Provided by: SHIRLEY KALLIO, ROCKFORD, MI
Reading Bill McKibben’s article in Rolling Stone, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” was a life-altering experience for me. I have long been an environmentalist and activist, and was early to accept the reality of global warming and humanity’s responsibility for it. I am also a political activist, and I have bitten my lip many a time when climate change did not get acknowledged in the political dialogue at the local and state level, presumably out of fear of lost votes from the climate denial crowd.
But the utter clarity with which McKibben laid out the “physics” of the situation, and the undeniable urgency of abrupt and dramatic action was galvanizing. For me there was no longer any justification whatsoever for being politically discreet about the reality of climate change and that we were quickly running out of time to effectively address it. Climate change has become my life’s top priority, eclipsing every other issue.
And so I have considered it my duty to speak openly of my concern and to actively seek opportunities to do all that I can to encourage others to do so as well, restlessly seeking ways to optimize my contribution to addressing its reversal and mitigating its effect. I furiously object to the idea that “adaptation,” in Rex Tillerson’s words, is the solution.
The climate crisis touches my home and family very personally. We have tended and treasured for 30 years the passive solar house in which we have lived, and lovingly cultivated a landscape surrounded by woodland in what I call cooperative living with nature, intruding minimally and gently, weeding rather than poisoning, tolerating the inconveniences of wildlife – while enjoying it, stewarding our share of this earth until our son could one day raise his own children here.
Now the prospect of fracking looms less than a third of a mile from our home, on an acreage that abuts three neighborhoods, including our own. And I am terrified that, not only my child and my future grandchildren will confront a future on a barely habitable planet, but that we may also confront – and even more immediately — the personal risk of contaminated well water, degraded air quality in our old age, a transformation of our beautiful rural community, and a seriously depressed home property value, our single significant asset after a lifetime of work.
I have never been able to see myself as a participant in civil disobedience, but I do now give serious thought to the possibility of standing in a human barricade to caravans of delivery trucks to a fracking site. For far too long, when it was other people, in other places falling prey to the power of the fossil fuel industry – coal and the people of Appalachia, for instance – the rest of us have stood by and watched, sympathetic but willing to tolerate. Now we are all living in the sacrifice zone. And unless we can find the will to resist, we will continue to be sacrificed.
Donate to The Committee to Stop Fracking in Michigan Petition: http://www.letsbanfracking.org/index.php/donate
Related article: Donna Allgaier-Lamberti