Sunday, June 11, 2017

Will You Fight To Protect Your Water? Because You Are Going To Have To Fight Long And Hard

Cynthia Howard at yesterday's "Water Is Life" rally in Bangor ( coverage here and MPBN coverage here)

By now we all know about targeted internet advertising. Like most artifical intelligence, it often misses the mark by a mile and sometimes in funny ways.

For example, I often see ads for military clothing or military facebook groups because I read articles about the metastisizing U.S. military and its deadly misadventures around the globe. 

Also, I keep seeing ads for the exact dress I just bought to wear to a family wedding. What is the point of that?

This morning I clicked on a shared article from Essence magazine titled "Why Supporting 'Wonder Woman' Is Dangerous For My Black Feminism And Liberation." The weekend is when I get time to do a lot of reading around the internet, finding authors I've not read before and exploring areas I don't know enough about. I'm vaguely aware of the controvery around the Israeli army veteran who plays Wonder Woman, and more aware of a general trend in the U.S. mass media culture to portray woman as violent, aggressive and allegedly desirable on those grounds. 

Imagine my surprise when a pop up ad blocked the Essence article to brag about how the Nestlé corporation has captured the watershed just miles from my home.

Of course the word Nestlé is never used because that multinational water thief hides behind the local Maine label of a company they purchased years ago. The hubristic brag of the tagline "greatness springs from here" is a hint at the men behind the curtain.

Why am I seeing this ad? Because yesterday I attended and posted photos from a Penobscot rally to protect the water upon which all life depends? I didn't even post a photo or report the words of Nickie Sekera who spoke for Community Water Justice and urged all of us to return home and seek local water sovereignty ordinances in our towns in advance of Nestlé coming for our aquifers.

I did post a picture of the amazing Elizabeth Ann Mitchell at the rally. (You can read her guest post here about how she disrupted Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills on behalf of the Penobscot watershed.) 

And just a few minutes ago I shared a link to a WERU community radio "Radioactive" podcast about the Maine so-called Department of Environmental Protection granting permission to expand the Juniper Ridge Landfill.

This toxic waste dump receives truckloads of debris from outside our state, and it leaches into the Penobscot watershed. Perhaps Casella, which operates the landfill at a proft, and Nestlé, which trucks out our water in plastic bottles at a profit, will go head to head over water quality someday soon?

That would be a battle I'd be far more likely to watch than a comic superheroine battling fake forces of evil.

My biggest takeaway from yesterday was a telling of the Penobscot story about Glooskap and the Black Snake. Dawn Eve York prefaced her sharing of it by saying that her amazing young daugher tells it better. Someday I hope to hear Woli tell it; maybe I will be so lucky at the upcoming ceremony for Healing the Wounds of Turtle Island on the Penboscot reservation (you can donate to support travel expenses for the indigenous elders who are coming here).

These stories are meant to be told, not written down so I'll just summarize here: Wabanaki hero Glooskap returns home from a long trip to find a bad smell emanating from the water. As he travels upstream he realizes it is coming from a black snake and he begins to fight the snake. He is helped by a woodpecker who indicates the weakest point to strike, and when the snake is killed the river is stained red with its blood. Glooskap touches the head of his friend the woodpecker with some of the blood; a red spot remains, and the water transforms back to its pristine and lovely original condition.

The black snake of oil pipelines is foretold in the prophecies of various native groups in the Americas, and there were many veterans of the stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline present at yesterday's rally.

Sherri Mitchell also reminded us yesterday that it is the Penobscot Nation that fought to restore their river to a condition that did not raise sores on the skin of their children after swimming.

Industrial pollution still continues to threaten: besides the landfill, there is a massive mercury deposit in the riverbed upstream of Indian Island from a defunct paper mill.

We of the industrialized and colonized USA have much to learn about stewardship of our relatives the plants, the soil, air and water -- in other words, the sustenance of life.

Governments both at the state and federal level have abandoned protection, instead viewing water and land as commodities to be consumed in the pursuit of private profits. I learned yesterday that Nestlé is one of the fastest growing corporations on the planet, and that bottled water is one of its fasting growing sectors.

Capitalism loves growth of profits and will die without them. It willingly pollutes waterways and drains aquifers, even during periods of drought, as a path to more "growth" for its executives and shareholders.

We should love clean water because we will die without it. That is what mni wiconi means in the Lakota language.

Will you fight to protect your water? 

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