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Fighting Tar Sands Oil: The Devotion and Hard Work of Activist Bill McKibben

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Bill McKibben Giving Speech at Sebago Lake Maine
(Image by Burl B. Hall)
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Bill McKibben Giving Speech at Sebago Lake Maine by Burl B. Hall

Bill McKibben Speaks to Tar Sands Oil Protestors and Clear Water Celebrants at Sebago Lake, Maine
Photograph by Burl Hall for Envision This!

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The problems presented by tar sands oil production are targeted in powerful words by an article posted by Garth Lenz to Huffington Post on 10/21/11:

Twenty four hours a day the Tar Sands eats into the most carbon rich forest ecosystem on the planet. Storing almost twice as much carbon per hectare as tropical rainforests, the boreal forest is the planet's greatest terrestrial carbon storehouse. To the industry, these diverse and ecologically significant forests and wetlands are referred to as overburden, the forest to be stripped and the wetlands dredged and replaced by mines and tailings ponds so vast they can be seen from outer space.

His words, however powerful, cannot convey the true horror that is minimized and declared a lie by those that profit from tar sands oil.    Bill McKibben, who recently visited the tar sands operations, says that even the pictures can't convey the "Mordor" that is manifesting there, not in Tolkien's fiction, but in horrid reality.  Still, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  so, here...

Effects of Tar Sands Oil by Tree Hugger

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Is this wasteland you are gazing upon, perhaps, a mirror image of what our minds have become in their corporately conditioned state? I hypothesize that wasteland we create externally is a macrocosm of the wasteland that our minds have become.  As within; so without.

That wasteland of the mind is caused by corporate-government standardized education designed to fit us into the schema of life that benefits the few at the sacrifice of the many.  The goal is to train us into military type obedience to "The Man," be he in form of drill instructor, supervisor, judge, or corporate executive.  Standardized tests (and the curricula they necessitate) yield standardized students.  What becomes of "freedom of speech" if all thought is sterilized and canned for mass consumption?

In line with the corporate mind, we project our conditioned inner wreckage upon the world. It wasn't always like this. The world was once vibrant with a rich variety of life.  Today it is dying. Indeed, many say the Earth Herself is dying.

Daniel Quinn frames our fall into this corporate hell-hole by referring to our most ancient hunting/gathering and herding societies as being "leavers," while subsequent cultures have morphed into "takers." Metaphorically, these two contrasting societies were represented in the story of Cain and Abel. In this story, Cain (representing the upcoming civilizations) slew Abel (the nomadic herdsmen and hunting/gathering cultures).

Overall, these hunting/gathering and nomadic herdsmen cultures (Abel) only took what they needed for food and shelter and left the rest alone. Delores LaChapelle dives more deeply into this dynamic when she states that these "Abel Cultures" developed behaviors and values in terms of our relationship to Nature. She contrasts this relationship to our modern culture where we are entranced by and entrained to Western culture's rationalism and "Man-is-dominant" ethos dating back to Egyptian and Babylonian times.

Of course, one can only speak to generalities and not to all cultures at all times. But, the rule of thumb is that our ancestors walked upon the Earth with bare feet and bodies while living in relationship to the environment that supported them in the same fashion that a woman supports a baby by placing him upon her breast. Eco-feminists are correct in identifying the abuse we present towards Nature as being one with the abuse and domination that many men have visited upon women. Thus, environmental devastation is normative of how we relate to one another.

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The high incidence of rape in our culture is nothing less than a mirror of the incestuous rape of our Mother Earth. What is rape if not a crime of control and domination? The high incidence of rape of both women and men, as well as the minds of the children raised in the corporately driven education system, reflects one huge holographic pattern that includes the rape of the planet.

The results of such a lifestyle is that we have thousands of relatives--the animals, fishes, birds and plants that cohabit and co-create this world with us--that also become exiles from the wasteland we have superimposed. They are dying off daily by the thousands. We are wiping out our sister and brother co-creators and, in their place, creating a dismal, lifeless, concrete corporate prison to warehouse us, with metal/mental bars to prevent our escape into nature. The future of our planet appears to be that picture presented above. This is the world our children will die in...their bodies decaying into a pool of tar sands oil created by the Masters, the ringmasters of the circus we call Western Civilization.

Life as we know it is disappearing and being replaced currently by big box stores, which overtook the cancerous growth of shopping malls. Life is systematically extinguished by the corporately-conditioned consumerist minds manufactured by standardized education. Yes, the minds of our children are mass produced in the same fashion as coats and gloves made in the slave factories of China and other countries. The thriving impulse of Life is disappearing alongside the theatrics of our presidency, congress and supreme court which are bought and sold by the true man behind the curtain, script writer and producer of the Drama Show: the Corporation/Bank. These people are the walking dead and have created a dead civilization and planet.

Humanity is being robotized!  How long do you think it will be before we are cloned to be herded like sheep to do the bidding of our corporate masters, genetically modified to exactly their specifications?  How long before we become like the monocultured corn and soy beans?  How far down this road have we already traveled, blinded to the clear-cutting of all that is natural by the billboards advertising the latest distraction.  (And this is what the logging corporations tout as a "beauty strip"!)

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Burl is an avid writer and publishes to OpEd News. He is author of "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature." As of this writing, Burl is planning to self-publish the book. Alongside his wife, Burl co-hosts an on line radio (more...)

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