Dr Susan Moore

Another beautiful black person has died after struggling to receive care from our for-profit health care system.  It is time for a change to universal single payer.

May you rest in peace Dr Susan Moore and may the struggles you endured be the beginning of the end to a failed system of care.

Dr Susan Moore

https://www.phillytrib.com/dr-susan-moore-the-death-of-black-doctor-of-covid-19-sets-off-alarms/article_41479426-bb65-58c7-88e4-8d289abbaea2.html

https://www.democracynow.org/topics/black_lives_matter

PNHP Mission Statement

https://www.democracynow.org/topics/healthcare

 

 

 

The Warning (In the Groves of El Dorado)

Sunset

A shaft of light beamed down

Through sheets of tropical rain

Glowed in outstretched palms

Fraught with lingering pain.

 

As rains fell in a fury

Like tears in a flood of rage

The elder stood sore and weary

At the sight of what he surveyed.

 

Deluged by memories of Eden

Lost in the endless brigade

To cull the jungle for profit

As if a penny arcade,

 

Where rainbow colored tears

From one armed bandits stray

Oil streaming from virgin lands

Beauty, blessed, betrayed.

 

Vanished in the slaughter

Countless bounties to be mourned;

The groves of El Dorado

Now dying and forlorn.

 

Standing in solemn reverence

As rains came to a halt,

He held his gaze ahead

In the steam of this jungle vault.

 

Witnessing, at dusk, a warning,

As ghostly remnants remained,

Poised in silent testament

Where giants of Earth once reigned

©2002/2019/2021

 

A Kind and Curious Man

I knew a man who would not lie.

He would not say a thing untrue

And if one swayed him to reply

In words he did not choose,

He would not say a thing untrue.

 

As his life unfolded

And his kindness grew,

He spoke in words of gentleness

Speaking only what he knew,

What he knew to be the truth.

 

Words will come, and words will go,

And rarely be remembered

But in due and honest diligence,

In kindness, and in truth,

In time, his legend grew. 

 

The legend of a man

A kind and curious man

A man who would not lie,

Who would not say 

A thing untrue.

 

©2004

Tales Untold

While sounds of life stream beside us

Endlessly scrambling in the breeze,

Can you hear the relentless battle

Of clashing hopes and dreams?

And when our treaties disregarded

Shatter in a million tears,

Do you care, does it matter?

Are you lost in countless fears?

A soldier dies beside a flag.

A woman freezes from the cold.

Our children cry for understanding

With countless tales untold.

The facts speak for themselves …

Line 3 is, for the most part, a new line with a new route and not actually a replacement.  The “aging pipeline” is being left in the ground and in order to determine a new route, according to an article written by Mike Fernandez of Enbridge, there were 320 modifications prior to the final determination.  That alone tells us just how tricky it is to navigate the waterways of northern Minnesota.

If Minnesota’s standards are so high as he suggests, higher than the federal guidelines, then, why have any pipelines been allowed in a land of 10,000 lakes at the headwaters of the Rainy River, the Mississippi River and the St Louis River, extreme headwaters of the St Lawrence Seaway and the mouth of the Great Lakes at Lake Superior?

Oil and water don’t mix and this is no place for a pipeline.

Counterpoint: Poetry and fiction …. by Mike Fernandez at Enbridge

Dangerous Pipelines, Greenpeace reports

Water, Wilderness, Dark Skies and the Seventh Generation

 

In Northern Minnesota, a land of water, wilderness and dark skies, water protectors from all over the country are engaging government, Governor Walz, in particular, and Enbridge, Polymet and other multi-national corporations by peaceful protest.  They ask simply to protect the water for future generations now, not after the fact.

Once the pipes have been laid and the mines built, there will be no way to keep tar sands oil, copper sulfides and other pollutants out of the water from these enterprises in a land of 10,000+ fresh water lakes.  The damage will have been done and this is just a fact.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park in Northern Minnesota have been designated dark sky sanctuaries for good reason.   For wilderness.

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/12/09/voyageurs-national-park-designated-a-dark-sky-park

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/09/11/boundary-waters-designated-a-dark-sky-sanctuary

Under a bridge of Maples
Bemidji Maples

Anita

A few questions for those who believe a tar sands pipeline is the solution to any problem in Northern Minnesota …

Bald Eagle Soaring over the Mississippi River

What will the deep north offer when the construction jobs are gone and the water ways polluted by a multi national corporation that will leave town when the pipe is no longer useful left rotting in the ground?

Help is needed for those suffering throughout the state, and this administration can make better pathways to a sustainable economy than allowing a tar sands oil pipeline for the promise of work that will end in nine months.  Do we need another boom and bust economy for northern Minnesota?

There are good reasons that the pipeline 3 has been discouraged by people in the know, people who have thrived from these lands and waters for centuries and have respect for what these resources provide.  There are good reasons that Line 3 had been stalled, should be stopped, and appeals are ongoing in the land of sky blue waters, this land of 10,000 lakes.  What does potable water mean to you?  Or is it out of mind when the pipeline is out of sight?

Are short term jobs worth the costs that will eventually and most assuredly occur when the pipeline leaks and spills into the Mississippi and/or into one or more of over 200 waterways?  What do the executives and financiers betting on the completion of this pipeline care about your legacy to your children and their children and children’s children?  What do they care about your greatest legacy to them, clean water?

Some say that Enbridge has replaced the pipe on their properties.  How much of Enbridge’s pipe will be left in the ground and what gets replaced, for who, and at what cost?  There are many concerned about the prospect of leaving the rotten corpse of the old line in ground where it will cause existential damage to the environment, that environment that we, in Minnesota, know all too well and love.  All those down stream and in the deep north will suffer eventually for this bad decision; and all for short term work and another boom and bust enterprise.  What will be that cost but the health of our waters and the surrounding environment?

Whatever your decision, please contact the governor with your thoughts.  We need a better solution than this dirty project.  Nine months of work will not sustain any community for long.

https://mn.gov/governor/contact/

 

Where is the sweet spot in our challenge to frame a better world?

The possibilities for reform are as great as the challenges we face today.  In recognizing that all in this world depends on the framing, how we perceive these challenges.

near Babbitt, MN

On the one hand, we have a global climate disaster in the making while corporate executives of fossil fuel and metallurgical industries seemed bent on making it worse, for their financial profit.  The actions they take to expand their footprint across the globe does not benefit them essentially and does not make the world a better place for their children and grandchildren.  Money has taken common sense out of the mix.

On another, we have the need to find alternative sources of energy that do not damage the environment and make the climate a greater challenge.  Wind, solar, water, insulation, thermal etal … I am not an expert on any of this, but I am aware that any of these alone is not the answer.

To store energy, at this time in our consciousness, batteries seem to be the answer … but at what cost?  Disposal of spent batteries, production and the mining of resources are also a challenge.

So, there is always the other side of an argument.  What do we do to find a sweet spot in our search?  We cannot continue to destroy the environment for quick answers or financial gain.  Money needs to be taken out of the debate if we are to find the best and most sustainable solution.

In the deep north of Minnesota a battle is raging for the health of our waters. In the land of sky blue waters, in a region that finds the source of three of the greatest rivers on the North American continent, our Minnesota government has approved a new tar sands pipeline by the Canadian company Enbridge.  The pipe will leak, as pipes do.  It will fall into disrepair and be left to deteriorate in ground, as Enbridge is doing with their older pipeline to spare them the cost of removal.  It will despoil and pollute ancient wild rice sources and wetlands throughout its course across the deep north of Minnesota, a land of more than 10,000 lakes.  In the nine months that it takes to build, four thousand or so workers will have a job and then go home.  The pipeline and the pollution will remain.

Minnesota is also at the heart of a fight to keep the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the St Louis watershed, and Rainy River Watershed from being pollluted by proposed copper mines in the area.  Polymet and the Northmet Project being one.

These battles for the sake of our waters and lands are being fought across the country.  We have an outgoing president in Donald Trump who is fast tracking this destruction.  And so, my questions concerning the framing and the solution to these formidable challenges: what do we do to find a sweet spot where our energy concerns lie, and how do we get money out of the heart of our decisions on these matters?

Apache Nation Organizes Day of Action Against Proposed Copper Mine

North America is About to Get Its Largest Copper Mine

For a better world we need to do better than this.

Anita

In defense of clean water and the headwaters of the Mississippi River

What fight could be more relevant to our national security but to protect the waters that run through the heartland of this north American continent?  You can contact Governor Walz to voice your concerns.

https://mn.gov/governor/contact/

Not all of us can stand in protest at the many locations where this pipeline will cross rivers, streams, parks and trails throughout these northern watersheds and tribal lands, small towns and communities.  Many have been led to believe in desperate times that these are the kind of jobs that are needed.  All but a few jobs will be temporary and about half of the temporary jobs will be for out of state workers.

I  have included a few links below concerning the history of this struggle and links to groups advocating for justice and to stop the construction of this new pipeline.  A cause with good reason for all who depend on clean water.

water lilies and reeds

https://www.democracynow.org/2020/12/18/enbridge_line_3_opposition

https://welcomewaterprotectors.com

https://nativenewsonline.net/currents/state-authorities-approve-enbridge-line-3-permits-protesters-clash-in-front-of-governor-s-mansion

Water Protectors Launch Direct Action Against Enbridge Pipeline in Minnesota

Enbridge Line 3 pipeline receives final approval; opposition vows to fight on

https://www.sierraclub.org/minnesota/beyond-oil

https://www.friendsoftheheadwaters.org/contact-officialsmedia.html

http://friendsoftheheadwaters.org/index.html

https://mn.gov/puc/line3/summary/

https://www.stopline3.org/issues

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_3_Pipeline

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Public_Utilities_Commission

In the land of sky blue waters … Enbridge is building a massive oil pipeline into the Mississippi river bed and watershed. Your waters.

Efforts to protect water for generations is ongoing while the mantra of the despoiler is, always is, the creation of jobs.  Jobs that destroy the lands and water, making it unfit for anything else but more of the same.  What kind of lands and waters will be left for a sustainable life, one with wild rice and animal life of all species.

Enbridge guarantees 4000 jobs, but these are jobs that make for a boom and bust economy.  Jobs to those willing to travel from all over the country, away from home and family to make money for the oil business in a pandemic … at a time when the demand for oil is waning.  The pipeline will remain even when it has long been relegated to the dust of time, leaking and poisoning all the land and water surrounding it including the mighty Mississippi.  How many will benefit from this and how many jobs will remain then?

More news surrounding this new Pipeline #3 being installed by the Enbridge corporation in the deep north of Minnesota and the Arrowhead:

Line 3 construction barrels ahead, despite efforts to block it | MPR News

https://www.stopline3.org/recent

https://kstp.com/minnesota-news/contractor-on-line-3-dies-in-hill-city-construction-incident-december-18-2020/5955710/

http://www.honorearth.org/sandpiper_line_3_corridor

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/12/15/biden-urged-stand-against-line-3-water-protectors-battle-dirty-tar-sands-pipeline

Why is it essential to build the tar sands pipeline 3 in the middle of a pandemic?

Governor Walz has said he is concerned about the health of all MInnesotans.  This has been his focus since the beginning of this year with various shutdowns.  We are now in one of those shutdowns.  Why, then, does he allow the construction of a pipeline that is not essential and not wanted by most Minnesotans, including the tribes whose lands this pipeline will traverse, in the midst of a global pandemic that is killing Minnesotans at a record rate?

We should all be concerned, since this pipeline will now be constructed across two sections of the Mississippi River.  Not only will the indigenous peoples of this state be affected, but, eventually, all those downstream of the Mississippi.

For up to date information about these fights to save our waters and how to get to the various locations:

https://healingmnstories.wordpress.com/2020/12/13/indigenous-leaders-make-urgent-call-for-water-protectors-to-attend-line-3-protest-near-palisade-monday-at-930-a-m/

https://welcomewaterprotectors.com/thegreatriver?emci=d1012493-dd3c-eb11-9fb4-00155d43b2cd&emdi=fe0801c3-e13c-eb11-9fb4-00155d43b2cd&ceid=4028723

https://healingmnstories.wordpress.com/enbridge-line-3/

Water Protectors

The tribes of this nation are, again, fighting a battle for the health of our waters.  This is not just a fight for their autonomy, for their inherant right to be free and to live in a sustainable way, in the way of their ancestors.  It is also a fight for the soul and security of this country and life for all of us on earth.

For, what is life without clean water and air?  What is life when it is held so cheaply at the expense of our base?  While multinational organizations, corporations make profit off of our natural resources, these entities leave the local citizens to clean up their messes, those that can be “cleaned.”

Corporate pollution changes the face of the land forever, and in the construction process Enbridge is removing hardwood forests and leveling fields and marshes to build their pipeline through the heart of Minnesota in the headwaters of the Mississippi and on tribal lands.  Even before suits filed have seen their way through the courts, it appears our native communities have, again, been betrayed.

Ancient rice fields are at risk along with the health and well being of our native people and local communities.  Introducing workers from all over the country to build a pipeline in the midst of a pandemic that is killing over 2000 people each day in the USA.  Ironically, at the same time, Governor Walz has ordered lock down measures for the rest of Minnesota.  Where are the protections surrounding the pipeline?  Will our indigenous women suffer again with this corporate deal?

In spite of it all, in order to protect and defend our vital resources, the indigenous people of this state in Minnesota and around the country are waging peace and standing for the rights of us all to drink unpolluted water, to breath free in a land that claims it is a democracy.  While police show up to arrest or detain the protesters, I wonder, where are those who are paid to defend and protect citizens against these polluters?

For more information and updates:

https://healingmnstories.wordpress.com/2020/12/04/puc-ignores-line-3s-covid-concerns-buys-into-enbridges-flawed-pandemic-plan/#more-18139

The Sea

pacific ocean shore
return to the sea

Softly the light dances on the cold blue water

Whispering lullabies to the life below,

While the sea hushes, and the shore murmurs

A song so ancient, soft and low

So wave to the sea, one long last glance,

Sigh to the shore embracing her.

