June 17, 2016
I pledge allegiance To all life In its interdependent diversity.
And to the planet Upon which it exists
One world, under the sky, Undividable,
With harmony and balance For all.
I went on a field trip with friends to study to the biodiversity of the open land adjacent to the Utah Tar Sands Mine. We ended up being arrested. We are dubbing ourselves “The Hiker 10” (evolved from “The Field Trip 10”).
This field trip was not a direct action with anticipated legal consequences. This field trip is an annual family tradition. Plants are studied and data are recorded in a field journal. Comparisons are made from the previous year to witness the impact of mining on the land.
The Intergenerational Campout has been held at PR Springs on the Tavaputs Plateau for four years. The campout is designed to for people of all ages to come together to experience the beauty of the land, reflect on the legacy of future generations, witness the threat to all life forms as a result of man’s destruction, and provide education on the effects of industry on those life forms. By holding this gathering in the heart of the land that is victimized by destruction, citizens experience the direct impact on every living thing.
“Our kinship with Earth must be maintained; otherwise, we will find ourselves trapped in the center of our own paved-over souls with no way out.”
― Terry Tempest Williams, Finding Beauty in a Broken World
Equipped with balls of string, journals and pens, “field scientists” conducted the biodiversity experiment in an unfenced forested area with the transect method. This involved using a pre-measured string to identify a randomly chosen area of study, counting the number of different types of plants as well as the total number of all plants and arriving at a biodiversity index using simple division to determine the diversity of plant life in the measured area. The closer the result is to “1”, the greater the diversity.
The Hiker 10 never got the chance to take the data back to camp and compare it to the previous year’s data. Instead, we were detained for four hours along the road and then carted off to the county jail in shackles – a two hour trip. The charge: criminal trespass. For counting plants.
“The Eyes of the Future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.”
― Terry Tempest Williams, Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert
“We only have One Water, One Air, One Mother Earth.”
~ Corbin Harney, Western Shoshone Spiritual Leader, 1920-2007
The Earth is our Mother.
From her we get our life,
and our ability to live.
It is our responsibility
to care for our mother,
and in caring for our Mother,
we care for ourselves.
– Winona LaDuke , Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe)