Dispatches from the Tar Sands Blockades

29 Oct

Cross Posted from Tar Sands Blockade

Here are two updates from blockaders in East Texas resisting the tar sands pipeline. We will keep you posted as events proceed.

Below is a diary excerpt from Cat Ripley, whojoined the tree blockade several days ago. Here is their story from the trees:

Sitting in a tree all day brings on tides of poignant thought; memory thickly-laden with emotion, siphoned from the weightiest of dream states and experiences.

Let me tell you how I got here…

After leaving Cascadia [Pacific Northwest], my original plan was to head far south, to the desert outside Taos, to seek solitude on the land of my kin, to hole up for a while. To paint, to write, to muse. I quickly solidified a once wavering notion – that to plan is a fools work, and we shouldn’t waste precious time with such things. The road will provide the way.

I followed friends I met in early September, and started making my way south, slowly. We slept on beaches, in groves of prickle bushes higher than our heads, in the bodies of redwood trees – so grand, we could fit three comfortably.

I found myself traveling alone, funneled without mercy back to San Francisco, the metropolis of my dreams, but still, ever-reeling back towards the woods where I truly belong. I participated in the 20th Anniversary of Critical Mass, hitching rides on cargo bikes, a pedicab (paid for by some kind “suits” in the plaza), but mostly running alongside the mass of peaceful protesters. That night, after joining up with a girl I met further north, we went down to the Mission to see a screening at the ATA (Artists’ Television Access, a collective space that has been around since 1984). There I caught my first view of Petropolis, a documentary about the Alberta Tar Sands, characteristically distinct by it’s simple audio and epic aerial shots. I was stunned, I was unmoved, I wanted to vomit and run and spin and shake all at the same time. I wept relentlessly.

It was then I decided I would do all that I could to stop this massacre. A few days later, I left for Texas.

Now here I am 80 feet off the ground. They’ve started bending the pipes to go around us. We haven’t formed an accurate count of how many days it’s taken/going to continue, but whatever the count it’s all thanks to the tree blockade and all of the humans who spent time building, supplying, and living up in these trees.

It’s been quiet today, which was much appreciated. Last night was so cold, I don’t think any of us left our sleeping bags before 10am. Finally we have ample unobstructed sunlight to warm our bones and charge our techs. Thissolar pad is mighty.

These passing hours have been rough. The weather has grown colder. I mostly sleep or read fiction, only leaving the warmth of my cocoon when I have been thoroughly convinced that the sun is high enough in the sky to warm my bones. Jerry and B are traversing on ropes back here [to my tree] from the timber scaffolding wall, bringing extra warmth for the night. Maybe we’ll play cards – anything to get us out of our own headspaces for a moment. We do what we can, these times are dark.

Fear aside, I still harbor much hope. So much.

All heart and tree bark,
Cat Ripley

VIDEO: Speaking Truth to Power From the Trees (Day 34)

October 27, 2012

There is only one tree blockader who has been in the trees from day one of the tree blockade. Our friend, who goes by Chickadee, is a joyous and unbreakable spirit that we dearly miss here on the ground. Watch this touching video of them speaking truth to power from the trees. With love, honesty, humanity, and humor they give us all the enduring hope to continue our struggle to stop the toxic tar sands once and for all.

In their own words:

“I’m here to make my Sunday school teachers proud…loving my neighbor as myself. If TransCanada was your neighbor would you want them to do this to your land?…Take your land when you don’t want them to take it, cut down all the trees, and [build] a pipeline. Is that the kind of neighbor you want?! Because thats not the kind of neighbor I want.”

“It’s okay to be scared. I’m scared everyday out here….but courage isn’t about being not afraid its about how you respond to your fear. There’s only one thing deeper than my fear and thats my love, my love of life. The world I want to create doesn’t involved giant corporations bullying people….Im here for the dignity of all humanity, a livable planet, and a thriving just, sustainable world.”

“Love is an active thing. Love is about taking actions to protect and defend people that you love. Working for their health and safety and the future for the little ones. That’s why I’m out here.”

Chickadee, we love and miss you and can’t begin to thank you for your endless bravery and powerful love in the face of greedy corporate devastation.

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