"Water sustains all life. Her songs begin in the tiniest of raindrops, transform to flowing rivers, travel to majestic oceans and thundering clouds and back to earth again. When water is threatened, all living things are threatened."-Indigenous Declaration on Water, July 8, 2001
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill -- it's two years later, and the horrible effects continue. We hear all the time about external dangers, like terrorism, that threaten our safety and way of life. But the poisoning of the water and the destruction of the ecosystems that sustain that way of life seems unstoppable. The habitat that is dying or being born with deformities in the Gulf doesn't seem fooled by the publicity campaign of BP, nor are the monetary fines imposed by our government able to bring back the dolphins, whales and sea turtles. Deepwater Horizon is symbolic of so many things that are screaming at us from all directions. Corporate greed and systemic corruption must be addressed at all levels of society if we desire to leave a legacy of hope for the next generation. Crimes against the earth are indeed crimes against humanity, yet there seems to be little prosecution for these crimes.
While we struggle with the great temptation to shrug it all off in hopes it will go away, our responsibility to make drastic changes only becomes more apparent. Voices are speaking truth to power in many creative ways.
How do we create hope in the face of all this? How have Native people made hope and healing throughout all of time? They have gathered together with elders and children to pay respect to the land, sky and water that gives them life, to dance, sing, pray and tell stories that remind us of the interconnected web of life that we are part of.
Today, musicians like Tab Benoit and Voice of The Wetlands bring a powerful message, educating their audience and inspiring them to action while making them dance and sing the blues for disappearing wetlands. Legendary artist Dr. John has initiated Soulfire For The Gulf, inviting elders from all nations, ceremonial drummers, musicians and artists to collaborate in a four day healing ceremony for the gulf this week. It is a time when ancient wisdom fuses with the modern world and conscious artists are leading the way.
We see stories circulating on Facebook of a 92 year-old Lakota Grandmother standing in the way of two tarsands pipeline trucks in South Dakota. Navajo Elders in Arizona are picketing against SB 2109 which threatens to give their water rights over to large corporations. Peruvian farmers have been putting enough pressure on their government to outlaw GMOs for 10 years, and the drum beats on.
The democratization of media, social networks, independent journalists, films like The Big Fix, bloggers and news outlets like Democracy Now, Truthout, Brave New Films, Color of Change and of course the Huffington Post have given us all so many reasons to be hopeful, to look deeper and see a community emerging that really cares about the planet and wants to make a difference.
People from all walks, artists, media-makers, elders, youth, musicians have found common ground in our love for the planet. Nature has its own mechanisms for healing, for balancing, and each one of us is playing a part in a future that is unfolding before our eyes. I will leave you with a wonderful video of permaculturalists, John Todd and Andrew Millison and their natural living machine that purifies water. It is produced by Bruce Weaver with musical contributions from Cyril Neville and Brian J along with words of wisdom from the late Shoshone Elder, medicine man and anti-nuke activist, Corbin Harney. We have many reasons to be hopeful we have many more reasons to follow the wise words of Gandhi and "Be the change you wish to see in the world."