The following statement comes from a tree sitters in the Hellbender Autonomous Zone, who speaks on the recent election and the ongoing battle to stop a series of pipelines in the Appalachian territory.
We are taught that chronic feelings of dread, sadness and hopelessness are purely byproducts of chemical imbalances in our brains. Rarely is it considered that the objectively dark nature of our reality could play a role in how we feel.
When we take note of our conditions and produce natural biological responses (depression, anxiety, mania), we are stigmatized by our peers and sold out to big pharma by our parents and counselors.
Rising temperatures, increasing frequency of natural disasters and the climate crisis are real. You don’t need to be a scientist. You don’t need to understand feedback loops. You don’t need to know what methane, permafrost, albedo or Ozone are.
We all know the environment is changing. We all know the water quality is sketchy and getting worse. We all know it’s too hot outside, and that it used to snow more often when we were children. We all know that multiple “500-year floods” in the span of three years mean this is a different world than what we were born into.
When we acknowledge that our future is a dystopian crisis and that our children may see the collapse of human civilization, we often turn to substances and cognitive dissonance as defense mechanisms for our sanity.
Those in power did not become powerful by fixing problems. They sought power by means of exploitation, and there is no reason to think they would change once in positions of influence. Is anyone surprised that our own government is ignoring scientific data suggesting climate catastrophe by 2100? In two short centuries, our species will have destroyed what was a perfect situation on this planet, for a myth that exploitation is “how the world works”… so that we could pretend that the American dream exists, that a meritocracy exists, and that somehow people get what we “deserve”.
We are living in these trees because the accepted avenues of action within the system present zero chance of stopping this pipeline. If the Democratic Party would adequately confront the climate crisis, I would just come down and vote. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party is a facade; presenting a myth of opposition to this regime while existing in conspiratorial conjunction with the Republicans. Red team, blue team, it’s all one regime: the capitalist regime.
Democrats have failed us over and over again, especially in the fight against fossil fuel extraction. Obama did not halt the Dakota Access Pipeline. He delayed it in the twilight of his presidency, knowing full well that Donald would get the oil flowing months later through the same executive power. Blue team quarterback Hillary Clinton never took a stand against the DAPL or fracking. Leaked documents show that Tigerswan and Energy Transfer Partners knew that the project would get the green light after the 2016 election, regardless of which candidate won.
Governor Northam is on the blue team, but it’s clear that EQT and Dominion’s cash matter more to him than his constituents. The same goes for blue team participant NC Governor Roy Cooper. Coop took $58 million in discretionary funds (outside of the state’s regular budget process) from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Dominion and Duke Energy the same day that the ACP received its 401 water permit from the NC department of environmental quality.
Democrats have failed us on the environment, and they will continue to do so as long as we continue to accept the fallacy of a capitalist democracy. For the sake of your own sanity, you should probably not operate under the misconception that these elections have anything whatsoever to do with the fight against fossil fuel infrastructure. You can’t have a blue wave without clean water, and a red wave is actually a toxic algae bloom that is a symptom of climate change.
I didn’t come down to vote. We are still here protecting these trees and this land. Come to the tree-sit and support action against the pipelines! Take your money out of Bank of America, PNC, Wells Fargo, Suntrust, BB&T, US Bank, or the dozens of others (too many to list here; do a google) funding the fracking pipelines. Organize an action in your community, and take the time to talk to your neighbors about stopping these destructive projects.
The mainstream culture would have you believe that all you can do is vote and file complaints with the DEQ and politicians. This is not the case. You can get in the way of this fracking bullshit, or support those doing so. Nobody who is informed really wants the pipelines except the few who stand to profit from its exploitation. We will win this fight if we don’t quit.
True Resistance exists necessarily outside the capitalist agenda, and outside normal avenues of action. I would not be here if I were to accept what I’ve been told I need to do “for myself”. When I’ve listened and obeyed the wishes of those on top of power structures, “educating” myself in a system that promotes class stratification and debt slavery … working for corporations so that I can exchange the fruits of my labor for the bare minimum of resources necessary to live … witnessing our military forcefully evict indigenous people from 1851 treaty land at Standing Rock so that the government could install more fossil fuel infrastructure underneath sacred water sources … and trying to continue living within the structures that have destroyed our humanity … is it any surprise that many of us have felt hopeless? Furthermore, is it any surprise that we’ve been told to buy state-sanctioned medication and continue participating in the ridiculously corrupt systems that caused these problems in the first place? Fuck that.
I am here protecting this tree and this land because I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to be here and act out what must be done. I will stay here as long as I can, in part because taking action to protect what I love helps to combat the feelings of hopelessness caused by those that would destroy this world. I love this tree, I love this land, and I love the people of these communities.
“Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair.” These words (credit: twitter.com/prisonculture/status/890778726140706818) become more and more applicable as we see this disastrous economic system destroy itself, taking all that we love with it.
Don’t fret, don’t agonize in hopelessness, and don’t give up.
We now stand at a turning point in human history. The UN says we have 11 years to stop exploiting our Mother Earth, or we can increase profits for a few men while we all suffer. To combat this necessarily means we have to stop participating in capitalist bullshit in all its flavors. This is actually pretty convenient! What will you do? What will you tell your children? Do you love yourself? Do you love anything or anyone enough to take a stand?
You are not alone; there is hope. There are still good people out here fighting. Take action.
Imagine a better world, and participate in its evolution.”
— from the white pine
Day 66 of the tree sits on Yellow Finch
Donate to support the tree sits & resistance to pipelines: bit.ly/supportmvpresistance