- originally written in response to community advocate Berta Cáceres' murder, March 3, 2016. Berta, who was pivotal in stopping construction of a large dam, received the 2015 Goldman Prize South and Central America.
THE PASSENGER'S PRAYER
If I be anyone in this life
let me be a messenger
let me write beauty on the sky
let me write a love letter
so wide and deep and long
that it turns day to night
forcing men and women to look up.
Let me write a reminder of what is great
and what is small.
And if my being is not enough,
if my death is the only reminder of man’s power
to take life, let me die.
Let this love letter
exist in memory,
born of experience.
Global Witness reports 185 people across 16 countries were killed in 2015 while protecting their ecological communities. That's a 60% increase in such killings from 2014.
- VOA News
Before today, anger was wasting.
Anger felt crippling on International Women’s Day March 8, 2016, as the world celebrated the woman and my thoughts were with women who have not only died in the stand for life, but have been murdered for standing in the way of someone's 'progress'.
I am, privileged by nothing other than skin color and as well with a wealthier education than what universal education provides, as uncomfortable in my own skin as it is possible to be without enduring psychotic break. So I write the poems for peace of mind. And will voice this frustration - this justified madness – until the madness ends or until my death.
"The CEO of the WWF is wealthy.
That wealth insulates him from the real-world consequences
of the policies he spends his time promoting."
- Donna Laframboise, The Enormous CEO Salaries Behind Earth Hour
For me, the anger rising in response to the murder of women and men advocating for their communities to exist and thrive is complicated by inequality among community advocates, more commonly known as environmental activists. It is that some who lead large organizations - all men and mostly white - earn multiples of six figures annually while those staying and protecting their communities with their own bodies often go compensated minimally if that and pay the highest price of injustice whether they live or die.
While I trust nobody desires this discrepancy, there appears no earnest effort to change as the promotion of needless consumption continues among many large groups.
Then there is the more glaring excessive and unnecessary use of fossil fuels and other raw materials toward extraordinarily narrow visions, like landing the moon.
Corporate - n. partnership, enterprise, company; see BUSINESS - Competition
A corporation is a corporation. Every corporation provides a service to someone whether or not that corporation also provides the bulk of financial profits to officers and shareholders. When the service becomes insignificant or undesired, the corporation ceases to exist. Whether a service is necessary or justifiable given common needs and communal reality is a matter of opinions worth exploring. And if the corporation is to be privileged with personhood, the corporation must embrace inevitable death like any other body.
Being recognized as a non-profit, service-oriented organization exempts a corporation from paying taxes on income. However, tax-exempt status does not protect the corporation from the hook of being an entity that must itself survive in what has long been a cut-throat competitive game. And this is how the environmental and species conservation movement has failed and continues to fail the most vulnerable and voiceless among community members along with their most steadfast guardians among women and men.
So long as individuals like corporations are competing for a piece of the philanthropic pie, I see no resolution to the root driver of the murders and communal, ecological demise. That is, fear-based corporate human competition for survival, however extravagant, is the root of this madness.
Grotesque inequality is the slaughter of community advocates who offer their bodies in service juxtaposed to environmental advocates who model and market the hero’s fantasy on a six-figure income. I am told that many who serve large policy-advocating environmental and species conservation groups express gratitude for front line or 'radical' - adj. 1 fundamental; basic (Webster’s New World Dictionary) - community advocates because these radicals, also known as foundationalists, make the large advocacy groups appear rational, reasoned, reasonable.
Yet, the community-oriented or indigenous mind sees the irrationality of clearcut intact forest, poisoned fields, dammed rivers, dislocated peoples**, and fuels and materials extracted from the ground at the expense of soil and water. The long rationale given for and necessitating such plunder is war in the name of domination. And this need to dominate stems from the deepest insecurity - a forgetting of what community means and how community is sustained. Literally, how the world works.
The resolution is community and community is not realized through competition alone. Life is collaborative, sometimes through competition and always without favor.
Caring works and corporations, managed by trusting and trustworthy people, can display care.
Corporal Corporate Beasts
“What shall we do with mars? There are so many examples of human misuse of the Earth that even phrasing this question chills me. If there is life on Mars, I believe we should do nothing with Mars. Mars then belongs to the Martians, even if the Martians are only microbes. The existence of an independent biology on a nearby planet is a treasure beyond assessing, and the preservation of that life, must, I think supersede any other possible use of Mars.”
