Thursday, February 9, 2012

In the Heart of Superior

Had a fun and interesting time in Mr. Bliss's environmental science class at Superior Central this week! I especially loved hearing other peoples' thoughts and opinions on the issues such as living on the land, metallic sulfide mining, and mega-windfarms.

We definitely face a major conflict here in places like the U.P. - we're in a cash-based economy (a relatively new thing in human history), so we need jobs to earn the cash. Coming myself from a family of independent stone masons, homemakers, and cashiers, I know how hard things can be economically.

However, coming from a family that has lived in this northern land for a long time and having grown up here myself, I also know that our land is our base. Without it in a healthy state, we have nothing. Our kids have nothing. Our grandkids will have nothing. Do we have the right to pass on such an empty legacy to them? Short-term thinking will give them only the short-end of the stick.

Anishinaabe activist, Walt Bresette, outlined an alternate economy for the Northwoods based on creating a Green Zone in the north here. The Green Zone would generate jobs for people by employing people in healing the land, cleaning up the pollution, and starting new businesses based on business goals that incorporated a genuine respect for all our relations.

Many Indigenous environmental thinkers today feel we have reached a point where we have very little choice but to turn back from the brink. Either we do it voluntarily by drastically re-shaping our lifestyles, or we do it involuntarily at the hands of an environment that we have so polluted it has actually become hostile to us through our own actions. Many believe we don't have much time to do this - we don't have time for the intermediary technological fixes that continue to damage the Earth. We need to start thinking how to create a society that is respectful of all life, and we need to begin that change now so that it is gradual enough to be done in a humanitarian way.

Miigwech/thanks for a great time!

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