My local community, Bellingham, Washington, is facing whether to allow development of the largest coal terminal in North America for shipping of massive amounts of coal to Asia.
“GPT (Gateway Pacific Terminal) filed papers for the terminal project on 2/28/11 and announced it already had a contract with Peabody Energy to export up to 24 million metric tons of coal per year – half of its planned capacity (making it the largest coal terminal on the continent). ” Source: Community Wise Bellingham
“’Consider,” McKibben observes, “’what has to happen if we’re going to deal with global warming in a real way. Concentrations of carbon dioxide greater than 350 parts per million in the atmosphere is not compatible with the planet on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted. The world as a whole must stop burning coal by 2030—and the developed world well before that—if we are to have any hope of ever getting the planet back down below that 350 number.’”
While writing Ancestral Blueprints: Revealing Invisible Truths in America’s Soul, I experienced many “aha” moments. One of the most sobering ones relates to the relationship between our European immigrant ancestors’ profound disconnection from the web and subsequent movement of Americans leading the way toward global warming. “America has been producing more CO2 than any other country, and leads the industrialized world in per capita emissions. Even though China now produces as much CO2 annually, the US still produces many times more carbon per person than China, India, and most other countries. ” Source: www.350.org
According to Ancestral Blueprints “Americans have led the way toward climate change out of a context of inherited, severed relationship with indigenous European homelands and extended family networks. The immigrant, colonial experience is the backdrop for today’s disconnetion from the natural world and confusion about our human family’s place within nature’s web.
“I invite Americans from all lineages to recognize that our ancestral blueprints — not oil reserves or coal — are America’s untapped natural energy resource…As we enter the era of exploration of energy sources invisible to the eye, like wind and solar energy, consider that our ancestors — also invisible to sight, but no less present than sun and air — are sources of guidance and sustenance for America’s soul.”
It’s from disconnection from our ancestors and the web that we got here — and it’s by reconnection that we can wake up from the trance of numbness that says climate change, energy sources, jobs, and other collective challenges are too big. There is simply no replacement for embodied connection with who and where we come from.
Here’s to us re-membering our place in the web.