The Pipeline: 
Esmeraldas burned alive

Enough already

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The Pipeline: Esmeraldas burned alive

originally posted 12.31.2016
In 1998, parents placed their children in wooden canoes and pushed them into the Esmeraldas River, Ecuador, to protect the children from flames engulfing oil-soaked streets and vehicles after a pipeline break. Then, these parents watched fire engulf the river and their children.
Dear Friend, 

While clearing through files, I retrieved the story above in 'STATE of DENIAL Chapter One Thirst for gas: Oil from Ecuador helps California's cars, but is the cost too high?', The Sacramento Bee, Sunday April 27, 2003.

I'm struck not just by multiple tragedies documented in 'STATE of DENIAL', but by two aspects of the publication.

First, the story of children and the whole of Esmeraldas River burning neither made the headline nor any highlight. Second, having included the unimaginably painful experience of watching one's child be engulfed by flames after casting the child out to the river's protection, the title asks if the price of oil is too high.
"Tell them it's killing us," said Bishop Eugenio Arellano...
The Politics of Petroleum - "Esmeraldas:
Still Such a Shining Jewel?"
Claudine LoMonaco / UC, Berkeley 

Rather than one among the multitude of more recent oil spills from failing pipelines and human error, I share the story of Esmeraldas to emphasize the cost of unresolved trauma and grief, which is tragedy ongoing. Pipe dreams, like safe pipelines and clean coal, shatter once Esmeraldas is grieved - once is heard the scream of one child burned with Esmeraldas River. Such feeling finds CO2 readings unnecessary, guards the newborn's first breaths, and refuses what could be two more years of intensive mineral extraction for 'climate mobilization'.
No more. No more. No more. “Enough is enough.”  
But pipe dreams continue for now along with disregard for children. So, needless loss accompanies inevitable loss. The needless inspires rage. Grace-filled rage. Typically, I react. Letting rage find full vocal expression out rather than at. And then settle into verse.

Enough was said in less than 24 minutes
Imagining volumes written in response to Esmeraldas River massacre alone, there feels little need to further document what's cruel, works for very few in the short-term, and eventually fails everyone.

Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth founder, summed up the consequence of and right response to negligence in less than 24 minutes during her 2013 Bioneers Conference keynote. Winona reminds that, compared to seed, gasoline has no value whatsoever. She points to greater needs: seed and soil sovereignty. And acknowledges that everyone using oil is responsible and needs to cut their addiction now.

Please listen to Winona’s keynote Seeds The Creator Gave Us as well as this Interview on North Dakota pipeline during which Winona describes how the feverish push to build new costly and unnecessary energy infrastructure, including pipelines and dams, is about making good on financial investments, not benefiting communities. And know that community-minded people throughout the world are risking their own lives to prevent a greater hell.

More than pipe dreams exist
Knowledge coupled with awareness in action

There's more than wishing. Proven economic and design strategies that encourage biodiversity and 'bring home' greenhouse gasses exist in practice:
  •, an online biomimicry library offering biological strategies, inspired ideas, and resources relative to innovation challenges.
  •, a wealth of existing solutions for drawing down greenhouse gasses.
Biodiversity continues to be cataloged and protected in seed banks and preserves, aquatic and terrestrial, including the Pachamama Alliance collaborative effort that will protect Sacred Headwaters in south-central Ecuador and northern Peru.

Please invest in such efforts for the children.

And feel.
After reading Aleppo and screaming out on the way to pick up my son from school, I spoke to him of my outrage as we walked together. He said something that I find very wise, 

“If it upsets you, stop thinking about it.”

My initial reaction to his recommendation,

“But I must think about it because it’s happening now!”,

was soon trumped by awareness that outright violence is not directed at me and if I feel the violence fully all the time, I become the trauma and the traumatized - someone who needs help. 

This is the dance. To remain aware. To react naturally and harmlessly. Then respond so as not to become the sickness.

With love,
Extinction Witness PROJECT offers more on grieving and peacekeeping. 

Biodiversity is social diversity.
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recommended reading:

Personal as Ecological
/ The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis
by Brendan Kelly

Project Drawdown
DRAWDOWN (ˈdrôˌdoun) n. 
The point at which concentrations of greenhouse gases
in the atmosphere begin to decline.

First Policy Switch: 
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Blindspot Think Tank, UK
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The Sixth Extinction
An Unnatural History
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Transition Streets 
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WIN-WIN Ecology
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Women's Climate Action Agenda 
Women's Earth Climate Action Network ~ WECAN
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