Sunday, June 4, 2017

Lions and Tigers and Sunflowers oh my

Believe it or not, the Wizard of Oz - both the book and the movie - predate me. (In fact, the book even predates my father's birth.)  The first time I saw the movie, it was on a very small screen black-and-white TV. I was young enough to wonder whether an "oh my" was something I should fear.

The Sunflower Alliance is of much more recent vintage.  It was formed to organize a protest on the first anniversary of the 2002 fire and explosion at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, California. We chose the sunflower because we are told that sunflowers remove toxins from the soil.

One of my readers wrote a lovely note about expanding my concern with human extinction to nonhuman extinction. We are in the midst of the Sixth Great Extinction. My friends at the Center for Biological Diversity Convinced me that without biological diversity humanity was doomed to extinction. So my reader's comment was right on track.

Here's where things get a little sticky. while I am concerned about the extinction of other species, I am not as concerned as I am about the extinction of my own.

When I made the mistake of getting involved in climate and environmental justice, I was overwhelmed by the injustices I discovered. I also met many people who were very passionate about the justice issues in which they were engaged.

For a while, I was nervous as a longtailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Everywhere I turned there was another injustice calling my name. For a while, I made the stupid move of arguing that the issues that most concerned me were more important than the issues that concerned others. Now I am grateful for their passions, and I ask what will happen to their issue as the planet becomes increasingly uninhabitable. I also ask them how their issue relates to other issues so that we and others might work in solidarity. 

As someone once said, the ship is sinking and the poor and the underserved are on the lower decks. If we don't find a way to work in solidarity, we will all drown in the same ocean.

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