• Ongoing fast will launch Aug. 1
BROOKINGS – A deep concern for the earth, particularly in light of “the environmental devastation being wrought in their name by the fossil fuel industry and their financial and political supporters,” has driven a group of Brookings-area residents to organize a campaign of peaceful protest.
“Fast for the Earth” begins Aug. 8 following a week of launch activities here in Brookings. It will continue indefinitely, with at least one person somewhere in the world fasting every day, “until the Earth is once again treated with respect.”
“Though it began as a local effort, the fast has now gone international, with individuals and groups signed up to participate from at least a dozen nations,” says a press release from the group, sent by Phyllis Cole-Dai, one of the organizers.
The group describes the effort as “a nonviolent protest against wanton disregard for the natural world, and a spiritual affirmation that we are all part of that world, responsible for its careful tending.”
They continue: “Environmental devastation takes many forms, but these South Dakota citizens have been prompted to act most immediately by the ruinous impacts of tar sands mining and related pipelines, including the controversial Keystone XL. They have chosen to fast in kinship with the indigenous peoples of Canada and the United States who, in the face of such mining and pipeline construction, have fasted in defense of ‘all their relations.’"
Toronto resident Richard Seese says he is a strong supporter of the fast.
“If you believe that what you think and do influences the things around you (visualization and manifestation), by meditating for a healed world, coupled with the body energy of a fast, I hope to change the world around me to become a better place for all,” Seese said.
“Some call this process prayer. No matter what you call it, it all works the same.”
Fast participants are free to fast when they wish, in the way they wish, for as long as they wish.
Some will abstain from food, and others will avoid using their cars, organizers say.
“Whenever and however participants choose to fast, all of them will be united by their intention to reflect more deeply on their own complicity in environmental desecration, their commitment to do more to protect and honor the Earth, and their desire to be part of a public witness in defense of Creation,” the news release says.
“They realize that their small efforts alone will not stop environmental destruction, much of it driven by humanity’s addiction to fossil fuels. Their decision to fast is governed not by the likelihood of success but by the demands of conscience and spirit, and by their love for Creation.”
Seese said he personally hopes the campaign helps “to stop that XL Pipeline, stop pollution, and the oil companies quit gouging people and lower the price of fuel/heating oil/gas, as a beginning.”
Learn more about Fast for the Earth and sign up to participate at www.fastforthe-earth.com.
A week of launch activities in Brookings include:
• Aug. 1, Brookings Public Library
Noon to 1 p.m., screening and discussion of the film "Pipe Dreams”; 6:30-8 p.m., pipelines. Darlene Renville Pipe Boy, Dakota elder on the Lake Traverse Reservation, and her son Hoksila Pipe Boy present “Native concerns about tar sands mining and Pipelines.”
• Aug. 2, Brookings Public Library
Noon-1 p.m. Discussion: "Does Mother Earth Have Rights?"
6:30-8 p.m. Farmer and Rancher Concerns about Tar Sands Pipelines. (Dialogue with various guests.)
• Aug. 3
Noon-1 p.m. Direct Action at Pioneer Park shelterhouse: Writing of "oil hand" letters to politicians, preparation of picketing signs for Tuesday's Keystone protest.
6:30 p.m. Screening and discussion of the film "Fuel" at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
• Aug. 4
Noon-1 p.m. Direct Action: "People's Soapbox" outside the post office, downtown Brookings.
2:30-4:30 p.m., an "up close and personal" tour of a portion of the landscape through which Keystone I pipeline is routed, primarily on the property of farmers Mike and Sue Sibson, 23782 426th Ave., Howard. Tour will be held rain or shine, leaving the parking lot of the Brookings Public Library for Howard around 1:15 p.m. Carpooling will be available.
6:30 p.m. Screening and discussion of the film "A Sea Change," Brookings United Church of Christ
• Aug. 5, Pioneer Park
Noon-1 p.m. Discussion: "What Does Faith Mean for the Earth?"
6:30 p.m. Interfaith blessing service for the Earth (followed by fellowship)
• Aug. 6
Noon-1 p.m. Alternatives to Oil: Presentation on Solar Power, First United Methodist Church Community Life Center. Presenter: Rick Jost, director of Solar Oven Partners.
2-4 p.m. Tour of a 1.5 megawatt wind turbine on the farm of Jim Nichols, former Minnesota state senator and Secretary of Agriculture. This single turbine produces electricity for hundreds of homes. Nichols’ farm is located at 1577 County Road 101, Lake Benton. Tour will be held rain or shine, leaving the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church in Brookings around 1:15. Carpooling will be available.
6:30-8 p.m. Alternatives to Oil: Presentation on wind power, basement of First United Methodist Church. Presenter: Jim Nichols, farmer and owner of wind turbine, Minnesota wind energy advocate.
• Aug. 7
Noon-1 p.m. Protest, Keystone I office, 200 Highway 14 (bypass).
6:30 p.m. "The People's Dinner," Pioneer Park shelterhouse.
A community potluck, highlighted by the presentation of mock awards for Earth desecration and true awards for Earth heroism.
• Aug. 8
Beginning of the perpetual Fast for the Earth.
Contact Charis Prunty at email@example.com.