Line 5 decision
“A society’s fate is in its own hands and depends substantially on its own choices,” says Jared Diamond in his prophetic book “Collapse.”
This perfectly describes the decisions of our Gang of 4 on the Grand Traverse County Commission when they prioritized oil over our fresh waters.
Decision-making depends on historic knowledge, experience, scientific analysis and knowing that “we the people” will share the consequences.
The decision to support a foreign oil company (Enbridge) over Michigan’s fresh water is not only shortsighted, it may be catastrophic. Keeping a 66-year-old pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac and 640 miles of other lakes, streams, farms and forests when it has been deemed susceptible to changing currents, anchor strikes, metal fatigue, corrosion and lack of supports is unconscionable.
Cities, farmers and our tourism economy would feel the consequences of a spill widely. In an uncertain future marked by unpredictable weather, loss of farmland, more diseases and the depletion of fossil fuels, it makes better sense to plan ahead before the climate crisis grows unstoppable. If we don’t work together to acknowledge this and work to mitigate it with green renewable energy, our children and grandchildren will inherit unimaginable problems on a very different planet.
So these are the people who have been made into the new enemy and who sometimes had to drink one another’s urine in order to survive the desert. The men wore baseball caps and multiple shirts. The women carrying a suitcase in one hand and clutching an infant against her shoulder with the other.
They were hungry, frightened and in the total control of the “coyotes” who led them across. Their immediate goal: a place where they could light a fire and cook their food without being seen. But as John Steinbeck said long ago, “We had come to fear a man with a hole in his shoe.”
I remember when I had a flat tire on N. West Bayshore Drive. An old pickup truck stopped to give me a hand. A man who had spent his day picking grapes, his wife and his baby in the truck, got out and helped me change my tire. When we offered him money, he refused and went on with his family.
These are the people who pick the grapes and the cherries that we are so proud of. God’s children.