This morning while Louis and I were eating breakfast a Barred Owl chose to visit our garden, landing on a fence post hoping to find some small creature stealing our food and becoming the owl’s breakfast. What an amazing experience to see the wild creatures that inhabit the land we care for. I am so grateful for the chance to live surrounded by so much beauty. And I’m sure the healthy owl, with lots of habitat to hunt and live, is also grateful.
My feelings of gratitude are juxtaposed with my despair and concern over the ever-continuing push by fossil fuel companies encroaching and bullying their way onto places where they don’t belong. Investing in fossil fuel infrastructure, instead of renewable energy infrastructure, will only make the climate crisis worse. And today at Standing Rock, North Dakota we see an extreme example of the bullying and dangers that these companies impose on the most innocent.
Yesterday Rev. Peter Sawtell in his Eco-Justice Notes so eloquently wrote:
The Standing Rock witness is emerging as an exceptionally bold, visible and prophetic witness for tribal rights and climate justice. The Lakota Sioux of Standing Rock, joined by representatives of 200 other tribes, are revealing the way in which our culture’s fixation with oil overwhelms all other concerns — clean water, tribal rights, and a livable climate. The escalating conflict between water protectors and the repressive power of the state echo some of the most momentous events of the US civil rights movement. This is a Kairos moment which must be acknowledged.
My conscience has just been stirred by a renewed awareness of the deep historical roots of the conflict about the Dakota Access pipeline. The Smithsonian Magazine that arrived at my home a few days ago has a deeply disturbing article, “Ulysses S. Grant Launched an Illegal War Against the Plains Indians, Then Lied About It”. The article documents the secret and illegal actions of the US government which led to the displacement of the Lakota from reservation lands. The passion of those at Standing Rock, and the justice of their claims, is rooted in this long history of land theft.
When will we consider the rights of the owls? The people? The waters? The soil? The air? When will we learn to care for all of life on our planet by living simply and urging our corporations and governments to act with conscience and care? There’s so much to do and so little time to make a difference. I pray that today, and every day for the rest of my life, that I will help bring about the future that we all hope for–one that cares for the people, cares for the earth, and that everyone has equal access to nourishing food, good housing, clean waters, clean air, and healthy soils.