The fault-line warps all above it
Oppression ubiquitous unspoken
Envoice against power leads to fear
Unconscious boiling won’t dispose of it
Until truth be bespoken
Unknown, we cower,
choosing the hazy, instead of the clear
I wrote this poem this morning reflecting on the oppressive global natural gas industry and how it has impoverished the place where I live.
Sara Thomsen, in “Water is Life” (Mni Wičoni) sings “We are the river … we are one.”
“This song is inspired by and in tribute to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all tribes, nations, native and non-native people coming together to protect the land and water threatened by the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The song came to me on my return from Standing Rock. That morning before leaving, a meadowlark was singing right outside my tent. ‘Be a lark from the meadow. Be a lark from this meadow,’ I heard it sing. We, too, can be larks from the meadow. We, too can sing in the new day.”
I share this song in solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock and around the globe. Resistance against oil and natural gas pipelines typifies ecological living in the 21st Century. Between 2017 and 2020 the Mariner East 2 pipeline, here in Pennsylvania, has had 320 spills, releasing 260,000 gallons of drilling fluid into PA waterways much of which into Marsh Creek State Park. That is one small pipeline in one small state in the US. Global industries are destroying your soil and water too. You need that soil to eat and that water to drink.
What does it mean to have preserved land, in the case of Marsh Creek State Park, land that is shared by people of this commonwealth, that is ruined by global industries interested in pipeline construction? Eminent domain is used by natural gas projects to steal private land. What does this mean for property ownership in Pennsylvania and throughout the US? Global natural gas interests stand legally, in many cases, above local law. If communities cannot democratically resist these destructive capitalist forces, what are we to do?
And we resist however we are able. In small ways and large. Persistent as gadflies. We do so for our, and our Mother Earth's, survival. Too often we look elsewhere, and ignore the problems here, where we stand. No longer. As a music teacher I cannot ignore the 18 cities in Pennsylvania with higher lead levels than Flint, Michigan. I refuse to ignore the oppression of our 100 PA schools with lead in the drinking water. As music teachers, musicians, community members, and people living on the soil—indigenous and non-indigenous—we resist the global industries that pollute our Mother Earth. We do this at all levels, but primarily locally, since global industry has taken over global structures. There is currently no viable globalism. To hope for global powers to fix this problem, which they put the peoples of earth into, is to place one’s hope in a fairytale. Real people in real places are resisting in real ways. Join us.
Link to image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Natural_Gas_Pipeline_Station.jpg