the Cowboy Indian encampment and defines its continuing purpose.
Happy Earth Day, everyone. Love your Mother!
“Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of mankind.”
—Chief Arvol Looking Horse
‘Cowboy Indian Alliance’ Steps Forward in Earth’s Time of Need
Sunday, April 20, 2014 by Common Dreams
‘We are writing a new history by standing on common ground.’- Jon Queally, staff writer
In the week ahead, a coalition of tribal communities, ranchers, farmers and allies calling itself the ‘Cowboy Indian Alliance’ plans to lead a series of protests, ceremonies, and direct actions in the heart of Washington, DC in order to drive home their united opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and the destructive expansion of tar sands mining and fossil fuel dependence it represents.
Under the banner ‘Reject and Project,’ the five-day long event will kick off on this year’s Earth Day—Tuesday, April 23—and culminate on Saturday with a ceremony and procession expected to draw thousands.
“We are writing a new history by standing on common ground by preventing the black snake of Keystone XL from risking our land and water,” said Faith Spotted Eagle of the Yankton Sioux tribe and a spokesperson for the Cowboy Indian Alliance (C.I.A.). “We have thousands of Native sacred sites that will be affected adversely. The Americans facing eminent domain now know what it felt like for us to lose land to a foreign country. There is no fairness or rationale to justify the risk of polluting our waterways with benzene and other carcinogens. Native people are ready to speak for the four-leggeds and the grandchildren who cannot speak for themselves. The answer is no pipeline.”
The coalition, though made up of those from specifically impacted communities, makes a point to say that because “everyone is needed” in the fight against tar sands, “everyone is welcome” in the events, ceremonies, and actions that will take place.
Roger Milk, a member of the Rosebud Sioux, makes it clear: “This just isn’t an Indian thing,” he says. “We all drink the same water.”
“Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of mankind,” adds coalition member Chief Arvol Looking Horse, spiritual leader among the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota people. “Do you think that the creator would create unnecessary people in a time of danger? Know that you are essential to this world. The biggest cancer spreading upon Mother Earth is the tar sands.”
The series of events, says the coalition, will ask President Obama a single, but fundamental question: “Is an export pipeline for dirty tar sands worth risking our sacred land and water for the next seven generations?”
According to their call to action, the organizers say it past time for Obama to acknowledge whether or not he truly understands the stakes involved if this pipeline proceed.
- The Cowboy and Indian Alliance (C.I.A) brings together tribal communities with ranchers and farmers living along the Keystone XL pipeline proposed route. Farmers and ranchers know the risk first-hand. They work the land every day. Tribes know the risk first-hand. They protect the sacred water, and defend sacred sites of their ancestors every day. They have united out of love and respect for the land and water on which we all depend.
This is not the first time Cowboys and Indians have come together to stop projects that risk our land and water. In the 80s, they came together to protect water and the Black Hills from uranium mining and risky munitions testing. In the American imagination, cowboys and Indians are still at odds. However, in reality, opposition to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has brought communities together like few causes in our history. Tribes, farmers and ranchers are all people of the land, who consider it their duty as stewards to conserve the land and protect the water for future generations.
Jane Kleeb, executive director of Bold Nebraska, promises the diverse but unified coalition representing front-line communities will bring their “pipeline fighting spirit” to Washington, DC and the Obama White House.
“The President said he wants to be able to look at his daughters and say ‘yes he did’ do everything he could to combat climate change,” said Kleeb. “We intend to ensure he honors his word.” ++
How the Commons Way of Life Helps Curb Climate Change
It offers an appealing alternative to more stuff and more money, which drives environmental destruction today
Jay Walljasper, On The Commons via Common Dreams
Sunday, April 20, 2014
It’s easy to not think about the looming climate crisis. For one thing, it’s depressing to ponder the misery ahead if we don’t take drastic steps now to curb greenhouse emissions. It’s even more depressing when you consider that even the most modest steps to reduce carbon use in the US have been derailed by corporate lobbyists and ideological zealots.
And even when we do think about climate change, it feels abstract and distant. How can a few parts per million of an invisible gas pose a dire threat to our future, no matter how convincing the scientific evidence. That’s why the heroic work of grassroots organizations like 350.org to translate these facts into action steps is so critical.
“Greater appreciation of the commons will help ease the transition to a society less dedicated to production and economic growth.”
I recently read another fresh perspective on climate change that really hit home. “Probably the most pressing need is to shut down the engines of productivity,” said David Graeber—an organizer of Occupy Wall Street and author of Debt: The First 5000 Years who now teaches anthropology at the London School of Economics, in The Nation.
That’s an even more daunting mission than transforming our energy supply, especially on a planet where many people still suffer from a lack of material resources. Yet I think it’s the key to saving the Earth for human habitation. So long as the worship of productivity— more stuff, more money, more power, more mobility, more space, more control, more everything—reigns supreme, we will continue racing down the path of destruction.
It’s a radically radical proposition, not just in its challenge to business-as-usual in corporations and governments, but for the impact on every aspect of our lives. Still to assure a world worth living in for everyone’s great grandchildren it’s necessary to back off from the mindless pursuit of ever-increasing economic production. We must find a new operating system for modern society that will sustain natural ecosystems at the same time as providing everyone on the planet with food, health, livelihood and security.
An impossibly naive dream? Not really. For much of history, human progress was guided by a different set of principles than the industrialized, market-driven system now accepted as the natural order of the universe. Look around—at indigenous people and civil society, Internet initiatives and our own households—to see a different way of life characterized by sharing and collaboration rather than production for production’s sake.
We experience this way of life throughout our lives. Especially when we are enjoying time away from work and shopping—at the park, with our friends, playing with kids, participating in community activities. Pressed to produce a word to describe it, we might say common sense—which is pretty close to what some folks call it: the commons.
The commons means “what we share together,” distinct from what we own separately. It’s a form of wealth belonging to all of us, which is there for everyone to use so long as we take care to ensure there’s enough for future generations.
Greater appreciation of the commons will help ease the transition to a society less dedicated to production and economic growth. We cannot shift to a sustainable way of life without changing how we think about our place in the world. Slowing production will remain impossible so long as most people identify progress, success and self-worth by what is theirs alone.
The commons broadens people’s vision from what is mine to what is ours, allowing us to see that we are losing more in the quest for ever-more stuff and money than we are gaining. And while defenders of the status quo will roar that a commons way of life defies human nature, the truth is humans have lived this way for most of history. If human existence is to continue in the centuries ahead, it’s crucial that we rediscover this sense of what belongs to all of us together. ++
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2014
Jamie Henn, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-601-9337
350.org and Bill McKibben React to Recent Keystone XL Delay
WASHINGTON – April 18 – 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben issued the following response to the news that the State Department and Obama Adminsitration will be delaying a decision on the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline:
- “It’s as if our leaders simply don’t understand that climate change is happening in real time–that it would require strong, fast action to do anything about it. While we’re at it, the State Department should also request that physics delay heat-trapping operations for a while, and that the El Nino scheduled for later this spring be pushed back to after the midterms. One point is clear: without a broad and brave movement, DC would have permitted this dumb pipeline in 2011. So on we go.”
350.org Communications Director Jamie Henn added:
- “It’s disappointing President Obama doesn’t have the courage to reject Keystone XL right now, but this is clearly another win for pipeline opponents. We’re going to keep up the pressure on the President to make the right call and continue to expand our broader fight against the fossil fuel industry. Big Oil has run Washington for far too long.”
Next week, 350.org will be joining with the Cowboy and Indian Alliance to host Reject and Protect, a week-long encampment on the National Mall to push President Obama to reject Keystone XL once and for all.
The encampment will feature 15 tipis and a covered wagon, and begins on Tuesday with a 40-person ceremonial horseback ride from the Capitol down the National Mall. Ranchers from Nebraska, tribal leaders from Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas, actor Daryl Hannah, the Indigo Girls, environmental and social justice leaders, and others will take part at the encampment over the week.
More than 5,000 people are expected to join the Cowboy and Indian Alliance for a ceremonial procession around by the Capitol on Saturday, April 26. The CIA will finish the procession by delivering a tipi to the Museum of the American Indian in honor of President Obama as a symbol of their respect, and as a symbol of the tipis and other encampments they will erect along the pipeline route if the Keystone XL is approved.
350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us. ++
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”~ The Reverend Martin Luther King
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