The Hiker 10
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.
~ Tom King, 2001
I went on a field trip with friends on June 11, 2016 to study 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 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”, adults and children, conducted the biodiversity experiment in an open forested area utilizing 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.
We walked out of the forest, data in hand, excited to review it back at the camp.
The Field Trip 10 never got the chance, however, 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 by three law enforcement officers and then carted off to the county jail in shackles – a two hour trip. The charge: criminal trespass.