I am a moderate environmentalist – this is where my views diverge most sharply from those of oilman George W. Bush. I am all for alternative energy, against global warming (even though Cleveland stands to become a resort town eventually), drilling in protected areas (ANWR), etc. I think wind power is a great renewable energy source, where applicable, and I even sympathize with the quasi-religious perspective of the land as “sacred.”
So this tour announcement sounds pretty cool to me:
- Grammy-award winning musicians Indigo Girls and Native environmental activist Winona LaDuke team up in April to take a message of alternative energy and cultural preservation to college campuses from Minnesota to Colorado. The Honor the Earth Tour is a cross-country speaking and performance tour aimed at educating college students and the general public on current issues related to Native environmental activism and the development of wind power on Native lands, in particular. The tour will also include visits to Native reservations currently implementing wind power and other alternative energy projects in their communities.
In 1991, Winona LaDuke met Indigo Girls Amy Ray and Emily Saliers backstage at an Earth Day benefit near Boston, MA. Out of that first meeting, a long-lasting friendship and working partnership was born, and the national Native foundation, Honor the Earth, was created. Indigo Girls have since headlined four Honor the Earth concert tours to raise money for Native groups working on front-line environmental issues in communities across the country. This year, Indigo Girls and LaDuke will embark on their fifth benefit tour together, but this time, they are taking a message of environmental activism directly to college campuses. “When I was in college one thing that was sorely lacking from my education was exposure to the indigenous perspective and approach to activism, specifically around cultural and environmental sustainability,” says Ray. “I don’t believe we can be activists without contemplating the effects of manifest destiny on the development of our country and its relationship to all aspects of our current movement for human and environmental dignity. The struggle for a sustainable and tolerant world community has always been embraced by student activists.”
She’s starting to lose me a little bit here as I am leery of the code meaning of “human and environmental dignity” which typically signals an “all cultures are created equal and must be equally respected” multi-culti direction, but I am still basically on board with the program.
- The tour targets colleges located close to Native lands in an effort to bridge what is often an isolating gap between college students and the communities that exist very close to them. The Honor the Earth Tour will draw connections not only between local colleges and regional Native environmental issues, but between the imminent war on Iraq and the need for more sound energy policy and technology across the United States.
Why, because it’s convenient? What does a war against global terror have to do with “sound energy policy”? Are bin Laden and Saddam environmental activists? This is intellectual dishonesty preying upon college students who are already prone to simplistic sloganeering: “war is bad” “nature is good” “no blood for oil,” etc.
Back to the environment:
- With the tour’s proceeds, the Energy Justice Initiative will provide capital and technical support for wind projects on Great Plains reservations, while continuing the fight against culturally and ecologically destructive energy projects. Today, present installed U.S. electrical capacity is at 600 gigawatts of power. The wind potential of 23 Native nations in the Great Plains alone is about 300 gigawatts. “Our communities could power this country with wind. Financing wind energy in the economically poorest communities in the country is Energy Justice,” explains LaDuke.
Hey, capture the many colors of the wind there, Pocahontas, I’m all for it – you can’t use up the wind.
But then back to the crap:
- “The environmental movement is inextricably connected to the current anti-war movement,” says Ray. “The United States’ over-consumption of all resources has created an imperialistic dynamic that has no room or respect for human life, dignity or the mother earth.”
It is respect for human life and dignity – especially our own – that forces us out into the fray at this time. The current conflict couldn’t be less about “imperialism” or “over-consumption”: it’s about murderous ideological fanaticism, hatred and jealousy of the fruits of democracy and an open society, and the death throes of a culture that peaked 700 years ago.
“But WAIT! Saddam is a secularist,” comes the bleating cry.
Yes, he is, BUT he cynically claims to be a direct descendant of Mohammad, and points to this heritage to legitimatize his totalitarian grip on power. Stuff that in your peace pipe. Respect the earth, harness the wind, blow up Saddam and liberate Iraq.
For April tour dates go here – let the girls know how you feel about this dishonest marriage of convenience between the environment and the War on Terror.
By the way, the Amy Ray album totally rocks: no Indigo mush – if she would only think this tough.