Mother earth respects no boundaries - Deutschland importiert Fracking Gas!
Hello. My name is Michael. I am so thankful that all of you are gathered here today.
Last week I took part in a Women’s Rights March here in Bonn and gave a short speech, during which I neglected to mention many of the most important women of my life. Today I will try to make amends.
My mom started marching long before I was born. In the 1960s and 70s she demonstrated for civil rights and to end the War in Vietnam. Later we proudly marched together against America’s oil wars in Iraq. She taught me that not only is freedom not free, but that power is never given up voluntarily. She showed me that fundamental change must be demanded. And that is what we are doing here today.
After she was flooded out by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, she moved to the high country of Colorado where I was then living. Today if she looks west, she has a spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains. Unfortunately looking east from her front porch, she also has a great view of dozens of fracking sites. Because of these and tens of thousands of others nearby, the air is so bad that on many days the Department of Public Health advises against doing more than an hour outdoor exercise.
Five years before my mom moved west, my sister also moved to Colorado. While we were living together, she studied plant medicine, herbalism, and taught me that nearly every living thing provides a service to the whole of nature. What we called weeds, she calls medicine. Indigenous peoples worldwide know that nature is the source of both spiritual and physical health and healing—which is why they tried to live in harmony with it.
After she and I attained citizenship here in Germany, we planned to move here together. But instead she met a handsome man and fell in love. They travelled together to the American Pacific coast, into the magnificent Sequoia forests of California and there created their daughter—who she and her Native American husband named Sequoia—Mamutbaum auf Deutsch.
Which brings me to my youngest favorite woman, my beautiful three and half year old niece, Sequoia. Its for her future that today I fight, hers’ and all children who’s future may be sacrificed to serve our toxic system.
A few days ago the Guardian reported that scientists have discovered that the Sequoias are starting to die. Often living for over 3,000 years and growing over 100 plus meters tall, they are the largest organisms on Earth and it was thought they were virtually indestructible.
But now, for the first time in white, recorded history, because of the constant heat and drought of the climate crisis, tiny bark beetles have started to kill them. Twenty-eight have died since 2014 and many more are dying.
What should I tell my beautiful Sequoia? Her name is something of a synonym for ever-lasting as even 100 generations of Native Americans rarely encountered a sick one. She will grow up reading and learning that Sequoias, and Koalas, and Eagles, and Whales and far too much of nature’s beauty is dying.
She, my mom and sister live in a giant fracking field, where the toxic gasses are making their air unbreathable, their water undrinkable. And now here, in Germany, as this nation slowly moves away from burning coal, it’s starting to import that fracked gas instead.
Even now, as we gather here in the Freidenplatz, giant tanker ships are bringing us liquid fossil gas that RWE, Uniper and other companies as well as the politicians they own, tell us is cleaner, and better for the environment than the coal it’s replacing.
But science shows us that all of that burnt gas, coal and oil and all that CO2 and methane billowing into our collective atmosphere, is heating our oceans and planet.
Since the beginning of the industrial age over two centuries ago, as companies started burning coal and later oil and gas to power their machines, nature was always sacrificed to generate their profits. Now their profits are the generators of our tragedies.
The fires in Australia have wiped out almost 80% of the Koala habitat. Even so, a week ago, the Australian government greenlighted the destruction of unburned forest areas, now home to refugee Koalas, to make way for a new coal mine, one of many that companies like Siemens are investing in throughout Australia.
That coal will be shipped worldwide, to be burned throughout Asia and here too, in Germany, where our government is unacceptably allowing another hard-coal burning power plant to come on line.
Mother Earth respects no national boundaries. Moving even easier than free trade, greenhouse gases don’t have national identities. But they do have human signatures.
The wildfires in Australia, in the Amazon, in my former home of Colorado, will come here to Germany, will scorch all our homes if we continue to accept that ecocide is justified for the profits of the few global elite. As long as we accept that billionaires and corporations have more rights to thrive than Koalas, or Sequoias, or Mother Earth herself, than we become complicit in this slaughter. Change begins within ourselves. When we change what we accept, when we change what is normal, then we can change reality.
But all of us gathered together in the cold today, are not only children of this Earth, but part of Earth’s defense system. We are Earth, defending herself. We are fighting hate with love, greed with song, and demanding a new, sustainable, renewables-based economy where endless growth and consumption is recognized as a cancer, and like a cancer cell, must be removed from our bodies. We are the anti-bodies fighting the toxins within our system. We have been called. We have been awakened. And we know we have no choice but to rebel against our own extinction.
Love and Rage, Thank you all.