Though days darken, and nights lose their warmth,

You remember the sea as you found her

©1969/2019

Peace

Peace in your waters, life

Lofty goals seldom achieved

Humblest and greatest lie in your fold

The difference, only a dream

©2002

Removing oil pipelines and other dirty infrastructure from our wetlands would create jobs too, better jobs

The focus at this demanding time in our history needs to be on what can be done and not what we need to stop, while not forgetting one or the other.  It’s said that the best offense is a defense.  But what does this say to us now?

The motivation for a defense is fear.  What could we do with a different mindset?  What is possible for Minnesota if we made our focus removing the oil pipelines instead of playing defense to Enbridge’s offenses?  What if we played offense to other multinational corporations that would make Minnesota their cash cow while leaving our environment polluted and it’s citizens to clean up the mess?

When a fighter puts his fist up to block a punch, he has the other hand to knock his opponent out.  What Enbridge is doing in the state of Minnesota is no less aggressive than a fighter in the ring.  What Polymet, essentially Glencore, with it’s proposed copper mine in the Laurentian Divide at the heart of three of the greatest river systems in the North American continent, in Minnesota, at the extreme headwaters of the St Lawrence Seaway, the Great Lakes, the Rainy River watershed, and the Mississippi headwaters endangers our national security, our waters.

We need to put more focus on what can be done to create the kind of world we need long term and stop being pushed into the ropes in this fight.

For more information on this discussion:

https://anitatillemans.wordpress.com/?s=arrowhead

 

Oil Man’s Creed

jelly fish

Black eruptions steep

From strangled steel of deep

In sea green depths of turquoise blue

The oil man’s secrets keep

 

Until the day the dolphin dies

And whales merge on the beach

The turtle’s eggs no longer hatch

The starfish barely creep

 

Greed and glut, the oil man’s creed

As black eruptions steep

In sea green depths of turquoise blue

From strangled steel of deep

©2015

Putting Minnesotans at risk of Covid 19 in order to build the Enbridge Pipeline #3 ASAP …

While Covid 19 is spreading throughout the US and Minnesota is under a lockdown, our governor is allowing pipeline construction workers from all over the country to descend upon Minnesota, traveling to stay at places away from their homes in the winter months where workers will meet indoors and where they will most likely spread infection among themselves and to the greater community.

As a result, this new Enbridge pipeline #3 will not only poison our waters but during construction will be responsible for infecting the populace along the construction route.  Anytime is too soon for a bad idea, especially during a pandemic.

Check out links below for more information:

http://www.honorearth.org

https://www.stopline3.org/recent

What’s next for the Enbridge Line 3 project in Minnesota? Construction. And protests.

 

Enbridge Tar Sands Oil Pipeline at the Headwaters of the Mississippi … what could the governor be thinking?

In spite of ongoing lawsuits from the seriously flawed decision to permit the line #3 replacement pipeline, construction has begun.  For the sake of our waters, protests are inevitable.  Water protectors are those who see beyond the short term profit of a few jobs and who stand for health and well being in lieu of corporate profits.  It is to the detriment of not only Minnesota residents, but the national security of this country if we fail to protect these headwaters.

In an effort to stop the degradation of our waters and treaty-protected resources in Minnesota, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe has issued a suit challenging the construction stormwater permit issued by the MPCA.  According to the claim, MPCA did not fully consider long term impacts in regard to climate and treaty rights.  This action joins several other legal actions seeking to stop or forestall construction of the “replacement” line 3 by Enbridge in the headwaters of the Mississippi River and vital water dependent resource areas in Northern Minnesota.

Red Lake Band of Chippewa and the White Earth Band asked Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to pause approval of the line for the Mn Court of Appeals to consider the permit irregularities.  This request will be considered by the PUC on Friday December 4, 2020 at 10am (reference link below to startribune article).

https://www.startribune.com/construction-on-enbridge-pipeline-begins-as-new-lawsuit-filed-to-delay-2-6b-project/573250131/

In addition, Friends of the Headwaters, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, the White Earth Band, the Sierra Club and Honor the Earth have filed another law suit citing enormous issues concerning pipeline routes, impacts to climate and treaties, water pollution risks from pipeline construction, including long term degradation to water and wetlands … after the construction.

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/business/energy-and-mining/6783854-As-Line-3-construction-begins-opponents-file-another-lawsuit

Enbridge claims that the pipeline replacement will more safely transport tar sands oil to Midwest refineries, create 4200 construction jobs, which will generate millions in revenue for the area during construction.  Therein lies the crux of the issue. References;

What’s next for the Enbridge Line 3 project in Minnesota? Construction. And protests.

https://www.greatlakesnow.org/2020/11/ap-minnesota-tribes-pipeline-approval-virus/

What are the risks of transporting tar sands oil through the wetlands and headwaters of Minnesota?

Tar sands oil is highly corrosive to the pipes and infrastructure used in construction.

Requires large amounts of water (about 3 to 1 part oil)

Pollutes water resources and inevitable leaks will cause permanent degradation to the water table and the marshes and wetlands connected

Widespread habitat destruction to natural resources

Creates enormous GHG emissions, 3 to 4 times the greenhouse gases of conventional oil extraction (greenhouse gas, which includes carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone among other gases that absorb and re-emit heat, and thereby keep the planet’s atmosphere warmer than it  otherwise would be…)

Tar sand oil is a highly inefficient source of energy compared to other sources

In Minnesota, this tar sands pipeline construction will burrow through some of the most pristine wetland in the country and cross rivers that are highly sensitive to contamination, in wetlands that are integrated across the entire upper third of the state.  It will cross the Mississippi twice.

The jobs and benefits that Enbridge promises will be temporary.  The degradation will be permanent.

map showing Enbridge's Pipeline 3 proposed crossings in Minnesota's headwaters

Cradle (On the Loss of a Loved One)

scarlet oak leaves

The wind with icy fingers 

Lifting branches overhead

 

Moon so bright, cold wintry night,

Shadows on my bed

 

Chimes ring 

To the wind’s song,

 

As rustling oak leaves sound

Like shuffling feet in a slow dance

 

As nature’s sighs 

Abound

 

Suspended I hear the wind blow,

Lost in the cradle of that song

 

As morning dawns 

On the breath of a sigh

 

So sweet 

And so long

 

While candlelight, like starlight,

Reflects off my windowpane

 

Thoughts and dreams, wondering wearily,

Will not prevail again

 

To pierce the heart and tune the mind

To believe as youth once would

 

But forbear with wisdom won in pain

From love lost and understood.

 

 

ov©2004/2019 

The Coin

Veteran on the shore

In waning light of dusk

And unrelenting tide

I saw a sparkling coin

Tossed from side to side.

 

Embraced within the frosty foam

It glittered with delight

As though in endless struggle there

Found its golden light.

 

Through countless trials, though weary,

Will we wake each day,

With open minds and clearly,

Grow in loving ways?

 

Knowing that in giving,

We forestall the cold of night

And take joy in the living,

Thriving in the light.

 

©1968/2014/2019

Enbridge Line #3 Pipeline’s Path Through Minnesota …

map showing Enbridge's Pipeline 3 proposed crossings in Minnesota's headwaters

Not only did Enbridge have the ability to rebuild in place, there were other alternatives to digging through tribal lands and the heart of Minnesota’s deep north, vital wetlands to us all, for a new line#3 pipeline.  Call it replacement if you like.  But this is not a replacement, but an addition to already existing pipelines.  The old one will be left in place, simply left.

Enbridge’s record is not good, to say the least, and those at the top will benefit from the tar sands oil transported through line #3 and, at the same time, not be liable for the harm that any spills most definitely will cause.

Why would Governor Walz allow this to happen to our state for any price?  Short term construction jobs are not a good enough reason for the long standing harm pipeline #3 will do to our vital resources and the disrespect it shows for the rights of our native peoples, again.  When will we listen to these voices and follow a wiser path?

Much information in the report below concerning this dirty project and why it should never be built:

Enbridge Evidentiary Hearing November 2017

Some changes were made to the proposed route in 2018:

While we wait for lawsuits to see their way through courts, the construction has already begun.

For links to other articles on Arterutan:

https://anitatillemans.wordpress.com/?s=enbridge

The route for Enbridge’s tar sands pipeline, as proposed and approved, will cross 12 Minnesota counties:

Interactive map at stopline3.org

Line 3 will travel through Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, Polk, Clearwater, Hubbard, Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, Carlton counties in Minnesota.  Line 3 will enter Minnesota by crossing the Red River entering Kittson and then move into Marshall County where it will cross the Tamarac River, Middle River and the Snake before entering Pennington County, where it will cross the Red Lake River.   At this point it will move into Red Lake County where it will cross the Clearwater River before going into Polk County crossing at State Ditch Sixty One.  With more tributaries to cross Line 3 will be heading into Clearwater County where it will cross, among others, Lost River, Silver Creek, West Four Legged Lake, the Mississippi River in Bear Creek Township and La Salle Creek in Itasca State Park.  At this point, it will move through Paul Bunyan State Forest and south past many lakes and over the Straight River out of Park Rapids, over the Shell River and then in an easterly direction over Crow Wing River, then south into Wadena County and Huntersville State Forest where it will cross the Shell River again and the Crow Wing River within Huntersville State Forest.  Once leaving Wadena, the line 3 pipeline will move through Cass County south of the Leech Lake Reservation through more water dependent areas, over Pine River and into Crow Wing County’s upper NW corner, at which point it reenters Cass County crossing water features and tributaries again before entering Aitkin County where it will cross the Mississippi once more, among others like the Sandy River, Willow River, a portion of the Mille Lacs Reservation, before moving into Carlton County.   Once in Carlton County, Enbridge’s tar sands oil pipeline 3 will cross the West Branch of the Kettle River, Heikkila Creek, Kettle River, on the southerly border of Fond du Lac State Forest, the West Fork Moose Horn River, King Creek and Park Lake Creek.  At the last leg of its journey through our land of 10,000 lakes, it will straddle the Willard Munger State Trail before crossing Highway 35, then south of Jay Cooke State Park and the St Louis River toward Superior in Douglas County, Wisconsin.

What could go wrong?

Counties in Line #3 route Parks affected and in close proximity

partial list

Associated Rivers and water bodies

partial list

Kittson Red River
Marshall Tamarac River

Middle River

Snake River

Pennington Red Lake Indian Reservation Red Lake River
Red Lake Clearwater River
Polk water bodies and tributaries

State Ditch Sixty One

Clearwater Itasca State Park Lost River

Silver Creek

West Four Legged Lake

Mississippi River 

La Salle Creek

and others

Hubbard Paul Bunyan State Forest

which borders the Chippewa National Forest and the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest

lakes and water bodies including the

Straight River out of Park Rapids

Shell River

Crow Wing River, a tributary of the Mississippi

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crow_Wing_River

Wadena Huntersville State Forest Shell River

among others

Cass Paul Bunyan State Forest

which borders the Chippewa National Forest and the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest

Leech Lake Reservation

Leech Lake and other water bodies and tributaries

Pine River

Crow Wing
Aitkin Mille Lacs Reservation Mississippi River second crossing

Sandy River

Willow River

a portion of Mille Lacs Reservation

Carlton Fond du Lac State Forest

Willard Munger State Trail

Jay Cooke State Park

Kettle River

Heikkila Creek

west branch of the Kettle River

West Fork Moose Horn River

King Creek

Park Lake Creek

St Louis County 

Douglas County in Wisconsin

Fond du Lac Reservation  St Louis River 

Tumbling Into Blue

 

The Earth weeps in silent tears

And torrents coursing through,

Flowing into pools and streams

Tumbling into blue

 

Through mountains mined and drawn,

Through verdant forests tread,

Pools, lakes and eddies fouled

Spring from the watershed.

 

As Earth weeps, rivers flow

Through wetlands, hills and cranny,

Through rock and clay, soot and sand

Cascading to the sea.

 

Distilled within, unspoken,

Mankind’s final, deadly game

To reach the summit’s Holy Grail,

Lucre, by any name;

 

Deaf to nature’s songs and moods,

Heedless to beauty’s lore,

Intemperance in its surly grasp,

Callous to the core,

 

And so, in tides, Earth’s tears abide

On beaches born and bled

From rivers running ever

Rising from the watershed,

 

In dreams drawn and silenced

From torrents coursing through,

Flowing into pools and streams

Tumbling into blue.

 

2014/2019

 

Oil train crossing a midwest prairie
Oil train crossing a midwest prairie

Anita Suzanne Tillemans, October 2014

 

Our Heritage

our heritage poem

Ginny was always taking pictures of old trees on her travels and this is one of the interests we shared, along with the parks and forests of this land.  I put a book together of her photos and this a black and white picture of one of those montages from our book.

For the most part, she preferred anonymity and so that book was never published.  She lived into her 98th year.

