“You have noticed that everything as Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round….. The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours….
Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” – Black Elk
In my last writing, I showed how we are connected. Our moods and actions can affect those around. Yet, it isn’t just in that way that we affect our surroundings and our world. Think back to that image of the pond. When the pebble hits the water, do the ripples just stop after a couple of waves? Or do they continue to ripple out diminishing the further they get away, but still there? That is much the way we have an affect on our world.
Think about the simple act of turning on a light. We think nothing of it because we just flick a switch and voila, light. What kind of wave does that cause? We wanted that artificial light and we got it without thinking what went into getting it.
Well, all those cables going along the road, got that electricity from a power source, a generation station, and delivered it to that bulb. Of course, those power generation stations have to have power to create the electricity that goes down those power lines to the switch that you click to light the bulb. While wind farms are slowly taking hold, and there is work being done to see about generating solar power, the primary sources are coal fired, hydroelectric, and nuclear. There may be others, but let’s look at those three.
First coal, let’s forget the marketing garbage about clean coal, there is nothing clean about coal. It is dirty and nasty from the mining of it, to what goes into the sky when it is burned. In some areas, they are blowing the top off of mountains to get at the coal. If it rains, the runoff is supposed to be caught in dammed areas that are supposed to keep the heavy metals like cyanide from running into the local rivers and streams. Sometimes those dams break, leeching the heavy metals and other contaminants not only into the local rivers and streams but also into the ground water. Animals drink it and die, humans get sick. It’s easy to sit back and say, well, that is in another state, it doesn’t affect me. Yet, the simple act of turning on a light created the need to mine that coal. Ripples.
Hydroelectric is clean, but the impact on the local areas is tremendous. It requires building a dam on a river so that the water backs up and floods the areas behind it. I think it was in Washington state that the local tribe, Klamath, I think it was, actually fought to have a dam taken down because it was destroying the salmon fishing. The salmon could no longer get upstream to breed so their numbers were diminishing. The dam was interfering with the local ecological cycles. So while it didn’t add to the CO2 in the area, it destroyed hundreds of acres of land and killed off the fish population and the livelihood of the Klamath. Ripples.
One of the most nefarious of all is nuclear. Oh, it is the sweetheart of many, even some environmentalists, but its affect is long lasting. A lot of the uranium is mined from Native American lands. Many of these mines that were closed were left uncapped. The tailings from the mines leeching into the streams, the aquifers, and the ground contaminating everything. I had read an article that the Cheyenne River itself was so contaminated they had to put up signs telling people not to swim in it or use the water to water their gardens. There was another story coming out of the Southwest that told of new hogans that had been built for the Navajo only to find out that the gravel that they used for the cement had been contaminated. The people were living in these new hogans happy to have a new roof over their head, but getting sicker by the day. It was finally traced to the cement floors and the gravel that was used. The mines were unmarked and uncapped. The rainwater had caused runoff to contaminate the surrounding area. With energy the way it is, there is talk of reopening a lot of these mines. The affect on people is horrible, never mind the wildlife. Speaking of which, now think a little further down the chain of things and a rabbit drinks from the runoff and later is caught by a hunter and brought home to feed his family. Ripples. In the case of nuclear, it doesn’t stop there. What the heck do you do with it when you are done. It is still radioactive. So they are going to truck it all out to Nevada to Yucca Mountain to bury it there, where an earthquake or volcano can bring it right back up, or down into the aquifers. After all the area was created by a caldera, a cauldron-like volcano. There is a caldera in Yellowstone that could get set off if they aren’t careful with the oil and gas mining. Ripples.
I am just pointing this out to show that the simple act of turning on a light and following the connections, shows how we are all related. We are all connected. This isn’t even going into the quantum physics aspects that prove that we are through science. This is just showing that turning on that light bulb, killed off salmon, or animals, or made people sick. We don’t think about it. Maybe the furthest thought we give is our electric bill going up if we leave the light on. It doesn’t end there though. Ripples. All life is a circle and we are all connected, man, animals, birds, trees, rocks, rivers, and even the ocean. From some things I have read, that the earth can even affect the sun, though we know the sun can affect us.
We really need to start looking at how we are related. How our actions or inaction has a ripple affect that can touch people half way around the world. The example here is the simple act of turning on a light. Yet, how many other things have an affect? How much food do we waste that causes big agricompanies to have to produce more to keep up with demand and in turn they push the little farmer out and then have to turn to using chemicals to fertilize the land adding contaminates into the local environment and into the foods we eat. You do wash your fruits and veggies I hope. We are all related. The simplest of things we do can have a ripple affect hundreds to thousands of miles away.
We want cheaper prices so companies oblige by laying off your neighbors and outsourcing to cheap labor in China and other countries. So more people are out of work, the economy tanks. Ripples.
I could go on and on with example after example of how we can have affects locally to nationally to internationally. Its up to us. If we stop to think, at least once a day, about the thing we are doing and what affect it might have, maybe we can change our mindset and not take things so much for granted. Maybe just shutting off that light when we leave the room will diminish the need for blowing the top off another mountain or poisoning the ground with radioactive waste.
Maybe we can take it one step further. Maybe we can start finding ways to help bring about changes. Can you afford to put some solar panels on your roof and generate your own electricity or at least hot water? Can you put up a wind turbine? Can you push your legislators to find “green” energy resources and really push for them and not just rename dirty energy like coal and call it “clean coal”, what a crock.
My friend Tanja Martin posted a quote on Facebook:
The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead.-William Lloyd Garrison
Now we don’t want the statues to have to come to life. We have become so comfortable in our lives and so detached from the hunter gather days when we knew the source of our food. Maybe if we knew just what impact our “conveniences” have on others, we might relearn to live locally and be more environmentally conscious. It isn’t just a matter of “New Age” green thinking. It is the way indigenous peoples have lived for centuries. Take only what you need and give thanks.
Please think about solar or wind power if it is feasible for you? Seek out the local farmers for your produce. I mean, think about how far that piece of fruit or vegetable from California or Guatemala had to travel. The fuel, the labor. There are things we can do. I plan on trying to find them, will you?
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.