Many people feel that climate change is really happening and that we must begin to change in our ways of living on this earth or we will be leaving an uninhabitable planet to our children and grand children. We want to change.

But the inertia is powerful. Many of us have chosen a rural lifestyle, Yet that rural lifestyle requires lots of driving. We drive to work. We drive to the supermarket or to visit our friends. We use and expect electric service. We protest to bring about the needed change, but we drive to the protests.

Meanwhile oil trains are exploding. Pipelines are bursting. Right now, two states have declared an emergency as a result of a burst pipeline. Fracking is inducing earthquakes. The Gulf of Mexico is still suffering from the BP spill. We are getting oil in increasingly unsafe places. Fukushima keeps spilling radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean. Unprecedented droughts and floods are happening. The air is being altered in ways that may not be able to be repaired. Nevertheless we keep building more pipelines. We don’t seem to know how to stop and change course.

I keep thinking about the protesters at Standing Rock who are trying to prevent the building of the Dakota access pipeline. They seem to offer the possibility of real change beginning to happen. They are staying there. They are saying that enough is enough. They are doing it peacefully.

It seems so fitting that the first people who lived on this land should be the ones who are carrying this message in such of beautiful manner. We all have to listen. We have to change our ways. We have to do it now. Our leaders must listen to us. We’re almost out of time.

Abby Shahn


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