Tuesday, November 18, 2014


“If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.”—Kahlil Gibran, On Friendship

If we're going to get wound up and frightened and furious about the challenges of saving the planet, we must also allow ourselves the relief and joy of victory when we overcome those same challenges.

I am writing this in tears. For a change, in the “caring about the world” sphere, these are out of delight and relief and some sort of shock that hopes and dreams can become reality and re-shape the world. The Senate rejected, 41 to 59, the bill that would have allowed the Keystone XL Pipeline.

For anyone who ever thinks that one vote doesn’t matter, think again. 40 to 60, and it would be a different flavor of tears this evening. God bless Senator Angus King of Maine.

The Keystone XL Pipeline has been the Voldemoric face of climate horror for so long. It has been the cause to rally around, the concrete effort which environmental acts, actions, and movements have been built. Its name is appropriate—it has become a keystone, a lynchpin, a symbol that seemed to decide if the grassroots and common sense would prevail, or the world would fall apart.

And now, the particulars of this one threat against the world we love and know and want is gone. One lovely thing about being so emotionally invested is that, after sobbing with relief, I have to take wonderful, calming deep breaths and feel the knots in my muscles relax, feel myself free from a weight I’d been carrying so long and so deep I’d forgotten.

It is cheerily difficult to take a full deep breath when you are grinning and crying at the same time.

I know that there is a lot of work still to be done—that this particular bill only covered a short stretch of the entire pipeline, that dirty oil is still being drilled and refined and piped all over the world in all manner of nasty ways, and all of the thousand other ways in which the world is a complex mess in dire need of passionate acts of hope on every scale imaginable. There are politics to reviews, maps to assess, the reality of the existing pipelines and infrastructure to reckon with, and so on.

We can start on that tomorrow.

Right now, though, is the time to savor a victory, to enjoy a tide of hope and enthusiasm flowing back in, replenishing the fear and sourness that ebbs out through so much of this hard work of bettering the world. We goddamn did it. Against the long odds of fossil fuel industry money leaking into government and terrible economic conditions, our common sense, passion, hope and vocal, popular opposition have won. 

I am going to just enjoy being stunned for a few more hours.

There is still so much to be done. And, given what an impossible seeming dragon has just been slain through the coordinated or coincidental efforts of so many, I believe that we can bring about more and greater changes.

Because we already are.

A thousand thanks, a raised glass, a wrung out hankie, and a mighty embrace to everyone who has worked against Keystone, and for the better world we are living into.

(Polar bear was originally drawn for a traditional and depressing Earth Day type t-shirt contest. It seems much happier to be used it here. Huzzah!)

No comments:

Post a Comment