Until Monday, April 28th, members of the Cowboy Indian Alliance and allies will be holding demonstrations, ceremonies and educational events to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Day one started with lighting a fire that burnt at the center of camp. They also ceremonially poured water fresh from the Ogallala aquifer--which Keystone XL would cross, and pollute--into the reflecting pool. Then the protestors marched to the Reject and Protect tipi camp on the Washington Mall, led in a procession by tribal officials and all 24 riders.
Duncan Reisel of 350.org says "Keystone XL would carry 830,000 barrels a day of the world's dirtiest oil, pumping dozens of coal plants worth of carbon pollution into the air. I can think of no better way to spend Earth Day than with this powerful alliance who have travelled so far to tell President Obama to stop this pipeline once and for all."
As of this writing, Obama has put off his decision about whether or not to go with the pipeline. Bob Klotz of 350-Maine, which is a local part of Bill McKibben's 350.org, told this writer and his wife that it was disappointing that the decision regarding the pipeline was put off, again. At least the pipeline is stalled again. Hopefully, the 350 million emails regarding the pipeline that poured into the State Department, will have some positive effects for the side of 350.org. The State Department has quite a lot of opinions to plow through.
Meanwhile, the drama continues to fester in the minds of those who are affected by the pipeline, the destruction of natural lands and Native American territory continues apace in Alberta, and carbon dioxide continues to pour into our atmosphere.
The ramifications of Obama's decision are huge in terms of the health of the planet, as well as the health of ecosystems through which the pipeline would pass. Spills and breakages are proving to be the rule, not the exception. It has been apparent through recent scientific studies that what happens locally has an effect globally. The pipeline thus has major consequences to a planet that is slowly dying in front of our eyes due to our anti-Natural lifestyles.
What is also huge in this demonstration is the symbolic getting together of Native Americans and ranchers. It appears that the Cowboys, who once violently took over the lands of Native Americans, are now joining hands with them to protect the lands from the cancerous growth that has become corporate America. In a small--but also huge--way our cultural story of competition, conflict, and hatred is being challenged and changed. Perhaps we can live as sisters and brothers after all.
The question is, can "We the People" have an effect on the operation of "We the Corporation?" (Yes, this means that I believe that calling corporations people is a lie. If they are people, they are sociopaths.) Yet, I realize that our having an effect on "We the Corporation" seems like a dubious goal to the many people who have become extremely dependent on the corporate systems of technology and economy. The People are dependent upon corporations for jobs, products, services. Yes, we have become dependent on what amounts to a criminal culture.
Many of us, thus, are blind to the ramifications of what we as a species are doing. It is unfortunate that we don't see the livelihood in a healthy Earth and the potential of an easier lifestyle. Indeed, it has been reported that hunting and gathering cultures work on average of 4.5 hours per day. It has also been hypothesized that the "fall" of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden into a life filled of toil and being ruled over by the Man (corporation / government) is a reflection of our losing this time of relatively relaxed, highly sociable style of labor.
Of course, many would say, "Oh look what we will lose if we diminish our technological fixes." To that I would answer, "If the Europeans had such a wonderful lifestyle that brought forth longer life, why have so many aboriginal peoples, including the vast majority of Native Americans, fought to save their way of life? If corporate, urbanized, industrialized life is so great, why do so many either flee or dread it?"
The decision regarding the pipeline--and, by extension, our cultural story, lifestyle, and future--is well illustrated in the following movie:
What do we want for ourselves and for future generations?
To listen to the archived live episode of Envision This! Interview with Maine's Bob Klotz, go to: