On the eve of the National Preach-In on Climate Change, I just watched an amazing movie called White Water, Black Gold. It’s a beautifully crafted and accurate exploration of one of the hidden costs of continued development of tar sands oil in Canada’s North Country. That cost is clean water. This Canadian production is available for free viewing until February 18th and is well worth the 57 minutes it takes to watch it. Elegantly juxtaposing video of pristine examples of God’s glorious creation with shocking shots of lands and waters defiled by human industry, this movie calls us to action and to change.
The writers remind us that Canadian tar sands oil is now the largest source of imported oil for us in the United States. We are not separate from this problem, we are complicit. Not only does this extraction process permanently destroy vast landscapes, it also converts millions and millions of gallons of precious fresh water into toxic sludge and creates “waste sites that are visible from space.” The images and testimonies in the film are compelling. As people of faith we cannot watch without hearing “the whole creation is groaning.”
The good news is that the film ends with HOPE. It shows a different way of proceeding and reminds us that we have the opportunity and the responsibility to change the course of human history to one of restoration, repair and reconciliation. An alternative energy future is possible, desirable and desperately needed, and we need to start moving now.
Here are two things you can all do right away.
- It’s still possible to participate in the National Preach-In. Go to the website, download the postcards to President Obama and set up a table this weekend or next in your house of worship. Invite your fellow congregants to sign a postcard asking the President to make care of creation and positive climate action a prominent issue for his second term. Then send them in en masse to the White House. Speak out and require him to make good on his proud and welcome words from his second inaugural address.
- On February 17th there is a Day of Climate Action happening on the Mall in Washington DC. This Presidents’ Day event is being organized to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline which will bring tar sands oil from Canada across the American heartland to the Gulf of Mexico for refinement and export. This not only endangers critical farm land and water supplies in our country; it also supports a dirty, dangerous and destructive industry. Many communities are organizing caravans and busses to go up for the day. Join them and participate in some shoe-leather democracy.
Let us join together to change our future and the future for all generations to come. We owe them clean water, healthy ecosystems, sustainable energy and the beauty of Creation. Hope is a verb and the time to do hope is now.
Kathy Shea, Co-Director NCIPL.