- Carl Sagan, COSMOS p. 138 , 2013 / 1980
As it’s been since women have begun to regain status amidst male leadership, male competition has dominated top positions in a hierarchy and females have competed with males and among themselves for those leadership roles, whether in management of one group or separate groups. Many service corporations have, thus, lost sight of original duties to serve the whole community and tend the vulnerable. Morals have been regularly dismissed to secure funding so that the groups themselves may operate and pay staff. The result is a swarm of groups, supposedly dedicated to the same cause, which are essentially hungry beasts devoted to themselves - beasts whose success depends on the lesser accomplishment of other liked-minded groups and whose very existence perpetuates, as it depends upon, continued exploitation of the disenfranchised.
While no one, I mean to say NO ONE among environmental and conservation advocates desires it to be this way just as NO ONE running extractive industries wants most to cause harm, it is so. We are all yet treading the hamster wheel of a competitive system in which, if I do not take when I think I have a chance, there is no guarantee I will be nurtured. More likely, I will be outcast to the fringe, a radical unable as much as unwilling to be cool or, in light of my pride, too cool to participate.
I would be utterly remiss without mention of those corporations and corporate heads that are in business purely to do business and profit personally therefrom. It must be understood that in the corporal realm, no single entity exists without engaging another. And, so, in essence two individuals are two and not two, one and not one. And one without the other does not exist. The farmer is not without soil, just as the poet is not without soul, and the corporation is not without labor and materials. Be it given then that the first line of any business is gratitude to those who make that business possible. Be it also understood that any entity dependent on fossil fuels holds in their hands the waste of whole communities.
Being that I create and communicate at the computer, cook my meals on a gas stove and more, my hands are heavy with wanton waste, and so, I use the energy and materials extra frugally and with intent to serve communal wellbeing. And, because fossil fuels and raw materials do lay to waste the lives of so many, I consider it more my rightful responsibility to have a voice in how others spend these fuels and materials than I do in who others marry, whether or not they engage in sexual intercourse and with whom, and whether or not they choose to conceive and birth a child.
Let there be an educated vote as to whether or not SpaceX will attempt travel to Mars in 2018 in preparation for human arrival there in 2025 in order to "establish the environment for entrepreneurs on Mars to flourish" in businesses ranging from “the first iron ore refinery to the first pizza joint”.
This is not to say everyone must live equally in material, yet, if there will not be common interest in provision of quality living for all, let there be restrictions on expenditures of goods and materials used solely to mark an item off a personal bucket list.
Women and Men
Since some women disbanded long ago and men did, thus, take solitary lead to everyone’s detriment, I want to write a bit about the need to end competition between men and women with note on a difference between how men and women operate. I write acknowledging that I’ve learned something about my physical limits, what works and does not work in the lived creative experience and expression of my being. I’m admittedly clueless to the male’s creative experience.
Primal and overarching qualities of relaxed process and force in females and males, respectively, are also known as feminine and masculine aspects or yin and yang. The feminine and masculine are present and to be nurtured within both male and female. Still, due to basic physiological realities, the male is faster as if to appear more determined, efficient, and effective than the woman.
And whether we are looking at these as two separate entities or two aspects of one, when these two are in competition rather than collaboration, the masculine 'doing' prevails and the mind-body becomes compromised to eventual exhaustion. The woman's endurance will in time prove her strength, yet strategic moves made without her input may render her endurance obsolete. Physical exhaustion from generations of production without rest is now seen at the personal and planetary scale.
A product – institution or technology – is as complete or incomplete as its maker. Rather than being guided by the ultimate creative collaborative power capable of manifesting a harmonious system, something that actually works, the solely masculine-driven product is crafted insecurely. The resulting forced, independently-minded product is either unnecessarily costly or fundamentally detrimental to the maker and other individuals. Thus, the whole community loses quality.
Many men speak to the power of women stepping forward to help lead. Yet, for the woman to step up without sacrificing her own creative process and contribution, men must set a place for the woman at the table and be patient with her. Women can reassure men of patience and synchronicity that arises when the body's signals for rest are heeded. Balancing the masculine and feminine can be facilitated then by males honoring the feminine aspect of themselves, thus encouraging women to regain confidence in a physically intuitive process born of a far-sighted empathetic nature.