Questions Concerning Mining and Pipelines in Minnesota’s Deep North

Questions Concerning Mining and Pipelines in Minnesota’s Deep North 

  • How much water will be drawn from Lake Colby to meet Polymets needs and to control levels of the St Louis River?
  • SDEIS admits candidly presumptions were made to inform the model and therefore, as a consequence, outcomes cannot be truly assessed adequately … ongoing assessments and studies will be needed even after the permit has been granted and since models are only as good as the data provided, what of the unknowns?
  • What of the decision made to halt discharge of waste rock into Lake Superior by Reserve Mining in the 1970’s?  What of the drainage ponds that continue to leak to this day?
  • How many wolves remain in the St Louis River watershed?  How do we know that these will not run the threat of extinction by mining in the area, noise and pollution affect den habits … and since the area is a stronghold for this species, why haven’t their numbers been determined for this study ?  Wolves mate in late February and den in late April when sites are located for raising the young.  What affect will the noise and pollution of precious waters and streams, traffic do to change these habits and lower populations?
  • Wild rice has been harvested for thousands of years in this watershed.  Have studies been made to determine the extent of damage of releasing untreated contact water into the St Louis River, tributaries, lakes, wetlands and aquifers … including draw down of the water table not only at the sites but beyond the mining and processing sites?
  • Does the study model consider transportation corridors beyond the 7 mile link between mine and processing centers? or the related pipelines?  Rail, road and air traffic will increase with mines in the area, most assuredly.  Have the levels of noise been considered along with dust, light pollution and smells associated with diesel, gas, electric machinery, rigs 24/7?
  • Will the ore be smelted on site? and what of that air, noise, smell and water pollution from this factor?
  • Loss of wilderness in Lake, Cook and St Louis counties alone will be felt almost immediately through sights, sounds and smells of mining operations, 24/7, air pollution from these smells and dust….  Solitude and peace will be gone and the wilderness.  Can we afford the cost for a relatively few short-lived jobs?
  • In the long term, though, these losses will be dwarfed by loss on a greater scale than the SDEIS can model, contamination of the big stoney or the mother of waters.  No study has ever been made to determine just how much water sheds from Arrowhead aquifers.  Who will ultimately pay for the mistake of building mines and pipelines through the heart of Minnesota’s deep north?
  • Ultimately, Polymet’s mine will be a shadow of operations in the area once the precedent is set and floodgates are open.  In addition, with pipeline #3 burrowing it’s way into the aquifer, crossing the Mississippi headwaters and wetlands that support an abundance of life dependent on these waters, on its way to Duluth from Canada, who will profit?  It won’t be the residents.
  • If the NFS and BLM have no intention of allowing mining in the area of the BWCAW and the Rainy River Watershed, then why have exploratory permits and almost 2000 drilling holes been allowed into this area?
  • What will be the final amounts discharged from leaky pipelines, mines and processing sites once the resources are spent and jobs are gone?  What will be left?
  • What will be left of the wetlands, forests, streams and waterfalls … the flora and fauna … the wilderness?
  • Shouldn’t our relationship to the resources that support our lives be based on stewardship?  What profit is there in destroying our base?
  • What of the migratory foul, the wolves, the Canada Lynx … the St Louis River estuary?
  • Are the chemicals used in water treatment safe? have they been tested? have all metals, contaminants, filters from mining and pipelines proved anything less than toxic to life? 
  • How many of the wilderness activities will be altered permanently in the area through the processes of tar sands oil delivery and mining?
  • Will discharges into the St Louis River from the wetlands surrounding a tar sands oil pipeline and copper mining bring algae blooms, depleting water of oxygen and threatening already threatened aquatic plants and animals and create a dead zone at the mouth of the St Louis?  Have contaminants been estimated, modeled for the mouth of this great estuary?
  • Has possible contamination from brackish systems underground been considered as these structures are built?
  • Has climate change been factored into the model?
  • How many seasons of water data have been integrated into the models used to approve these dirty systems?
  • Drought is first noticed in the highlands.  Have the effects of a draw down been considered in our models? loss of pressure in the artesian wells?  Do we know how much water there is to take for mining?  Isn’t any water too much?  How far will the spillage of one Enbridge pipeline spread through these wetlands of Northern Minnesota?
  • The wellness of a society depends upon respect for the environment?  What respect does any foreign corporation have for the welfare of our waters in Minnesota?
  • Is any water filtration system adequate to protect these waters more than 500 years into the future … what kind of management can be expected during and after closure to manage sulfate concentrations in the effluent of a copper mine?
  • How can a tailings pond hold up indefinitely under the harsh conditions of Northern Minnesota and what of global warming and ever serious climate events?
  • What measures will be taken or are possible to reduce “fugitive” dust from construction and operations on site and on the road?
  • How big would the final basins and pits be once copper mining has been established?
  • How much can be done once pipeline #3 spills undetected or uncontrolled or mismanaged?  What kind of clean up is even possible with tar sands oil?
  • What of the pollutants from the hydrometallurgical process, smelting operations?
  • What is PGE precipitate, compositions?
  • Have possible failures been modeled? to pipeline, tailings basins, waste rock piles and pits?
  • What do we have in the words: proposed, possibility, potentials, predictions, probability …. but words.  Why have two of our governors approved of the Northmet Project and Pipeline #3?  What were they thinking and what was behind their decisions?
  • What are the 28 solutes?
  • What is a P90 level exactly?
  • What engineering controls will be used in the rivers and wetlands for the NorthMet project? and what controls for construction and operation of Enbridge’s pipeline #3?  What controls are possible in such a priceless environment?
  • How much untreated water will actually be released from the proposed Polymet mine, how much seepage from pits and tailings basins actually?  Will we never know until it is too late to do anything about it?  One reason these structures should never be built.
  • How was affected wetland acreage determined, what data concerning aquifers and underground water  flowage referenced?  were long term studies made on the effects of drought conditions and possible draw down potentials considered?
  • Has consideration been made for the open nature of the St Louis River watershed’s wetlands, the Mississippi headwaters, streams and marshes associated, and the connectivity of all these bodies to the immediate areas affected throughout Northern Minnesota in the case of the Northmet Project and Enbridge’s tar sands oil pipeline#3?

Our health and well being depends on wetlands and wildernesses, apex predators and all manner of life.  We cannot survive without clean water or the flora and fauna, all living things that depend on water as we do.  What will be our legacy to the 7th generation?

For love of wilderness.

Wild Turkey

 

wild turkey
Wild Turkey

Thanksgiving is upon us and, what has become one of the most celebrated holidays in America, will be spent alone in many homes.  For over a quarter of a million have died in this country from a pandemic that could have been mitigated with the right leadership, and so many left without the resources to see them through the year.  A time of thanks giving has become a time of grief for the great many.

The Senate, under the auspices of Mitch McConnell, has left the relief package presented to him from the people’s House of Representatives in a graveyard of legislation he has personally tabled and prevented from becoming law.  No one person should have this kind of power in a democracy; and the shame of his leadership will haunt the rest of us for years to come.  

While Senator McConnell is on vacation for the holidays, it will not be much of a holiday for the masses in this country who trusted in our congressional leadership to do the right thing.  The senator has, after all, been employed by the electorate and should be working for the electorate.  Is this what Mitch McConnell does when he holds up vital legislation single-handedly, legislation that was created to help the majority of taxpayers in these trying times?  He facilitated the passing of the cares act in March of this year with tax cuts for the richest and less for the poorest, with support from the rest of congress based on a promise that another more comprehensive bill could be guaranteed later in the year.  Remember your promise, Mitch?  Do you think that your promise was forgotten?   

So what went wrong and why are there so many willing to vote for a man who profits from his office and leaves the great majority who elected him to suffer?  Words, as Senator Mitch McConnell proves, are only words.  It is the action behind them that reveals much more.

McConnell Releases Revised COVID-19 Bill …March 22, 2020

https://www.steptoe.com/en/news-publications/mcconnell-releases-revised-covid-19-bill.html

Cares Act bill 3548

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3548/text

McConnell calls for five-year lawsuit shield for businesses as part of next coronavirus bill

https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/07/06/congress-departed-two-week-recess-without-addressing-coronavirus-spikes-economic-strains/

Mitch McConnell pledges to scrap $600 boost in unemployment benefits

https://www.businessinsider.com/mitch-mcconnell-pledges-scrap-600-boost-coronavirus-unemployment-benefits-2020-5

Second stimulus check updates: GOP, ….

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/04/mitch-mcconnell-coronavirus-states.html

Introduction of Senate version under Mitch McConnell on March 19, 2020 outlining some of that bill’s shortcomings (Senate Republicans Reveal New Coronavirus  Relief Package)

https://www.npr.org/2020/03/19/818253789/congress-awaits-gop-relief-plan-as-first-lawmakers-test-positive-for-coronavirus

Electromagnetic War Games over the Olympic National Forest

In the Olympic National Forest, a rainforest in Washington state … old growth trees have been lumbered for years; and, now, this treasure is the site of electromagnetic war games disturbing the peace and the welfare that these natural wonders provide.  When will we learn not to destroy our base?

last stands of old growth trees on the Olympic Peninsula
Lumber Truck in the Olympic National Forest

For more information see:

Electromagnetic war games over the Olympic Peninsula

http://www.globalresearch.ca/navy-plans-electromagnetic-war-games-over-national-park-and-forest-in-washington-state/5413932

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28009-documents-show-navy-s-electromagnetic-warfare-training-would-harm-humans-and-wildlife

 

 

Stonehenge Origins

Stonehenge: The Clearing

In regard to Stonehenge, it is important for a bigger picture to  consider the effect of farming cultures moving in to the British Isles, the sacrifices found at Stonehenge (one of an archer) the charred remains of people and animals, the correlation of these sites with burial grounds and the placement of these stone monoliths as a way of depicting seasons, when Stonehenge in its final stage coexisted with older wood henges.

Were these stone monuments, in lieu of the wooden structures, simply an advancement in construction; and/or rather, construction as statement, a statement of progress and a progression from indigenous, hunter-gatherer culture into the agribusiness and a more stratified culture, a culture where more and more depended upon the commerce of a few.

All cultures have been fascinated by the heavens, by the sun, stars and moon … and would, therefore, favor the foretelling of seasons; this is nothing new, but it is not much of a leap, either, to understand how farming became a way for those few, who had the foresight and the will, to gather more land for the production of food and therefore more wealth.  Stonehenge, it seems, would be a perfect way to gather and dispel information that all wanted and needed, and change the perspective of many in their gatherings at the site.

We are familiar, as well, how the beliefs of indigenous cultures can be used to inculcate a system that supports the agendas of powerful people … time and time again. The hunter-gatherers were more or less nomads, moving with the wild and benefiting from the forests. Some would train wolves to guard and herd a few domesticated animals; but, on the whole, this did not take on the scale of farming methods brought in by the Europeans. It might have been a benefit, therefore, to use pagan rituals to create a system that would support the farming culture, and thus Stonehenge in its final stage, created not only to predict the changing seasons but to promote the change to farming in society through ritual and sacrifice.

Farming brought increased populations to the area because of the greater abundance of food, which then produced and required more tilled soil and less forest. So many studies make no distinction between the indigenous populations that created earlier versions of the henge in wood to the final Stonehenge created from stone. It is also interesting that attribution is not only made to the pagans, who had thrived off forests for thousands of years, but also to the “druids”,with little evidence of their existence before 200 BC; when, in fact, construction of the “stone” henge built by 2500BC, the one we see today, was a practice brought by those European farmers who immigrated to the isles during that time. It seems most likely that it was under this particular influence that the stone monuments and burial mounds were built.

By 2500 BC, metals were brought to England and by 2000 BC most of the forests that covered the British Isles were a memory.  So much of what man calls progress ends up destroying parts of the natural world and I wonder, is it possible to change and broaden our perspective?

This painting is my vision of Stonehenge as a monument to the new culture of farming with the ghosts of a forest in the background as the land is cleared.

Some Prophetic Words from Leonardo daVinci

Da Vinci designed and created the specs for which vital materials were unavailable at the time.  He had the vision to see what was possible, understood the physics and the potential repercussions of development.  In a better world, what would be possible if those in charge had such breadth of mind and depth of heart?

On Metals – “There will issue from dark, gloomy caves something which will bring great sorrow, danger, and death on the whole human race; to many of those who seek it, it will after much suffering bring delight; but those who do not share in it will die in want and in distress.  It will engender unending treason; it will drive unhappy men to commit more murders, thefts, and acts of oppression; it will breed suspicion among those who seek it; it will destroy the freedom of free cities; it will take the lives of many; it will sow among men much fraud, deceit, and treason. 

O monstrous creature, it would be better for men if you returned to hell!  On account of you great forests are robbed of their trees and countless animals are robbed of their lives.”

On Man’s cruelty – “There will be seen on the earth animals which constantly fight among themselves, inflicting great harm and frequently death on each other.  Their enmity will know no bounds; their savage members will fell a great part of the trees in the vast forests of the world; and after they gorge themselves, they will continue to feed on their desire to inflict death and suffering and sorrow and fear and flight on all living creatures.  Through their measureless pride they will seek to raise themselves to heaven, but the excessive weight of their members will hold them fast to the earth.  Nothing will remain on the earth or under the earth and water that is not pursued, chased down, or destroyed; and it will be chased from country to country.  Their bodies will be the grave and passageway of all the living bodies which they have killed.

O world, why do you not open and hurl into the deep clefts of your abysses and caverns and no longer show to heaven such cruel and heartless monsters?”

Both quotes by Leonardo da Vinci are from Codex Atlanticus, codex in the Ambrosiana Library in Milan.  Published in eight folio volumes by Ulrico Hoepli, Milan for the Reale Accademia dei Lincei 1894-1904 and translated by Wade Baskins in his book, The Wisdom of Leonardo, pages 77-79.

Post originally published January 15, 2019

No Place for a Tars Sands Pipeline

It is unimaginable that we are still facing the prospect of an oil pipeline being constructed again through northern Minnesota where some of the most ecologically susceptible wetlands can be found, including transecting the Mississippi, endangering tribal lands and wild rice resources, and where three of the largest river systems in the north American continent can be found.  If we do not defend these systems here, then, where?

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/11/12/state-regulators-approve-line-3-permits-move-pipeline-closer-to-construction

https://www.ecowatch.com/enbridge-pipeline-minnesota-indigenous-climate-2648891014.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1

posts about the proposed pipeline on Arterutan:

Comment on Enbridge Pipeline #3

On pending Polymet copper mine and Enbridge oil pipeline #3 …

 

Have we lived true to the Lazarus vision?

new_colossus_lazarus

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch. Whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning and her name

Mother of exiles.  From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips.  “Give me your tired. Your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

copyright 1883 Emma Lazarus

Necessity, the Mother of Invention

young girl during the dust bowl era
young girl in her teens during the Great Depression and dust bowl in Colorado

In the Great Depression, it became essential that programs were created to allow for the common welfare, to restore what had broken under the weight of greed and bad management.  In any society, in a democracy, regulation becomes a structure for reigning in the excesses of those who would take from those who are less powerful.  Understanding nature and human frailty, President Roosevelt with able advice from certain women in his circle, Perkins, Eleanor and those of insight and good heart, was emboldened to take on the powerful elite including the banks, who would bully their way into more of the same bad decisions, in order to maintain their hold on the purse and power.  FDR was not perfect.  No one person can make all the right decisions … but he made some striking and positive changes that have served this nation well for the most part.

