Tuesday, March 15, 2005
[ENS, Navasota, Texas] - Urging full protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church on March 14 adopted a resolution calling upon the U.S. Senate to oppose opening the pristine region to exploration for oil and gas. Alaska Bishop Mark McDonald, a leading voice for environmental protection and ecological justice, left the bishops' spring retreat, in session through March 16, to present the resolution to the press and to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. [Washington Senator Maria Cantwell is leading the opposition to driling, along with John Kerry and others.]
Source: Episcopal News Service [ENS 031405-2]
A Message from the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, USA, to the United States SenateMarch 14, 2005
Resolved, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, USA, meeting at its Spring 2005 retreat at Camp Allen in Navasota, Texas, March 11-16, 2005, sends to the United States Senate the following message:
As the Bishops of the Episcopal Church, USA, we want to express our commitment to the vision of reconciliation of all peoples and share a common scriptural and theological belief that we have a responsibility to care for God's creation. We support protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge fully. To risk the destruction of an untouched wilderness and an ancient culture violates our theological mandate to be caretakers of creation. Because of these deeply shared values we respectfully ask you to oppose legislation that would facilitate the opening of this sacred space to oil or gas exploration and development in any way. We specifically call on you our Senators to reject efforts to include revenues from lease sales of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the Budget Act currently being considered by Congress.
While the ecological and human rights values of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are recognized by many, the cost from exploitation of the potential resources that may exist there does not justify exploration or development. The best estimates tell us that oil from the Refuge as a single source is equal to what the United States would consume in less that one year. Conservation, energy efficiency, and alternative sources of energy can do much more to address our country's energy needs.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the few ecosystems left on earth in its original condition. It is a national treasure and such natural places are anchors in a changing world. They help hold us in place and tell us where we have been; they often can be sources of inspiration and comfort. As Job counsels, "listen to the earth, and it will teach you" (Job 12:8).
The Arctic Refuge is well-known for its Porcupine caribou herd, whose life cycle is dependent on the Refuge as an intact, virtually undisturbed ecosystem. The caribou are a chief link in the subsistence culture for the indigenous Gwich'in people. The Gwich'in call themselves the "Caribou People" and the Arctic Refuge is for them "the Sacred Place where Life Begins." The caribou are essential for Gwich'in cultural, social, and spiritual needs and it has been that way for over 10,000 years. Disturbances that lead to reduced calving success for the caribou may cause significant, irreversible, negative consequences for all involved in this unspoiled web of life.
Pristine places like the Arctic Refuge provide numerous benefits. For humankind, the Arctic is a control environment that helps scientists answer current and future questions in the changing environment. For animal kind, the Arctic is an important habitat and home for many species, including the Arctic peregrine falcon, gyrfalcon, golden eagle, snowshoe hare, ptarmigan, polar bear, grizzly bear, musk ox, threatened spectacled eider, wolves, smaller mammals and water fowl. "The psalmist proclaims, 'O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of your creatures" (Psalm 104).
We recognize that our use of fossil fuels and the resulting global warming has its greatest impact on the poor and vulnerable. Controversy over whether to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development requires us to ask ourselves: what kind of world will we leave to future generations? As Bishops of the Episcopal Church, we are committed to working for a world with justice for indigenous peoples and all creation and we support indigenous peoples' rights as a basic component of a just society. For these reasons and others, we ask you to oppose opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration and development.
Well, something like that. I am not reaching for my dictionaries or eloquent translations here, just sharing a line from the famous Sequence hymn of the traditional Requiem Mass, the Dies Irae. I had to head this in Latin, because that is the form in which I am familiar with its lines. It was the two words "homo reus" (guilty mortal) that leapt to my mind a few minutes ago.
Out the window I could see a tanker leaving a California port, with refineries in the background. Earlier today I had noted a faint brownish tinge to the sky from air pollution (so familiar to me from years in the Los Angeles basin). In a very short time I will be getting into my car to commute home. Not a long commute, but still driving my own car by myself.
Being a native Californian does not excuse me, though my commute would take much longer if I tried to pull it off with public transportation, and I suspect it would involve lots of walking too. The walking would be good for me, but with the demands on my time I do not even try to rationalize driving. I just do it.
One more willing cog in the vast machinery of U.S. oil consumption, our favorite addiction.
There's more. Click on the title of this post to read it all.
Last night I saw "Raw Boys," an intense play by playwright Dael Orlandersmith. It's about the effect abuse has on two brothers - one a writer, the other an actor.
I know so many men who were badly beaten as children. They're wounded, hostile, mistrusting. The sad thing is, men are still made to feel abuse is relatively normal and only weaklings are affected by it, so they rarely claim that pain. Instead, they stuff it down until it erupts later - on others, or on themselves, via chronic anger, substance abuse or depression.
There's a graphic scene in the play where the father beats and kicks his oldest son. It's all the more powerful because the actors never actually touch; they're at opposite ends of the stage.
It brought back far too many memories. It made me physically sick.
What do you do with all that anger and pain? Where does it go? Look how many men justify how they were treated by repeating it with their own children. "My father did it to me, and I turned out okay."
No. No, you didn't, I always tell them.
Thanks, Susan, for a great post.
Monday, March 14, 2005
Steal This Post
Operating once again under the radar, the Republicans in Congress are doing their best to sneak funding for drilling in ANWR into the federal budget. Want to stop them? Find out how!
Posted by: eRobin at 8:34 am