Persons fearing for their own lives and working first to secure their own are not capable of changing the competitive game that is designed to ensure an individual's chance at survival. Only communal famine changes that big game and only in the final round. Humanity's collective fortune, as in luck, is very much the spreading global famine and thirst coupled with sheer exhaustion and fright. Reality 2016 is that, no matter how much money or land area one has sequestered, whether wealthy in material or poor in material, each is as vulnerable to global famine as anyone else.
The Pacific starves and unless humans stop competing for fuels, water, and food, everyone will eventually feel the pain that a countless many suffer today. This experience of communal famine appears novel to humans in terms of scale, yet communal famine’s memory thrives in human veins. That memory encourages us to compete until the competition itself creates the drought from inside out. In Brendan Kelly’s words applying the Chinese Yin Yang model at the planetary level, “that’s where we’re at”.
Famine’s drought teaches us to be grateful for the rains again and with heightened awareness of extremes. Famine’s generosity is the promise of gratitude founded in scarcity’s experience restored to an entitled, intelligent, rather innocent, and otherwise dumb mind running rash through the last spider's web.
I'd Rather Imagine
I want to close with note on a ‘mindful meme’ that’s being tossed about. The meme reads, “I’d rather have a passport full of stamps, than a house full of stuff”. Unfortunately, while well-intended, this meme shames those who have been raised to believe that having more stuff is better while assuming that the consumption of fossil fuels and materials for world travel is somehow benign in comparison. Such is an entitled mindfulness at best.
If I were to spread a meme, it would read, “I'd rather imagine a thriving world than taste of or see that world in person if tasting and seeing that world means destroying that world’s possibility”.
This, I believe, is the task of today’s dreamer – to imagine a far off thriving world while standing in the pyre of a beautiful world burning.
Let me sow the smallest seed in the desert and trust the seed’s intelligence and boundless potential. Let us all be honest about the pain in exploiting and exterminating others for personal gain. Let the pain change collective behavior as it does in the individual who becomes aware.
As if having stood long enough in the pyre, we rise together, a Phoenix burning. With murders of community advocates increased by 60% from 2014 to 2015 while the bodies of human children and numerous other species wash Pacific shores, I feel emptied as in finished struggling.
There is nothing to grasp. Guns do not protect.
I want to acknowledge the power of women rising together liberated of competition and comparison. Let light be shed on what can be a woman's sense of entitlement that condones by way of silence the denial and slaughtering of other women and their families locally and around the globe.
Enough with guilt's depression.
Let no woman be pacified with her own child's comfort. Let the woman be whole and complete, knowing one child in every child and every child in one. Let her peace of mind be every child nourished that she will measure all of her purchases and investments by this bottom line. And let her be creatively restless until all children are well fed and sheltered in loving arms, homes, and communities.
Innocent ignorance differs vastly from informed denial. I vow to act as if I know what I say I know. Life is not solely about me and what I want. I exist because the global community exists. That I have the money in hand to afford something doesn't necessarily mean others can afford me that something.
The greatest inheritance is to see and to know oneself as the blooming.
**peoples refers to all animals; all walks
#keepitintheground #feetontheground #Vow2Act – Vow 2 Act
Record Number of Environmental Activists Killed in 2015
Nilce de Souza Magalhães murdered January 2016, body found June 21, 2016
Berta Cáceres murdered March 3, 2016
Gloria Capitan shot dead July 2, 2016
COAL IS DEAD - dedicated to Maria Gunnoe, winner of The Goldman Environmental Prize 2009
Arctic Cruise Raises Hopes and Environmental Concerns
Asking the Hard Questions - Chandrin Nair, Tedx Tokyo
Elon Musk: SpaceX Will Launch People To Mars In 2024
Green Jobs Not Jails - Van Jones
Remarried couples should abstain from sex
Rights versus Responsibilities - Toghestiy and Mel Bazil, Unceeded Gitxsan Wet’suwet’en Territories
The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis – Brendan Kelly
Where are corporate tax rates lowest?
Why TPP is death for democracy - Bill Moyers