Under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the USA was lifted from the depths of a depression, the effects of the dust bowl era, and World War II ….  With foresight and a willingness to seek advice where it was needed, he understood that we all benefit when those who have little are given opportunity to thrive.  Under his guidance, the disenfranchised were given jobs, assistance to be able to eat and find shelter, to lift themselves out of desperate situations; and because of this he brought what could have been escalation into despair and chaos, hope and revival of this historic democracy.

Under FDR’s leadership:

the Social Security Act was signed into law, and became a federal safety net for elderly, unemployed and disadvantaged Americans.

the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) addressed the urgent needs of the poor by spending 500 million dollars on soup kitchens, blankets, employment programs, and nursery schools.  It was involved with projects that employed writers, artists, actors and musicians, focusing on giving food to the poor, educating workers, and provided 500,000 jobs for women.

the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established on March 9, 1933 in the heart of the Great Depression employing 250,000 men by June of that year to work for six months on conservation projects planting trees, preventing soil erosion, and combating forest fires.  At the end of the project, the Civilian Conservation Corps had employed 2.5 million men.  Much of their quality work can be seen in the national parks and elsewhere.

the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) helped stabilize prices with quotas, modernizing and innovating farming practices, and in some cases under extreme conditions aided farmers financially.

the National Industry Recovery Act (NIRA) promoted industrial recovery and established the Public Works Administration (PWA) and National Recovery Administration (NRA).  These organizations built infrastructure for the states, which created jobs, improved working conditions, and outlawed child labor.  Under these programs wages increased; and this allowed the workers to spend more and supported systems of economic revival for the masses, which increased the welfare of all; undoubtedly, strengthening the entire economy.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was established to build dams on the Tennessee River to prevent flooding and deforestation, provide hydroelectric power, stimulate farming, compete with private companies to provide safer, low cost electricity to communities.  The aim was also to teach better farming methods, replant trees, sell surplus electricity, create jobs, conserve water power, and finally to provide economic development.

This is just a short list of the policies that one President implemented in a time of crisis in this country.  We had a leader in FDR who cared about the welfare of the American people, all the people.  He was a President of the people, and did not inspire cult admiration, or power for himself.  He chose to empower the whole of this country, to unite us, not divide us.  He was an inspiration and, although, he was not without fault, being human, he did his best.

With the advent of the internet, like the grapevine on steroids, it becomes imperative that we come to an understanding that democracy is not free.  It requires our vigilance and our loyalty to the truth.  Words will come and go.  They are, after all, just words; but without truth behind them, they can be weaponized to damage any society, just as gossip can destroy a person.

Many of the programs that we have relied on over the years to keep those less fortunate fed and sheltered, are under attack.  With greed and profiteering at the gates of our democracy, where money has become a vote for more of the same, with stock reports, a bell weather for the rich only, being treated as if they foretell the health of a entire economy fraudulently, it is time to keep our eyes wide open.

Years of identity politics that encouraged devotion to charismatic individuals, blindness to truth or a narrowing perspective, and a social media that profits by creating these kinds of bubbles, we find ourselves in a similar situation to the Great Depression where greed and poor regulation broke the economy.  Now with minority gerrymandering and a Senate under the control of one man, a minority representative, our institutions have become unable to pass any meaningful legislation for the welfare of the majority of its citizens.

No matter the political, religious, or philosophical view, we all benefit by diversity and a broader perspective.  We could benefit by regulating forms of communication to balance minority views that are now dominating the landscape ecology with a diversity of perspectives, creating balanced reporting over our public airwaves, invoking campaign finance reform that takes the power out of powerful corporate interests and delegates it to the people.  Our political campaigns should not cost billions of dollars.  Our political officials should not have to campaign for more and more money during their terms of office in order to retain those offices, leaving little time to do the jobs that their constituents put them in office to do.  Our positions of power should not be places of profit.

One of the frightening aspects of corporate greed and minority rule is its insatiable thirst to take from the social security trust and give it to Wall Street.  Over the past several years, it has become clear to me that there is a great deal of misunderstanding concerning social security … a savings account made possible through regular paycheck contributions, contributions that must continue to keep it solvent.  Therefore, it is not part of the national budget, but a trust account. If one didn’t pay into the account, one would not receive social security; and one receives only what has been earned. In that regard, it is an entitlement … a trust between the government and its citizens that their savings would be there when they retired.

Social Security was never intended to be an investment program, privatized for the profit of Wall Street executives and investors who have the money to gamble. Money has been taken from the pay checks of so-called “baby boomers” at twice the previous rate of the generation before, to build a surplus that will fund retirees into the future, and with modest changes could continue to support our children and grandchildren when they retire.  In a broader perspective it could be the foundation for Universal Basic Income and make it a boon to all. Worrying the younger generation needlessly with misconceptions about the solvency of this program, and pitting one generation against another plays only into the hands of Wall Street and does not secure a future for the younger generation.

Privatizing social security would put secure funds at risk subject to the whims and manipulations of the market, leaving the working generation responsible for paying taxes to support what the baby boomers had already paid for, in addition to funding their own market accounts and paying transition costs of switching to privatized accounts (estimated at trillions over the first twenty years).  A bad trade at best, privatized accounts in lieu of Social Security Benefits would make us all less secure.

We have much work to do under a President Biden and Kamala Harris.  With good leadership focused on the welfare of us all, great things are possible.

Turning Anger Into Positive Change …

Over the years, I have kept a file of poems, inspiring to me.

In memory of all those who have died in this year of a global pandemic where almost 240,000 (reported) have lost their lives to the disease in the United States alone … I wanted to quote from one of these.

Sent in to Jory Graham’s column by a reader (her name was not given) St Paul Dispatch published 5-15-1982:

I want someone angry when I die

To beat their fist at an empty sky,

To slap at the grabbing Godly wrist

And dare to shout, “Not this! Not this!”

To draw a hard and bitter line,

Stand firm against the Will Divine

And silence all talk of sovereignty

(That sure lament for you and me).

When you’ve turned well-past the funeral page,

That’s true, but first, let there be rage!

And not because I’m young or choice

Or in great affairs have the telling voice

Or am wealthy in the worldly view

Or have talent or worthy work to do.

No, for this alone be sick and sore,

That I loved you so and I am no more.

Lord let me leave or die with a sigh.

I want someone angry when I die.

anonymous

 

May all who have died in these disparate times not have died in vain … Let us be angry enough to make the changes we need for the survival of this lovely planet and the elevation of all to a more developed and inclusive society.

Autumn Maple

I pray that President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will be supported in their efforts to make positive changes that will promote the well being and health of this global community.  That they will be encouraged to move in a direction that is economically and ecologically sustainable for the sake of this planet and the life that relies so heavily on the good judgment and ethics of our leaders … and for the sake of our democracy.

Wilderness Tourism versus Mining in the Arrowhead

Bear Head Lake, MN
Bear Head Lake, MN

One of the most beautiful wild areas in the world, with some of the last remaining original wolves … the source of three of the greatest river systems in North America.  This is a portion of the treasure that Minnesota holds in its boundaries.

What will remain if we choose mining over this?

 

For Love is Lord of All …

white_pine_thoreau

Life is fatal. It is not a question that we all die … but how we live.

To live is to love with a sense of community … since no one lives without the kindness and good will of others on some level. Happiness and survival, then, are linked by love; and health, gained by living in a mutual effort to make our lives as rich and meaningful as is possible in this very short time on Earth … leaving a better place for our children.

When we see others suffering, as a consequence, it is our family that we see suffering, since we are all part of this fabric of life, and our understanding, deep-rooted and wordless.  Clean food, water and air are basic. To destroy these things for the profit of a few is not healthy and it is, in fact, a sign of dysfunction.

What will we do about the assault on the health of this planet? Are we working to install the systems necessary for peaceful coexistence?  Are we, as President George Washington so wisely suggested “vindicating our rights with firmness and cultivating peace with sincerity”?  Are we building the resources for education of our children, all children, so that our species will evolve to a higher plain and wisdom of the past will not be lost?  Or, are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes?

Time will tell.  For the sake of this beautiful planet, may we act with love in our hearts.

Anita

Water

glacial waters
glacier lake in Alberta

In reverie, I remember

Water in golden light,

Lit like stars at midday

And moon in deepest night

 

Dark green with streaks of blue

Silken streaming strands,

Waves crashing into foam

On shores of ancient sands

rushing water

Salty turquoise seas

Deep in days begun

Reflecting heaven’s hues

Mirroring the sun

 

And when the skies cloud gray

Bringing summer rains,

With water on the rooftops

Snaking down the window panes

 

Steeped in pools and gardens,

On cars and in the streets,

Glazing steel and sidewalks,

Rippling shadows on the sheets

 

In reverie, I remember

Water running wild, white,

In silken threads streaming,

Strands of golden light.

 

 

©1979//2020

 

 

 

 

Sands

Sands so soft and salty air

Breezes to cool the brazen days

So slow, so sure, to see, to dare

My thoughts gently turn away

 

To play upon the summer shore

In waves breaking into white

And turn to days that are no more

Than whispers on a moonlit night;

 

And when the gulls on winds arise,

To soar above the land and sea,

My heart grows wings again to fly

In song of ancient reverie.

 

To turn again from all despair

As we in younger days divined

Life’s promise winged in sheer delight,

To dance upon the sands sublime.

©1969/2019

Chequamegon Bay Sunrise

It was beautiful one Sunday in September a few years back, even as wintry breath chilled the morning air, and brisk breezes stirred what was a mostly sunny day. Hours before the library doors were open, as I waited in the warmth of the sun, I was reminded of the sands at Big Bay on Madelaine Island, water lapping on the shore and the chill off Lake Superior. Lying on a bench in an empty ball field, I felt transported to the shores of Chequamegon Bay and Lake Superior once again, when the children were young and time seemed suspended.

There were days we would hike looking for blueberries in the woods, and raspberries along the abandoned railroad tracks before it was converted to a hiking trail. There were swims in the water so cold your lips would turn blue. The pink glow of morning light over the bay, the memory of a kite flown so high we thought it was lost in the clouds, the brown bat in our cabin, the cold swim in water so clear you could drink it, huge moths like small birds in the night … all of these memories flooded over me in detail as if they had occurred only a moment before.

The moonrises and the sunrises, the thunderstorms approaching from across Superior were experiences so deeply impressed. Visions of the natural world, the colors, life so real, so profound, the silences to think, to recall, to meditate, to breathe….

Too soon the city calls, though, the sounds of traffic, engines grinding their way to one event or another, one task or another beckons; and soon all but the sounds of silence can be heard. We survive, we make a living and all too soon forget to live. It gave me peace, if only for a moment, to recall what life can be. As a friend once asked: “If not for joy, then what?”

Chequamegon Sunrise

no place for mining …

Loon on a lake in the Arrowhead of Minnesota

We could speak of the beauty, the wild, the spirit of something greater than ourselves, the sustenance we all gain from the masterpieces of creation. Such is the Arrowhead of Minnesota.

What profit is there if not life itself? It is undeniable that people in the area need jobs … although, who of these long term residents came with the intent to mine this jewel? If given the opportunity to work in a sustainable activity, who would not choose to do so? What kind of opportunities could be created with a mindset that encourages positive long term results over short term gains and financial profiteering? Don’t we owe it to ourselves and life itself to make the effort?

Anita Suzanne Tillemans

 

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Links to documents on landscape ecology ….

SDEIS_comment_pdf

faq-sulfide-mining-minnesota-truth-report_pdf

GMIN-TR-1989-16_copper_pdf

MPCA Rainy River Headwaters Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Report 2017

articles_copper_mining_docx

copper_mining_docx

M-159 Babbitt_copper_pdf

A Less Than Perfect Union

A Case for Justice

The Nature of Intelligence and the Process of Peace_pdf

Man as Nature

Enbridge Line 3 Report and effected waterways and bodies

Air Quality Permit Comment

State of the BWCA 2018 Friends of The Boundary Waters

USDA report School Trust Land Exchange Superior National Forest 2015

MDNR report on Mn State School Trust Land Exchange Case #4558

water_neMN

Water Facts and Human Society

imperiled_waters_xls

Will a copper mine in Babbitt reach the dimensions of the Hull Rust Mine?

If lawsuits fail to stop copper mining in the Arrowhead of Minnesota, the dimensions of copper-sulfide mining could reach the proportions of the Hull Rust Mine in Hibbing, Minnesota. 

Babbitt, where the proposed NorthMet copper mine would be located, is the doorway to the BWCA at Birch Lake and located in the Laurentian Uplands,  a recharge area for three of the greatest river systems in North America.  Can we, can the world, afford to ignore the impact of our failure to protect precious water resources in such an area?  Water, the most precious of resources.

A few articles on what is happening now as the process moves on appeal:

PolyMet water permit heads back to Court of Appeals

DFL committee adopts resolution calling for moratorium on copper-nickel mining, again exposing rift within party

PolyMet permit: Secrecy, manipulation and a low bar for Minnesota agencies

 

Why was anything forbidden in Eden if God had created a perfect world?

Man as Nature and Acceptance as a Path

Red Roses in Autumn

Man has evolved into a creature that deems, or dreams, himself outside the constructs of the natural world. He defines himself as a creator, in essence, somehow superior to all other creatures and capable of defining his world in any terms he chooses. The problem lies in man’s failure to understand and accept that he is inextricably linked to nature and he too, like all things, is subject to its laws. Like the elements, all life and man, Nature is a process and God lies in the wisdom of this process. Man has yet to fully accept the process.

All creatures survive by procreation and predation. In life’s quest for itself, we are often pawns of biological rhythms and instincts; and so, mankind envisions himself capable of rising above this all too ‘sordid’ affair. In this effort, he fails to acknowledge and accept essential qualities of life and, as a consequence, loses sight of vital solutions.

Chance and change, movement, the nature of life. There is no life without death or night without day. We rush foolishly to our own destruction when we deny the very truths of existence. In fear of our own mortality and searching for eternity, man has wandered from the natural world and lost himself.

I am. In these two words, a world, a universe. Acceptance is everything, and life is born of this first step. Judgments tend to separate us, categorize and catalog us, negate qualities in some and elevate those in others, in the end doing us all injustice. In our unreasonable search for perfection, we often fail to see the beauty before our eyes, in our fellow man and miss countless opportunities.

Nature seeks balance and evolves perpetually based on outcomes. Watch an otter whose catch has been taken by a coyote. He complains and fights, as long as there is a chance he might prevail. In the end, he accepts the outcome and begins another hunt, no wailing that life is unfair or questioning his very existence. He is simply accepting the facts and the flow of life. Man is the only creature that perpetually refuses to accept natural outcomes, including himself. He builds dams in an effort to control the river and succeeds in destroying its essence.

Mankind’s egoism and lack of understanding perpetuate greed and destruction, like an allergic reaction attacking the body as if it were the enemy instead of a wellspring. He searches for the ideal beyond existence while the real prize unfolds before him every day, every moment. In this quest driven by fear, he misses the only perfection that life holds. Is he afraid that in a moment of clarity he may discover his true self, that he, after all, is no better or worse than any other animal, a wave on the shore, or the moon in its perpetual cycle?

A friend once asked, rhetorically: “Why was anything forbidden in Eden if God had created a perfect world?’ A world in utter completeness and balance, the “perfect” world does not exist. As soon as any balance has been achieved, life requires its undoing and in the end, we are unable to appreciate, in essence, the rose. We remain fixed on an idea of beauty as if it were a finite definable everlasting thing. Melancholy sits beside us while we contemplate how fleeting beauty and impossible the dream. In our sorrow and our unwillingness to accept Nature, we miss the symphony.

Man falls into a trap on this path. He cannot accept failure in his search for Eden, and cannot accept that this search is based on a false premise. Seeking balance is a natural phenomenon but it becomes a problem when the search focuses on perfection as a static, narrowly defined commodity. Man cannot own the dream and so he becomes contemptuous of himself for this perceived failure. Where he might instill love and promote cooperation, acceptance, he fosters doubt, hate and fear, continuing a cycle of violence with dismal futures for the planet. Mankind spirals down a path of destruction and self-hate, missing true potentials in his brothers and sisters since he is loath to see these same potentials in himself.

How do we define success in life? Is it based on some narrow precept, or has it been fitted with tolerance and love, with the knowledge that not all is perfect, least of all Mankind? Does it come with acceptance that the dance is a product of imbalance and imperfection, an understanding that at any moment, to be aware, to be alive is success itself? In our search for something outside of reality, we miss all that truly matters!

In our determination to make distinctions, we judge ourselves superior to the natural world and surmise that “improvements” to all things can be made through man’s inventions. We can never create anything outside of nature; and since no positive change is possible without truth, self-awareness is crucial. The belief that our species trumps all others and rises above the forces of nature, that we can circumvent these forces defies all logic. Simply observe. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Within this framework, life is movement from one state of being to another; and man’s machinations are subject to no less. If we fail to respect our true selves, the natural instincts that created man and the imperfections implicit in all life, the world created from our ignorance will not be fit for life.

Man alters natural codes that took millennia to evolve. He splits atoms and leaves the waste to pollute the earth. He destroys mountaintops and calls the product “clean coal”, pollutes our seas with oil, our air and earth with its derivatives and calls it necessary. In a rush to glean the resources of this planet, he makes choices based on profit rather than sanity and sustainability. Man, in his renegade actions, refuses to practice common sense and beats a path of environmental ruin. He is a hurricane with the potential to change course through self-awareness and respect, perhaps; but, we may never know, without the recognition that we are all part and parcel of this natural world.

Our life’s safari involves a hunt for more than food and shelter. Like all living things, we reach for light and that light is in us all. All Nature moves beyond the mundane in this dimension. Birds sing at dawn. Squirrels collect articles that have no practical use – like items in a child’s pocket. All creatures appreciate beauty, and, like the otter, recognize truth. For what is truth but a natural outcome, and beauty the same? Our fate may very well be determined by our relationship to this process and our respect for truth.

In our quest to define a world in defiance of natural laws, mankind is racing down an incline blindfolded, without brakes and fully loaded. Venturing into abstraction, we stretch the bounds of reality by searching for meaning beyond existence and perverting a basic instinct for beauty into a dogged search for perfection and for immortality, without understanding or respect for the nature of all things. While we strive to realize our dreams, it would be wise to keep a watchful eye on the road, do proper maintenance, and obey the laws of physics, at least.

Inseparable from the natural world, man finds his dawn in beauty, but beauty is not a static ideal. It is the well from which all life drinks, ever-changing, dynamic, boundless and perfect in its imperfection, an essential quality of life. Acceptance, born of tolerance and truth, synchronizes with immutable forces that create and sustain life, in essence, the only Eden possible.

Anita Suzanne Tillemans

Originally published 2004

The Nature of Intelligence and the Process of Peace

I have long appreciated an interpretation of Lao Tzu’s Tao teh King by Archie J Bahm who was a professor of philosophy at the University of New Mexico in the 1950’s. He interpreted “tao teh king” as “nature and intelligence”, and so appreciated Lao Tzu the scholar, librarian, and a man who did not intend his writings as “religion”, but a handbook on living intelligently through observation of the natural order. In this essay, I have taken from Professor Bahm’s text, published by Frederick Ungar Publishing Company, New York; and cited where necessary integrating with my own philosophy – a philosophy that has in part developed in the light of Lao Tzu’s great book and Archie Bahm’s insightful words.

At the basis of all, it appears, that for peace to reign one must “accept what is as it is” and in doing so “teach by example” [p 12 II]. “All distinctions naturally appear as opposites” and “opposites get their meaning from each other (finding) their completion only through each other” [p 12, II]. It follows, then, that “in conflicts between opposites, the more one attacks his seeming opponent … the more he defeats himself (and thereby demonstrates that only Nature, and not any opposite abstracted from existence) is self-sufficient [p14 V].

Acting with acceptance, essentially, we move closer to this ideal of self-sufficiency, a state that is necessary for freedom and a condition for any long lasting peace. Essential to this process is a healthy respect for, and acceptance of oneself, first and foremost, outside of the opinions of others. As a consequence our hearts turn outward and can accept the differences and the natures of others, in turn, allowing a process of peace to occur through respect, fostering freedom for others to act according to their own true needs.

Once achieved, “acceptance makes no distinctions of superiority and inferiority [p13, III]” and then true devotion to tasks rather than rivalries will prevail; envy being unaroused, people will be satisfied with things as they are [paraphrased from p 13, III]; understanding that “Nature contains nothing but natures; and these natures are nothing over and above Nature” [p 14, IV] … each and every thing being an essential part of the whole.

While Nature treats opposites impartially, the “best way to conduct oneself may be observed in the behavior of water’. “Water is useful to every living thing, yet it does not demand pay in return for its services; it does not even require that it be recognized, esteemed, or appreciated for its benefits” [p 16, VIII]. And yet, there is no life without it.

“This illustrates how intelligent behaviors closely approximate the behavior of Nature itself” [p 16, VIII].
“If experience teaches that houses should be built close to the ground,
That friendship should be based upon sympathy and good will,
That good government employs peaceful means of regulation,
That business is more successful if it employs efficient methods,
That wise behavior adapts itself appropriately to the particular circumstances,
All of this is because these are the easiest ways.

If one proceeds naturally, without ambition or envy, everything works out for the best” [p16, VIII].
Entities based on money are not drawn toward the easiest means, but the most profitable. As an example, multi-national corporations ship materials to other countries for processing by poorly paid workers for markets at the source, wasting resources, energies so that a few can profit from the desperation of many. There is no efficiency or real intelligence in these means and these inefficiencies foresee their ends.  Troubled societies, as we are experiencing now, based on money, elevating paid services and profit confuse the means with the ends; and our end, according to the Tao, is to “realize the potentialities of (our) indescribable original nature(s)” [p17, X].

Nature “procreates all things and then devotes itself to caring for them … willingly gives life, without first asking whether creatures will repay for its services” and, so, it “provides a pattern to follow, without requiring anyone to follow it. This is the nature of intelligent activity” [p18, X]. Concerned with genuine needs we avoid being confused by the superficial and can distinguish one from the other.
In this troubled world, temptations based on what money can buy, on capital gains lead to extremes. The very thing Lao Tzu advised against. Envy, greed and aggressive behavior trump intelligent activity and our original natures are sacrificed to the cruel intentions of those who would force their wills on others – all to obtain more of what will never bring anyone true happiness, and therefore, peace. In the end, Nature will do as it always does, impartially allowing the inherent initiation and completion of all things, without prejudice … our actions spelling our fates.

This is why, now more than ever, we must concern ourselves with our own inner peace. It is, as the Tao explained, of primary importance. “The inner self is our true self” and “in order to realize our true self, we must be willing to live without being dependent upon the opinions of others” [p20, XIII]. As a consequence of this “self-sufficiency” we will then act accordingly and feel no need to force
others to our own will.

Assertions, envy, and actions out of sync with ourselves, in essence, upset the balance and provide endless opportunity for strife. We are all better served when individuals are given the opportunity to develop fully, truly. War is a sign that this is not happening.

Opposition, being inherent in Nature, as are the principles of initiation and completion, is eternal. As we start acting naturally, by being ourselves, this will be accepted and extreme measures avoided.
The nature of intelligence then, like water, finds the path of least resistance and avoids conflict. Inner peace augments the natural order. Accepting that there is a beginning and end to all things, that opposition is perpetual, a defining element and source of growth, we will take the middle ground in our disagreements.

Over two thousand years ago, Lao Tzu understood that the source of peace lies within. Wise individuals who had found this peace have spoken. Yet we continue to make distinctions, passing judgment and acting out of these misconceptions. When we understand as a society and act accordingly, allowing each thing to realize its true nature, more people are likely to find peace in their lives.

(Originally published on July 28, 2014)

Sampling of Archived Work February 2017-July 2020

What Will the Future Hold For the USPS?

mpls central usps
Minneapolis Post Office central on the Mississippi River

USPS leadership under Louis Dejoy has yet to be tested since he was just appointed; but his past of cutting vital jobs and making decisions that negatively affect the welfare of workers does not bode well.

By the look of it in Minneapolis, this process has already begun.  Delays in mail are apparent taking two to three times longer; and, I wonder, what will happen to vote by mail ballots?  Will our bill payments arrive in a timely manner?  Will the costs become prohibitive to consumers?  What will this new leadership mean to the welfare of all who depend on a not-for-profit mail delivery system?

I am concerned about the future of this venerable institution for many reasons.  The United Postal Service has been a business that operated under a model of serving public interests as it’s bottom line, and there are many more worthy things it could be empowered to do along these lines.  What will the future of the USPS hold under the leadership of Louis Dejoy, I wonder?

To be continued ….

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/14/postal-service-trump-dejoy-delay-mail/%3foutputType=amp

https://www.labornotes.org/blogs/2020/05/new-postmaster-genera-expert-job-killer world article on Dejoy

Racist, sexist, job-killing, union-busting robber baron appointed to head USPS

https://www.labornotes.org/blogs/2020/05/new-postmaster-general-expert-job-killer

Soul Search

In isolation the mind begins to wander the landscape.  In this case, the landscape of a global pandemic.  We are social creatures and by being so,  we need each other.  We experience joy from sharing the lives of others in a real world.  We prioritize many of our activities based on friends and family, based on the next outing or gathering with those we love.  When this is curtailed, as it has been now, many are at a loss, being deprived of these significant and not so significant “others” in our lives.  Because, there is no one that does not truly matter.  We are human.  What then do we prioritize when confronted with ourselves, alone?

We all need food, shelter, clothing and such.  It’s not too hard to define these essentials, but what of a more profound purpose?   Do we live to eat, sleep, inhabit a planet, day after work-a-day.  Life can lose its meaning in the drudgery of a daily grind when we are left alone to ponder too long without human comfort.  While many, out of work and in great need, have little opportunity to contemplate much beyond their basic needs, is it a luxury to expect something beyond our ken?

What is at the heart of our priorities, beyond the mundane?  To love and be loved? To survive at all costs?  What determines our potential and our purpose?

I have been a lifelong artist.  Drawing since I was a child, and writing as long, and always in a quandary about the way in which we treat each other … over the years, seeing people dealt preferentially as though they were somehow more, or less important based on the color of their skin, ethnicity, sex, age or circumstance. All of us, a small part of a larger picture.  What is it all about?  Survival of the fittest as Darwin proposed?  Who are we, any one of us, in the larger plan?

Are we being made aware in the outcries of people so long abused, an environment so sorely used, that something has gone wrong and that perhaps we don’t really know ourselves all too well.   In isolation, faced with our very souls, can we say that we have done our best with what we were given?

There is a joy to being part of a group in which you feel loved … but do we, in effect, delay our own development, and that of society, by refusing to stand up, for fear of reprisal? We go along to get along, as a rule, and punish those who don’t fit the mold in some form or another.  As a result there is a somewhat homogeneous society that is subservient to the rule of the powerful, making change sometimes impossible.  The pressure to “fit in” is enormous.

 What does one do after spending a lifetime betraying the one person, the only person we have any control over in this life?  What do we do to determine our true priorities and potentials in the midst of other people’s opinions and priorities?  Does it take isolation in a pandemic to focus our attention on the truth of our own existence; and what will we find?

We most often believe what we’re told as children.  Depending on our own circumstance, these beliefs can help us grow, while some may hold us back and, depending on our own natures, can also lead us on a life-long search for understanding.  Beliefs from childhood may not be rational and can lie deep in a subconscious of untested assumptions, affecting our lives in profound and sometimes very harmful ways.  We become powerless to change them unless we face them at the core.  A difficulty compounded by the fact that many of these beliefs are protected by fear based strategies.  What if I had tested these early on and confronted the fact that I was not responsible for anyone’s happiness but my own?  That caring for myself was the ground upon which all change is possible.  The beginning and the end.  From the bottom, all.

 In my search for happiness, I fell upon three goals that Einstein felt worthy above all.  These were truth, beauty and kindness.  I wondered why he didn’t mention love and, as I grew, came to understand that he had defined the essence of love in these three words.  Those who deal with others on a level of this magnitude, know true beauty.

In our daily lives, every day, we have these challenges.  Even the mundane things we do are choices and these choices involve an attitude that encompasses our lives.  What do we find worthy of our attention?What is essential and what is not?  How to decide?  Our yearnings are there for a reason.  When we’re hungry, lonely, angry, sad, happy or fearful, nervous, grateful, ashamed … these are all flags telling us what is needed, what not, what our bodies and souls require at any given moment.  To discount these signals is a mistake.  To address them, understand them, essential to our natures and, truly, the good of the whole planet.

There are those who sacrifice themselves to a cause and enjoy it; deny their own pain and their needs and march on.  How much more could we all do if we listened more.  Not only to the needs of others, but to our own needs as well and, by doing so, complete the circle.  In the end, we are always left alone with that one person that requires our acceptance more than any other, the only one who will shadow you all your life.  Have we done right by the life we were given.

If we fail ourselves, in the end, there’s a toll to pay and a reckoning … a life betrayed.  Was it one fulfilled or left in a quandary with regrets that haunt?  Did we embrace our friends or turn to welcome our foes who only pretended and played at being friends?  How can we presume to love anyone if not ourselves, first?

We have choices.  We make these choices based on many factors, but at the core of this are two.  One who observes and knows, another who assesses and draws conclusions based on what has been taught and experienced.  Both need to be reconciled and integrated into an environment lived, but not at the expense of the truth.  Who we are, truly, can never be sidetracked for expedience, the will of others, or pleasure of a transient nature without losing the only thing that really matters.

What is this “one thing” and why does this matter?  Words are difficult in describing something as monumental as a soul.  What does it weigh?  What does it look like – how does it “exist” and how can anything be no-thing and still be?

We see with our eyes and know in our hearts.  We read, write, and know through experience, action.  Seeing is believing; but not didactically.  We all understand in our own way.  Most things are more than their descriptions, more than their elements.  We know this without words.  And so, the truth of a living creature, more than the sum of it’s parts.  There are some that believe we are just that, no more than the sum of our parts.  But each layer that unfolds finds another layer equally profound.  The search goes on infinitesimally.

Is the soul a bio-mechanical substrate to a physical structure?  Explainable in neuron connections and chemical reactions?  Is the soul simply a name for this unknown?  Does it really matter whether we can break it down into words, descriptions that we can catalog into a book of known “fact”?  Is it enough that we feel the presence of something beyond our knowing?  Can we respect the truth that calls us into action?

I was born whole with desires and a personality that have changed little since that date.  There have been lessons and layers of etiquette and rules placed, desires swayed and constricted to comply and to get along, to grow in knowledge, to open and expand awareness, to narrow and focus.  We grow into an environment willingly and unwillingly.  We broker our lives so that we may live and enjoy the company of others, so that we may express ourselves – some truly and some not so.  Life is a battleground of lives lost, lives lived fully and not so fully; but without truth, a soul cannot be mended.

Why some would want to destroy for the sake of cash, the babble of a market hellbent on profit at all costs, can be understood by one universal fact.  Marketeers who disregard the laws of nature and those who deal in violence of all kinds have betrayed themselves and lost their souls.  Believing that love is a fool’s choice and a lie, they don’t love themselves and can’t love anyone else.  These are the ones that lost faith for lack of love, and betrayed their child’s heart.  They’ve misdirected their own yearning into a scheme to define themselves in monetary terms.  The more money, the better.  Beyond necessity, beyond all.  

Love or lack of, a powerful force in all our lives.  Do we love to fulfill procreative purposes, prolong the survival of a species?  Do we love to maintain social units in a greater plan?  We are.  We live.  We are inspired and move with the wind in a tide of humanity.  What does life hold for any if not finally to “be”, respecting ourselves, each and everyone  … building upon a foundation of acceptance and truth?  Our senses direct us at every fork in the road, if we pay attention.  To be deaf to that drumbeat, and disrespectful of the love in view creates a void.

To understand ourselves better is to respect the process of living in accordance with our true natures and life on this planet.  Our senses lead the way.  We know in our gut when our actions bode ill.  Our emotions tell us every moment if we are moving toward health and well-being as individuals and as a species.  To ignore our souls is to create dis-ease.

Most of us realize that we may not recognize a lie; but we all, without exception, know the truth, no matter the form.  At its core this strikes us universally, because we sense those things deeply that are life-affirming; and we retain memories of those times when our senses were awakened in moments of beauty.  Isolation in this world-wide pandemic makes it even clearer that the soul is this…the beauty we sense and the truth we acknowledge.  Acceptance is everything.  

Anita Suzanne Tillemans

June 29, 2020 / rev. December 25, 2020

The Dilemma of Sisyphus

On the way to a better world, have we become like Sisyphus returning again and again to the same task with no end in sight? How do we create a standard that rings true to all individuals and motivates on a universal plane to create a just society systemically? Is this possible? The actions we take today provide the grist for our future. What will we choose?  Can we evolve to address the global crises we face today or are we blowing in the wind subject to things beyond our ken?  Hope says we can, fear supports the cynic.

When emergencies strike, the weaknesses and strengths in society are exposed as things fall apart.  We build and those buildings are destroyed.  We’re born and we die.  The whole of life is based on a process of change, creation, evolution and destruction.  History repeats the same series of events with different names and dates.  We glorify war and heroes that die for lies fed by those in power, while the few reap rewards off the blood of many who are told, often, that they will get their reward in heaven.  We build societies on stories that goodness will prevail, when the opposite is what we see.  A not too solid foundation.

Words.  What of this life?  What of right and wrong?  What of truth, beauty and kindness?  Where do these figure in this plan?  Only after we die?  And if goodness doesn’t matter, then shouldn’t we expect failure on a monumental level as we are, in fact, seeing now?  Could it be that in the struggle for survival some important things were lost along the way?  Perhaps the soul of a child that longed for more than a worldly store?

Words will amount to nothing if we do not act creatively with the health of an entire ecosystem in mind.  We are part and parcel to the whole, and self realization commands positive growth, evolution based on immutable truth demands it.  We are the only revolution possible as such.

****

When we approach the world with open eyes, fearless, with an intent to know rather than judge, what do we see?  One very simple lesson: access to resources is essential to the health of a society and its survival; and therefore, the health of our environment, a necessity.  The logic of this equation should be self evident.  Even in abundance, wars are fought to expand territory for fear of shortages due to theft, drought … hard times.  Hunger, then, one of the starkest foes and greatest motivators in the destruction of our environment.  For those who have never known hunger, this should be a warning and a testament to the shortcomings of unregulated capitalism, motivated by profit at the expense of the common good.  In this global pandemic and climate destruction, the deficits of this approach have been left naked and wanting.

If a wolf crosses the territory of another pack, he will be challenged.  In most cases,  the stronger survive, though luck may sometimes intervene … not often.  This highlights two outlooks on human survival. One, where hope prevails and, another, where strategy holds sway.  Some look to the hope of better days and others know better, they plan.  

What, I wonder, is our plan?  Or will we, simply, cast our fate to the wind?  There are so many fronts to fight this, which may be, our final war.  What do we use to motivate our base if not the welfare of all?  Like a spring, the benefits will come.

The Nature of Intelligence and the Process of Peace

The Nature of Intelligence and the Process of Peace_pdf

Originally published July 28, 2014

I have long appreciated an interpretation of Lao Tzu’s Tao teh King by Archie J Bahm, who was a professor of philosophy at the University of New Mexico in the 1950’s. He interpreted “tao teh king” as “nature and intelligence”, and so appreciated Lao Tzu the scholar, librarian, and a man who did not intend his writings as “religion”, but a handbook on living intelligently through observation of the natural order. In this essay, I have taken from Professor Bahm’s text, published by Frederick Ungar Publishing Company, New York; and cited where necessary integrating with my own philosophy – a philosophy that has in part developed in the light of Lao Tzu’s great book and Archie Bahm’s insightful words.

At the basis of all, it appears, that for peace to reign one must “accept what is as it is” and in doing so “teach by example” [p 12 II]. “All distinctions naturally appear as opposites” and “opposites get their meaning from each other (finding) their completion only through each other” [p 12, II]. It follows, then, that “in conflicts between opposites, the more one attacks his seeming opponent … the more he defeats himself (and thereby demonstrates that only Nature, and not any opposite abstracted from existence) is self-sufficient [p14 V].

Acting with acceptance, essentially, we move closer to this ideal of self-sufficiency, a state that is necessary for freedom and a condition for any long lasting peace. Essential to this process is a healthy respect for, and acceptance of oneself, first and foremost, outside of the opinions of others. As a consequence our hearts turn outward and can accept the differences and the natures of others, in turn, allowing a process of peace to occur through respect, fostering freedom for others to act according to their own true needs.

Once achieved, “acceptance makes no distinctions of superiority and inferiority [p13, III]” and then true devotion to tasks rather than rivalries will prevail; envy being unaroused, people will be satisfied with things as they are [paraphrased from p 13, III]; understanding that “Nature contains nothing but natures; and these natures are nothing over and above Nature” [p 14, IV] … each and every thing being an essential part of the whole.

While Nature treats opposites impartially, the “best way to conduct oneself may be observed in the behavior of water’. “Water is useful to every living thing, yet it does not demand pay in return for its services; it does not even require that it be recognized, esteemed, or appreciated for its benefits” [p 16, VIII]. And yet, there is no life without it.

“This illustrates how intelligent behaviors closely approximate the behavior of Nature itself” [p 16, VIII].

“If experience teaches that houses should be built close to the ground,

That friendship should be based upon sympathy and good will,

That good government employs peaceful means of regulation,

That business is more successful if it employs efficient methods,

That wise behavior adapts itself appropriately to the particular circumstances,

All of this is because these are the easiest ways.

If one proceeds naturally, without ambition or envy, everything works out for the best” [p16, VIII].
Entities based on money are not drawn toward the easiest means, but the most profitable. As an example, multi-national corporations ship materials to other countries for processing by poorly paid workers for markets at the source, wasting resources, energies so that a few can profit from the desperation of many. There is no efficiency or real intelligence in these means and these inefficiencies foresee their ends.

Troubled societies, as we are experiencing now, based on money, elevating paid services and profit confuse the means with the ends; and our end, according to the Tao, is to “realize the potentialities of (our) indescribable original nature(s)” [p17, X].

Nature “procreates all things and then devotes itself to caring for them … willingly gives life, without first asking whether creatures will repay for its services” and, so, it “provides a pattern to follow, without requiring anyone to follow it. This is the nature of intelligent activity” [p18, X]. Concerned with genuine needs we avoid being confused by the superficial and can distinguish one from the other.

In this troubled world, temptations based on what money can buy, on capital gains lead to extremes. The very thing Lao Tzu advised against. Envy, greed and aggressive behavior trump intelligent activity and our original natures are sacrificed to the cruel intentions of those who would force their wills on others – all to obtain more of what will never bring anyone true happiness, and therefore, peace. In the end, Nature will do as it always does, impartially allowing the inherent initiation and completion of all things, without prejudice … our actions spelling our fates.

This is why, now more than ever, we must concern ourselves with our own inner peace. It is, as the Tao explained, of primary importance. “The inner self is our true self” and “in order to realize our true self, we must be willing to live without being dependent upon the opinions of others” [p20, XIII]. As a consequence of this “self-sufficiency” we will then act accordingly and feel no need to force
others to our own will.

Assertions, envy, and actions out of sync with ourselves, in essence, upset the balance and provide endless opportunity for strife. We are all better served when individuals are given the opportunity to develop fully, truly. War is a sign that this is not happening.

Opposition, being inherent in Nature, as are the principles of initiation and completion, is eternal. As we start acting naturally, by being ourselves, this will be accepted and extreme measures avoided.
The nature of intelligence then, like water, finds the path of least resistance and avoids conflict. Inner peace augments the natural order. Accepting that there is a beginning and end to all things, that opposition is perpetual, a defining element and source of growth, we will take the middle ground in our disagreements.

Over two thousand years ago, Lao Tzu understood that the source of peace lies within. Wise individuals who had found this peace have spoken. Yet we continue to make distinctions, passing judgment and acting out of these misconceptions. When we understand as a society and act accordingly, allowing each thing to realize its true nature, more people are likely to find peace in their lives.

Water Facts and Human Society

Mundane are the myriad of truths about water.  Still, that does not change the fact that water is essential, nor that death is an immediate consequence to life without water.  We see the results of our failed relationship with water in the news every day; and every day that we ignore the fact that our relationship with this vital resource must change, we come closer to extinction.  According to the World Health Organization, at least 2 billion people drink from contaminated water in 2019 and by 2025 half of the world’s population will be living in water stressed areas.  Eighty percent of all diseases in the developing world are water-related.

As third world countries develop, land becomes a commodity rather than a resource for all.  Farms are turned under and communities laid waste for profit.  Numbers become more important than quality and therefore population becomes its own worst outcome… because, there is money to make from the many.  When lives come cheaply, the rich make profit from the destitution.  In desperation, people have limited choices and those who would use their desperation do.  Facts speak for themselves and this is nothing new.  Human civilization, as we know it, needs to make some vital changes and much sooner than we have planned.  The truth is what it has always been and will remain.

These are the cold hard facts of winner take all.  This kind of struggle will be the end of us; the problem compounded by our short sightedness as a species in our relationship to water.  We use it, and since approximately 70% of the earth is covered by water it appears to be abundantly available, except when it isn’t.  A common known statistic is that only 2.5% of this water is fresh and only 1% of that is available.

Minnesota is at the heart of three of the greatest rivers systems in the North American continent, the Mississippi River, the St Louis River and the Rainy River, draining into the Gulf, into the Great Lakes at Lake Superior, and Hudson Bay respectively.  Lake Superior, the largest body of fresh water by surface in the world (Lake Bakail the largest by volume) lies at the mouth of the St Louis River, which is the largest river to drain into Superior.  The volume of fresh water in the Great Lakes runs second only to Lake Bakail and contains 21% of the world’s freshwater.

As you can imagine, the area covered by the three river systems sourced in Minnesota is enormous; and so, the importance of keeping these systems healthy and, in effect, the world secure.   The Hudson Bay drainage basin is estimated at 1,490,00 square miles.  The St Louis river, at 3,634 square miles and flowing into an irreplaceable estuary and the Great Lakes.  The Mississippi drainage basin at 1,151,000 square miles is only exceeded by the Hudson Bay drainage basin.  At the same time that organizations abound proposing to clean up and make sustainable the systems in place, most are ignoring the “elephant in the room” in Minnesota.

As Minnesotans debate tirelessly over the past almost 50 years concerning mining in the Laurentian Divide, mining continues.  It pollutes our precious water reserves in the ground, the air and waterways, lakes and wetlands.  The facts of this toxic pollution abound with acid rain destroying the forests, waste from waste ponds seeping into the ground and into Lake Superior and throughout the region reducing the quality of life and making the St Louis River and its estuary into an “area of concern”.  None of this, though, prevents consideration of the area for the most toxic mining proposals, opening up this area surrounding the BWCA and the BWCA to copper mining, all while declaring that copper is needed for a sustainable new energy future.  What future can we have without fresh water?  How secure is a country without potable reserves of freshwater?

There are 260 species of fish that must imbide the waters of the Mississippi as its pollution runs downstream.  What of the 326 some species of birds, 60% of those of North America, that use the Mississippi River basin?  Forty percent of migratory waterfowl on this continent rely on the Mississippi River corridor.  If we hold these creatures lives cheaply, how cheap do we hold our own then?  These are the very lives that our lives depend upon.

I offer Minnesota as only one example of the way in which our thinking needs to change.  If one thinks of the “whole” of an activity, the costs of that activity will become clear.  Mining and other like activities cannot be thought of as solutions when these are, in themselves, the problem.  The human species is tireless in its search for “newer and better”; but have we forgotten the things we’ve left behind?  Millions of years cannot be discounted in a moment; and this “moment” of the last two hundred years does not a nuanced progression make.

We are called on to rethink our assessment of the substance of water and the amount that we actually use in any given activity.  We need to call on the past for enlightenment in the effort.  We are not in opposition to the nature surrounding us, we are at its core.  We destroy and treat thoughtlessly the very thing that we need for our survival.  For instance, in Professor Tony Allen’s conceptualization of water, using the phrase “virtual water,” we are provided with a more truthful view of actual water consumption.  Each plateful of food, each activity, whether single or as a company, a community … takes on a broader impact in our minds.  We are not simply eating a steak, we are consuming the water that it took to produce that steak.  We are not only driving an automobile, we are responsible for the water it took to mine the steel and other components for that car, the pollution of water caused by its production, as well as the gasoline it takes to run.

The bottom line should never be money, which most of us will never see.  The bottom line is, for a fact, water.  Without it, there is no life.  It will be the cause of future wars and great distress if we choose to ignore the facts.

For so many, survival means making money and success is counted rather than lived.  We match our worth with worth in quantity rather than quality.  How big are our houses, how fancy our cars, our lifestyles….  As a society, we judge others by the beauty of their surface rather than the content of their character.  Is it any wonder that the wealth of this Earth is being lost and degraded with this point of view?  Is a beautiful wild place but a place to exploit for profit or recreation?  Does our current outlook on our own happiness make for one that runs deep and creates long lasting futures for any of us?  Have we forgotten the very things we need for true happiness?

Our bodies contain up to 70% water and some organisms contain up to 90% water.  It is the first building material of a cell, regulating temperature, transporting and making available the food we eat through the blood stream.  Water flushes waste, it lubricates joints, acts as a shock absorber throughout the body and, importantly, the brain and spinal cord, and among so many other things it enhances mental function.  The brain contains 73-75% water.  Adults need at least 2.3 to 3.2 quarts of water each day in their food or otherwise, for survival.  Perhaps education, so dearly needed, will make the change?

I fear that humans will do as humans do, so often, thoughtlessly.  We live in the moment.  Most of us don’t plan well for our futures.  We love, we hate, we dance, we sing, we make war, love, and work for the ones we love.  We are often controlled by passions of the moment; and this makes us all the more susceptible to the ones who don’t.  What will make the difference?  Perhaps we need to love ourselves better and more fully? What could be more important in that effort than water?

I have included a few of the links visited for this paper, below:

USGS  Watersheds and Drainage Basins:

https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/watersheds-and-drainage-basins?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects

https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/watershed-map-north-america

Visually understanding the amount of water compared to our planet size:

https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/all-earths-water-a-single-sphere

Water uses and percentages in our bodies …:

https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects

Up to minute stats on usage amounts. Envisioning “virtual water”:

https://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/average-daily-water-usage

Quick Wikipedia facts on water:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water

For love of wilderness and the health of our waters.

Anita  Dedman-Tillemans

August 2019

Appeals Court puts stay on key permit for Polymet.

Concerns are monumental for good reason. What could be more important for national security than the safety of our waters?

Court puts key PolyMet copper-nickel mine permit on hold

Court panel delivers victory for PolyMet opponents

https://waterlegacy.org/polymet_mine/

https://waterlegacy.org/video/

https://www.friends-bwca.org/blog/polymet-mpca-scandal

https://www.friends-bwca.org/

On Courage and Kindness

Those who love know that they are not alone and have the courage it takes to love.  They know that love is full of pain as well as joy, but they would not live without it.

In the words of Albert Einstein:

The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth.

“The individual is what he is and has the significance that he has not so much in virtue of his individuality, but rather as a member of a great human society, which directs his material and spiritual existence from the cradle to the grave.”

~ Albert Einstein

Lake Nipigon at Black Sand Provincial Park

Unaware of the History of Nipigon/Black Sands, we visited this beautiful area in the early 1980’s and observed from afar in  orange haze-filled skies the burning of forested wetlands in the BWCA and northern climes of Minnesota.  Apparently ignited from the embers of a camper’s fire, it burned most the week of our stay.

One of the experiences that remains of that time, forever etched, was the quiet, as they say, a quiet that could be “cut with a knife”.  My two children were 6 and 7 as they explored the forest with us and built their “dock” on the shore, hiked and swam all that week. It was an experience I am sure that I will never have again.

There were “no see ’ems” that left their bloody mark, biting flies and wildflowers, a cougar running on the road with tail up before it disappeared into the woods.  I saw my first wild rose there, and took my first make-shift shower under a tree.  We existed without radio … because there was no reception.  We sat around a campfire with toads singing to the light and told scary stories  … one of them, the Black Cat, by Edgar Allen Poe.

Those first few days were beautiful and vibrant, full of life everywhere, songs of birds and animals … and then, the air stilled, except for the rustle of some large animal outside our camper door in the pitch black of that Ontario night.  We thought it might have been a bear.  By the next day, we could sense the change.

When my family went into the nearest town to get supplies, I stayed.  With no reception on the radio, there was a profound silence.  All I had known, all my life, was sound … noise from cars, from television, radio, lawnmowers, the hum of appliances, the assault of noise, constant and enduring.  The silence was at once deafening and an awakening.

In those hours before the children returned with their father, it was all so apparent that the forest inhabitants knew something we did not.  The sound of the car and the voices of my family reassured me that I was not alone, that this was not my imagination and something was definitely amiss.  As the sun developed a haze and the blue sky clouded with a veil of smoke, it became clear what the little creatures around us had known for more than a day already.

We found information from venturing into town for the news and stayed at the park for a little longer before our vacation had ended.  In the week that we were there, it was a jewel.  A jewel to know that places like this still existed.  It was an honor to have been able to see, to sense the peace of that place, to leave a clean campsite and know now that those who cared for this beautiful place thousands of years, will have their home back. May the whole of society begin to do the same as these people did.  May we leave this beautiful campsite, Earth, as we found it.  As a wise old white man, once said:

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.  When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.  ~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Comment on Enbridge Pipeline #3

Department of Natural Resources
Attn: Line 3 Pipeline Replacement Applications
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155

May 8, 2019

 

Re: Comment on:

Utility Crossing License for State Land,

Utiliity Crossing License for Public Water,

Work in Public Waters for Public Water Wetlands on Private Land,

Work in Public Waters for Willow River Bridge,

Water Appropriation for Hydrostatic Testing and Horizontal Directional Drilling,

Water Appropriation for Trench and Construction Dewatering,

Water Appropriation for Dust Control, Water Appropriation for Construction near Gully 30,

Threatened and Endangered Species Taking Permit,

Calcareous Fen Management Plan (Gully 30)

 

To those this may concern:

(Corrected copy May 9, 2019 5:58pm)
As we move forward into a new era where the prospect of mining, transporting and use of fossil fuels bodes poorly for our long term survival, how do we transition to a new energy economy without destroying the natural resources life requires … like water? I believe the building and maintaining of oil pipelines in a water dependent ecosystem like that of Northern Minnesota is not the way; and, so, I object to the Enbridge pipeline #3.

The route for Enbridge’s oil pipeline, as proposed and approved, will cross 12 Minnesota counties and at least 68 lakes and rivers in this rich, biodiverse ecosystem:

Line 3 will travel through Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, Polk, Clearwater, Hubbard, Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, Carlton counties in Minnesota. Line 3 will enter Minnesota by crossing the Red River entering Kittson and then move into Marshall County where it will cross the Tamarac River, Middle River and the Snake before entering Pennington County, where it will cross the Red Lake River. At this point it will move into Red Lake County where it will cross the Clearwater River before going into Polk County crossing at State Ditch Sixty One. With more tributaries to cross Line 3 will be heading into Clearwater County where it will cross, among others, Lost River, Silver Creek, West Four Legged Lake, the Mississippi River in Bear Creek Township and La Salle Creek in Itasca State Park. At this point, it will move through Paul Bunyan State Forest and south past many lakes and over the Straight River out of Park Rapids, over the Shell River and then in an easterly direction over Crow Wing River, then south into Wadena County and Huntersville State Forest where it will cross the Shell River again and the Crow Wing River within Huntersville State Forest. Once leaving Wadena, the line 3 pipeline will move through Cass County south of the Leech Lake Reservation through more water dependent areas, over Pine River and into Crow Wing County’s upper NW corner, at which point it reenters Cass County crossing water features and tributaries again before entering Aitkin County where it will cross the Mississippi once more, among others like the Sandy River, Willow River, a portion of the Mille Lacs Reservation, before moving into Carlton County. Once in Carlton County, Enbridge’s tar sands oil pipeline 3 will cross the West Branch of the Kettle River, Heikkila Creek, Kettle River, on the southerly border of Fond du Lac State Forest, the West Fork Moose Horn River, King Creek and Park Lake Creek. At the last leg of its journey through our land of 10,000 lakes, it will straddle the Willard Munger State Trail before crossing Highway 35, then south of Jay Cooke State Park and the St Louis River toward Superior in Douglas County, Wisconsin.

As history proves, there is no doubt that there will be leaks. No doubt, that there will be a degradation of the surrounding environment. This is all understood and accepted with what appears to be a token regard for the many hazards, since the permitting process moves forward in spite of these. The state of Minnesota knows what could go wrong. History has taught us. Will a short term jump in construction jobs cover the long term costs?

I ask that the licenses for the Enbridge pipeline #3, which continue to facilitate the extension of a policy toward fossil fuel extraction, transportation and utilization be denied.

Sincerely,

Anita Dedman-Tillemans

A Kind and Curious Man

I knew a man who would not lie.
He would not say a thing untrue;
And if one swayed him to reply
In words he did not choose …
He would not say a thing untrue.

As his life unfolded
And his kindness grew,
He spoke in words of gentleness
Speaking only what he knew,
What he knew to be the truth.

Words will come, and words will go,
And rarely be remembered;
But in due and honest diligence,
In kindness and in truth,
With time, his legend grew …

The legend of a man
A kind and curious man,
A man who would not lie,
Who would not say
A thing untrue.

The Blooming Glen

Awash with blooms of many hues

Through rare and sunny fen

The dance of seasons played throughout

In fragrant blooming glens.

Flickering cardinal wings in flight

Mother, father flew

To nestlings with their open mouths

Of honeysuckle hue.

The cries of catbirds, squirrels, and like,

An owl with talons drawn

Sweeping through on silent wing

In refuge before the dawn;

And so it was until the day

There came a demo due

With backhoes, trucks, big cranes and saws

To cleave the whole in two,

Until the sounds of life were stilled,

To wait another crew,

To build a bigger, better box

To house the newer new.

And so it goes, the trees, the homes,

Where beauty largely loomed,

In gardens housing great and small

When, like the glen, they bloomed

On pending Polymet copper mine and Enbridge oil pipeline #3 …

As we move forward into a new era where the prospect of fossil fuels has become a nemesis to our survival long range, there are major decisions we must make concerning how we will transition to a new energy economy without destroying the natural resources we need so dearly … like water.

Copper has become an “essential” tool in the new age economy, but how do we “mine” this resource sustainably without endangering our natural resources?  I suggest that mining in a water dependent area like the Arrowhead is not the way.

As the State of Minnesota moves forward with the permitting of a copper mine (Polymet’s NorthMet project) in the center of this ecological treasure (approval of which both Governor Dayton and Amy Klobuchar have supported) lawsuits are in progress.  In an effort to defend the state’s bad decision under the direction of our new governor, the taxpayers, unwittingly, will be paying for the defense of something the majority of Minnesotans did not want … and in the long run, once begun and into perpetuity, will also pay the consequences.

As an additional note of great consequence the comment period for the Enbridge Pipeline #3 pending permits is open until May 17, 2019; and you can comment here.  I have also included the link to my article What we should all know about Enbridge’s replacement line 3 in Minnesota.

For the sake of our wilderness let’s make our voices heard.

 

Some articles of interest on Polymet and the Northmet Project:

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/business/energy-and-mining/4574933-walz-looks-boost-legal-funds-defend-polymet-other-decisions

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/business/energy-and-mining/4573778-lawsuit-filed-obtain-epa-documents-state-polymet-permits

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/01/31/fed-judge-lifts-hold-on-lawsuits-against-polymet-mine

http://www.timberjay.com/stories/mccollum-requests-release-of-epa-comments-on-polymet,14863

http://www.honorearth.org/polymet_and_the_great_lakes

https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2019/02/20/amy-klobuchar-minnesota-mining-polymet-defense-spending

http://duluthreader.com/articles/2018/11/08/15044_daytons_toxic_legacy_and_the_permitting_of_polymet

 

Enbridge comment period open from March 18 to 4:30 p.m. May 17, 2019:

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/business/energy-and-mining/4586403-dnr-opens-comment-period-enbridge-line-3-license-and-permit

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/line3/index.html

As we prepare for decisions affecting our survival …

 

What are the sustainable jobs and practices?

Birch on Chequamegon Bay on Lake Superior

From “Forbearance” written by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

 “Hast thou named all the birds without a gun?
Loved the wood-rose, and left it on its stalk?
At rich men’s tables eaten bread and pulse?
Unarmed, faced danger with a heart of trust?
And loved so well a high behavior,
In man or maid, that thou from speech refrained,
Nobly more nobly to repay?
O be my friend, and teach me to be thine!”

Truth and Opinion

beach_family

Views are varied, understandable or not, superficial or deep, based on facts, prejudices, vantage points…. The gamut of opinion is wide. Within, these opinions can be thoughtful, trite, unkind, diplomatically, politically astute, entertaining, ironic … instructive, banal …. So what is truth? Is it a fact that there are as many truths as there are opinions? Is truth relative, or do we confuse truth with opinion?

The internet provides a platform, at this point, for all manner of opinion and may it remain so. We benefit by the views of others that may open doors and broaden our perspectives. In this manner, we arrive at the gates of each eternal truth – but only with open minds. What, then, is it that prevents an open mind? Being born, we have all been impressionable. Learning required this. We were traumatized at times by our own willingness to explore the unknown; and we have a few scars for the experience. How did we respond?

In the process of living life, we learned to avoid some things and embrace others. Some developed unreasonable fears that, as fears do, tended to close a once impressionable mind. Relatively speaking, then, the book was closed until further notice on one subject or another for fear. An open mind would leave that book open for further updates, perpetually, with no page unturned – relative to time … our lives finite.

The word has been passed in conversation since language began — transformed to words on tablets, then paper and now to electronic images that, in a flash, appear and just as quickly disappear. Forms and the framework of communications have become exceedingly more volatile and less stable than the stone tablets of writing’s origins. We have come full circle essentially and while the audience for any one opinion has grown, the idea of permanency has been shattered. As in life, there is no forever concerning words written or otherwise.

In this regard, we have the substance of truth. The one thing that separates truth from opinion is time. Truth today was truth at Stonehenge and will be so in a thousand years. Therefore, it becomes more relevant today than ever, in this world of opinions, to take time, for instance, to turn off our devices and experience silence each day, for the peace to put words in perspective, until what remains clarifies and illuminates.

Like beauty and kindness, truth is eternal and makes our lives worth the living. Relative to this, nothing else truly matters. To be or not to be is essentially an individual choice.

Anita Suzanne Tillemans

August 8, 2015

What Color Love?

wetland

Was the sky a marble white that day,
In mists that cooled the morning?
Did cerulean blue peek through the veil
Of clouds with subtle promise?

golden grass off highway one in st louis county, mn

Was love the touch of crimson light,
Warm blue azure skies?
Or was it willed in sun’s gold rays,
Or flaxen blooms of prairie days?

mountain / lake / photo

Was love the hue of mountain pools,
Or rush of spring fed fountains;
In tides of turquoise summer seas,
Or blush of meadow lupines?

forest path / Keweenaw / porcupine mountains / photo

Did love embolden the morning dew
On forest paths of emerald hue?
Was it the green of budding oak,
Of Norway Spruce or meadow rue?

Chequamegon Sunrise / photo

What color love, through veils of white,
Felled my heart at dawning,
Warmed the deep blue azure skies
In bird song, choral morning?

©2015 Anita Suzanne Tillemans

Even So

 

Wind blowing ‘round my ears

Cold knocking at my door

Old man winter in a vengeful mood

Burns alike on rich and poor.

Snow deep in every bank and crevice,

Air thick with crystal ice,

Snow melt from eves and gutters

Falling stalactites.

The winter lord, even so,

Cannot stop the dreams of spring,

Nor the golden light of June,

Nor the soul to sing.

Bear Head Lake, MN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrowhead Aquifers and the Hill of Three Waters

We could speak of the beauty, the wild, the spirit of something greater than ourselves, the sustenance we all gain from these masterpieces.  Such is the Arrowhead of Minnesota

What is the true source of three of the greatest water systems of North America, that of the Rainy River, Lake Superior drainage basin, and Mississippi River? Have underground aquifers and waterways in the Arrowhead been mapped such that we can understand the full scope of these resources?

Water cascades in great quantity from the “big stoney” to Lake Superior and parts unknown …

Legend has it that various tribes of the Ojibwe were pressed to defend their forests from an invasion of Sioux at one point. Since the buffalo had not returned to their territory as expected, the Sioux were in search of the sustenance in lands claimed by the Ojibwe, abundant and fruitful, forested wetlands of what is now known as Northern Minnesota. Since the Sioux were fierce and savvy warriors and could defeat the small tribes of Ojibwe individually throughout the land, leaders decided to unite. They met to decide their strategy on the “hill of three waters”… a unique quirk in geography, one mile north of present day Hibbing where water falling at this precise point can divide and flow in three directions, one to the Gulf of Mexico, one through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, and the last to Hudson Bay.

Chiefs of the Ojibwe traveled from Canada, Lake of the Woods, and Nett Lake following water routes in the Big Fork River and Shannon River to unite with other leaders at the “hill”. Leaders of those Ojibwe in the Big Sandy Lake area and Mille Lacs Lake took waters north on the Mississippi and Prairie Rivers to Day Lake and then up Day Brook to the “hill”. Chiefs from Wisconsin, Fond du Lac, and Lake Superior joined their brothers on the “hill of three waters” by taking the St Louis River and Penobscot Creek. Unified, they eventually defeated the Sioux and regained their territory.

Along the Laurentian Divide where the “hill of three waters” is located, white settlers believed that the direction of flow was directly North and South. Native Americans knew long ago that this was not the case throughout the divide, and that water flowed to the river basins of Lake Superior, Rainy River as well as the Mississippi River, particularly at this point, where the Hull Rust Mine is located now. As a result of mining and pollution emerging in unexpected areas, we have learned that unusual geological formations exist in northeastern Minnesota that guarantee a complicated and diverse environment not easily understood.

For instance, portions of the South Kawishiwi River Intrusion and of the Partridge River Intrusion can be found underground at the same Babbitt location in and around mining facilities. Therefore, underground water in parts of Babbitt flow not only into the Partridge River watershed but also into the Rainy River watershed, which shares water with BWCAW. This is complicated even further by overlying and sometimes interconnecting aquifers – surficial and buried, contained and uncontained within varying compositions. Contained aquifers can potentially discharge water a hundred miles more or less from the recharge area or site of pollution. Groundwater and surface water frequently diverge in this area, and so more knowledge is needed concerning Minnesota’s groundwater geology before we can truly begin to understand the consequences of our actions regarding mining of any kind.

Wetlands abound in the “stoney”, along with thousands of flora and fauna, many rare and uncommon. There are orchard orioles, killdeer, snow geese, loons, woodcocks, purple finch, mink, great blue heron, broad-winged hawks, eagles, partridge, beaver, wolves, moose, bear, Canadian lynx, coyotes, blue bills, mallards, night hawks, snowy owls, white-throated sparrows, deer, blueberries, bearberry, rock ferns, caribou moss, and so many other species of plants and animals. What is the potential harm to these populations if the fragile balance of this ecosystem is destroyed, an ecosystem so interconnected with the health of its waters?

Do we sell or do we protect? This is what this decision concerning Polymet Copper Mining comes down to, essentially. There are no real guarantees that Polymet will be around to pay for clean-up once the mine closes and the money runs out of state; and we will never be able to undo the damage of their intrusion into these hydrological treasure troves, a literal mother lode for our planet’s fresh water. Have we already done irreversible damage by allowing almost 2,000 bore holes for copper mining prospectors near the BWCAW?

Groundwater in the area naturally seeps into holes drilled or pits dug in the area. As a consequence, while the mine is in operation, Polymet will continuously discharge water from mining pits and tailings basins to extract the ore. Colby Lake will serve as a source of supplementation and discharge, and widespread discharges will occur in the form of untreated, contaminated water along with altered (treated) water at both sites into the Partridge River, Embarrass River watersheds and the entire St Louis River watershed. These are the knowns.

Since aquifers recharge normally on high ground and discharge in low lying areas, the affected aquifers and water bodies will essentially be mined, as rock is extracted in the Laurentian highlands, instead of recharging (as nature would allow). Loss of pressure, as a consequence, in confined aquifers (artesians) could have devastating and far-reaching consequences; and, of course, we cannot truly know how many wetlands will be lost due to drawdown of the water table and the cumulative effects of long term contamination above and below ground.

Once the mine is closed, the threat to vital fresh water resources would continue, most likely into perpetuity and, therefore, maintenance at an estimated cost of at least $6,000,000 annually. The actual costs will, more than likely, be far greater. In a myopic view alone, what of inflation and the logistics of changing political will and financial realities? How long will water continue to seep into and from the bedrock of the Laurentian Divide contacting waste rock in the mine pits as well as contaminated water in the tailings basins? Do we even know how much water is involved? Can we know?

Ongoing treatment, passive or aggressive, will never return these waters or this region to its original state. Observe ongoing pollution witnessed from mining in the area already. What financial or political assurances would suffice in a tragedy of the scale that sulfide mining would unleash?

From limited hydrological information available to date concerning underground flowage for these vast bedrock formations in the Arrowhead, it seems that the calculations Polymet has made are insufficient to describe the scope of ecological damage possible in this unique environment, and therefore, the effect on freshwater reserves in the stoney of Lake Superior and Rainy River Basins at the very least. Consider the diversity and interconnectedness of the aquifers in St Louis, Lake and Cook counties, the unpredictability of discharge locations from confined aquifers, the potential of contamination by bore holes traversing aquifers. Due to these and so many unknown factors associated with this complex geological area, how is it possible to predict short term or long term consequences of mining this priceless water table for the extraction of any ore body?

It is likely that water in the area’s confined aquifers could be thousands and possibly millions of years old, the implications of which cannot be ignored for any amount of money. We have waste on this earth that could be recycled without destroying our environment, our home. Have we come to a crossroads in our handling of this planet, an ecosystem that we so dearly need for our survival? Isn’t water more important than any profit we can make from mining? Once understood that we cannot mine our water resources without devastating results, perhaps we will favor sane and ecologically sound solutions to those challenges that engage us?

We could speak of the beauty, the wild, the spirit of something greater than ourselves, the sustenance we all gain from these masterpieces. Such is the Arrowhead of Minnesota. What profit is there if not life itself? It is undeniable that people in the area need jobs … although, who of these long term residents came with the intent to mine this jewel? If given the opportunity to work in a sustainable activity, who would not choose to do so? What kind of opportunities could be created with a mindset that encourages positive long term results over short term gains and financial profiteering? Don’t we owe it to ourselves and life itself to make the effort?

Anita Suzanne Tillemans

originally published

January 31, 2014

Cook County, MN

How will the city of Minneapolis protect our canopy by cutting it down?

In order to “protect” our canopy of trees from the emerald ash borer, the city of Minneapolis tends to remove rather than treat.  How long will it take to replace a mature forest with the saplings that are used to “replace” these giants … in climate that is dramatically warming?

Portrait of a Friendship

Last winter, I lost a very dear friend to cancer.  She was in her 98th year, of Norwegian ancestry, a Minnesotan by birth, a world traveler and citizen by choice, and a lover of beauty in all its forms.  She was, as she called herself, an “oh-oh”, an old one.

After reading her poetry, listening to her stories and her insights, I wondered why she didn’t put her thoughts in a book.  She wanted anonymity.  She did not want to be responsible for the choices others might make.  She would not advise.  She was simply communicating and sharing her ideas on a personal level with me because we were friends.  We were both open-minded, she, broad-minded, and it was our mutual love of beauty that linked us in life.  It was her nonjudgmental attitude toward life, toward others, that taught me some very important lessons; and it was this acceptance of others and her smile that endeared her to the people who knew her.

She was the most stubborn person that I have ever known, bar none, if “stubborn” is the right word.  Perhaps stalwart would have been better.  It was with measured and fact-driven set of priorities that she made her decisions and stood by them and it was her intelligence that allowed her to frame the narrative in a way that enlightened and allowed for a new perspective.

It was through gardening we met and, in the almost 20 years we knew each other, it was in nature where we both found our joy, traveling the country roads, walking in the woods, enjoying the rivers and lakes, the wetlands of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.  She was a realist, though, and often gave me pause in my efforts to preserve our wildlands.  My idealistic nature was tempered many times in our discussions by her truthful kindness.  She knew and would let me find out for myself.

I miss her terribly.  She would not want me to mourn forever.  She would not want me to write about her for all to know and felt she was only a small, miniscule part of this universe.  For me, she was an example of how we might all be in a better world; and I loved her for that.

What we should all know about Enbridge’s replacement line 3 in Minnesota.

Enbridge lists benefits that will accrue from its replacement line 3 in Minnesota and it guarantees that the old line will be safely “deactivated.” What does this mean to Minnesota once the new pipeline is installed and Canadian tar sands oil is flowing through the heart of our 10,000 lakes?

First of all, the old pipeline will be “cleaned-out” using a “biocide treatment” in the deactivation process and left in place.

The proposed new pipeline would use the power of eminent domain to run its pipeline, potentially transporting 760,000 barrels of Canadian tar sands oil per day across three watersheds and many tribal communities and over pristine waters in Minnesota.  Line 3 will go through 1855 treaty land, where native people have the right to hunt, fish, gather, hold ceremony; and it will travel through wild rice wetlands that have been a primary economic, nutritional, cultural and spiritual resource. It will be buried in permeable soil in a water dependent ecosystem and when a spill occurs it will be impossible to clean up.

This new pipeline will replace existing 34-inch pipe with new 36-inch pipe and run 337 miles in Minnesota alone.  It is the largest project in Enbridge history with construction expected to begin early in 2019 with an anticipated in-service date in the second half of 2019.

From Enbridge’s outlook, money and prosperity will be had for those in line of this pipeline.  They say 8,600 jobs will be created over a two year period.  This contrasts markedly with the 20 permanent jobs once the pipeline is built. They say it will be a boost to the