A young woman from inner city Baltimore; a Cambodian anti-logging activist; a subsistence farmer in Peru's northern highlands; a grassroots Indigenous organizer in Tanzania; a Slovakian public interest lawyer; and a conservationist advocating for the endangered leatherback sea turtle in Puerto Rico.
I find myself thinking that these are much, much more than environmental heros. They are living planetary treasures. The forces that threaten them are rapacious, gluttonous, shriveled aspects of what it means to be alive on the planet.
If I think about how violent, manipulative, greedy and over-blown the ideology of industrialization has become, it is an archetype that legends, mythos and narratives at the origins of every human society have warned about, profiled and cautioned against. The correlate to this, especially among pastoralist societies, is a rich and intricately nurtured social relationship with Mother Earth.
The very same monster of global corporate industrialization long ago poisoned its own capacities for balance and nurturing and we see its devastations. In its deadly claims to impunity, it manipulates virtually any legitimate way of being in order to gorge its addictions. The power of the perversions require reams of words and lexicons of legalese in order to rationalize irresponsibility toward life other than its own straight jacket. Today it knows little beyond taking by force. That patterning trickles down among the social groups impoverished to force them to become 'dependencies' and is a prime example of the 'projection' onto peoples not of itself being expendable. The broken model best knows how to break, but has for centuries been digging a hole of dastardly privileged ignorance of even the advisability of simply STOPPING the digging of that hole.
Acuna, with her claim to being illiterate is wiser still than most of the high powered national and global elite with their Ivy League degrees and soullessness.
Every one of the six are an inspiration.
When I Say Hero
you say the last bears;
you say water, salmon
and the long road
up the mountain
where our grandparents lived
before they came for the crude.
When I say run
you say no
to stand is to make the difference
in the countries of the birds
in the trees where lemurs
cling to their last wind,
where the lost people
sing and shake
their fists at noises across the sky
that have no mirror in their dreams.
When you say I cannot go on
I say you must.
There is no other choice
the horizon is endless
and the sky is the same body as the sea,
oh yes, the sky is the same as the sea.
Shall we sully our granddaughter's delight?
Who will she beg from
when her last house is sucked
into the sludge
of the forgotten?
When I say “heroes!”
you shout “we are here!”
from the top of the tall grass
and the bottom of the hill
where our bones have been buried
for a million years.
When you say tomorrow
I say who will remain?
Who will read the twitter in the trees
after the first rain?
When I whisper hope
and you fall into the well
how many left untainted
will echo and call
and call you from there?
Mighty ominous ending to this fine article:
"Honduran environmentalist Berta Cáceres, who was murdered in March, was a Goldman Prize winner just last year."
We mustn't forget what a high price TPTB can exact when you cross them. At the same time, we can't let that stop us.