Saturday, January 28, 2017

The GIft in the Shadow of Climate Change

Or: How do Humans Heal a World?
Heartbreak is a Necessary Beginning

To an observer, the world can look extremely dysfunctional. Humankind seems mired in violence and hate, in political posturing and war-mongering; people who are supposed to be people-of-faith make “illegitimate” and make “other,” those whose beliefs are different; greed and corruption seem to be running the world and we brace ourselves daily against terrorist attacks like those in Paris and more recently, Belgium. As if that’s not enough, we are bombarded with concern for the environment and climate change.

With everything already in chaos, we are afraid to admit to ourselves that the planet may be dying even though we suspect there’s truth in it. It seems that we feel the distress on some level whether it’s conscious or not. We can’t wrap our minds around the idea that life on this planet, which includes human life, could cease to exist. We flee in terror from our feelings in order to avoid pain and having to comprehend annihilation. The mind simply cannot embrace the truth for there can be no evacuation — there is nowhere else to go.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Standing Rock: The view from 2 women who attended Oceti Sakowin Camp

Singer-Songwriter Aliza Hava and Scholar and Operations Manager for the Dominican University School of the Arts and Humanities, Keiko Ehret, tell .us about Standing Rock and their adventures at the camp. This interview is not what you expect- it will startle you from another view.


Photo Credit Adam Alexander Johannson

This is destined to become an iconic photo of an iconic event

“Standing Rock” refers to Camp Oceti Sakowin, an encampment of water protectors from the Dakota and Lacota Sioux Nations near Lake Oahe along the Missouri River.

The water protectors are exercising their first amendment right to peacefully assemble to protest the building of a new Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that is routed under the Missouri River.

The Missouri River Basin supplies water to millions of people and an oil spill would affect everyone downstream.  Energy Transfer Partners had to reroute the original pipeline because it came too close to Bismarck and the predominately white residents there objected.

The Sioux Tribes filed a lawsuit alleging the Army Corps of Engineers violated several U.S. Laws treaty provisions when they gave DAPL an easement to build on federal land and land that would endanger sacred sites on the Sioux Reservation.

Standing Rock is an unparalleled historic event...

A few Thoughts...

When I think about it, my own life is no less rich and the living no less inspiring than my pioneering ancestors and I come from a long line of Indians and outlaws so don't ever turn your back on me!

Life is, after all, a slice of human consciousness lived from its place in human evolution. "From here to eternity" as it were-- from earth to the stars, from personal space to cyberspace, from a small local footprint to the world reduced to the size of a notebook and sitting on your lap!

As a child I lived with the perpetual and immenent threat of annihilation. That's child abuse! It wasn't a kid-friendly world and I couldn't understand why the grown-ups who were in charge weren't doing something?

So at age seven with my face in the window eyes turned up into the night sky and staring at the stars I made a vow: "When I am a grown-up, I will do something."

My writing is that something and I write to "simply change the world." If that sounds like a lack of humility it isn't because I know that one person absolutely can change the world and I've met some who have.

Kay Kennedy put together an anthology that puts the reader in the midst of history to view it from the inside out.

When I was in high school and even college, history classes were stale and boring featuring memorization and regurgitation of dates that coincided with events that had no human face, certainly no magic, and no life!

Anthologies are great fun and stores are rich remembrances. History books chronicle; stories are little narrative slices of living. History comes alive through story. I often think of my grandmother and her story, her life-- the history she lived. In her lifetime she saw humankind evolve from horse and buggy to man on the moon.

I was a sixties kid and for the youth of the sixties, turmoil, disillusionment, and revolution were everyday 'business as usual'. Like a radio perpetually on low volume, fear and death dronned on in the background. The superpowers threatened to extinguish all life on the planet, the Vietnam War was escalating and peers were being escorted home under American Flag blankets. The civil rights and equal rights movements were testing human civility, and faster than one could recover from one shock another real life hero would fall to yet another assassin. Despair was commonplace. Contrast that with a man on the moon... we could conquer space travel but couldn't make nukes or war obsolete! It was a time when youth needed hope because hope was scarce. When it was finally resurrected, it came in the form of idealism and a philosophy of brotherly and universal love. Perfect principles; imperfect execution.

For others who contributed to "Looking Back," the history is different for each because the "times" were different as well as the perspective of the individuals. The stories of human societal evolution are enlightening, heartwarming, poignant and spellbinding. They put a human face on the past.

And there are people now who are putting a face on the future...