I have seen how the program of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals helped my younger sister maintain the dignity of life in her travels at work and her studies. This was leading to her receiving her residency. Is not this the purpose of civilization, the foundation in which it is built?
I have experienced the hopelessness that is connected with being rejected the rights to those basic human necessities in the hometown where we grew up. I have also seen how another sister spent hundreds of dollars for the same rights and was rejected because of a lack of paper evidence, which can hardly be expected to be provided by a young person that was largely discouraged from engaging in society after high-school, like us; a youth that is, after all, without papers.
Still, I mean it with my whole heart when I say, in resonance with the great poet, Langston Hughes, that “America will be”! And that DACA and the development of the Dream Act are the key to protecting the great hope and promise of humanity.
This is a historic opportunity, yet it isn’t a given. We must live up to the best in us and overcome our weaknesses.
“Shouldn’t worry very much”???
We are the most vulnerable.
Immigration is in many senses the direct symptom of disharmony in those two central roles which the U.S. President suggests have no bearing on his decision as to DACA’s future.
How can we be expected not to worry?
As things stand, it sounds more like the anesthesia before a silent execution.
When the leader in charge of executing the vision of our ideals dismisses the role of Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, there is reason to question. Are not natural disasters, domestic or international terrorism, and the justice of legal affairs and law enforcement most deeply related to immigration reform?
If youth who were brought here as children, both by the systematic influence of international interests and by their predecessors, are held accountable for those crimes – a crime being the only humane grounds for limiting another’s basic rights, like that of free movement, for example – then perhaps every person here who is not of Native descent should just as well inherit the consequence of their predecessors’ illegal immigration, and therefore relinquish their rights as citizens of this land.
A human being oppressed in their inherent responsibility to work, study, and travel in their home?
Should one remain undisturbed and unconcerned?
Can one’s sustenance be so divorced from reality as to reach such senseless isolation from the suffering of others?
The halfhearted reassurance sounds like what Americans said to slaves or native people over and over again.
In fact, the last that the United States government truly upheld any actual expression of humanity in relation to: nature, a fair and clear interpretation of justice for the dignity of life, and immigration, was the American Renaissance. And it wasn’t necessarily upheld in function by the government but by individuals who championed the best of this vast continent.
This was a period which, while at once protecting the most sincere and creative aspiration, also faced the cruel apathy and disregard for life devoid of human rights that surrounded the Civil War. After this era, though there were of course amazing individuals who stood up for human rights, a wrong was done which is built into our governmental framework and has yet to be resolved; an injustice which has slowed the progress of these torch bearers but has by no means extinguished its’ roaring pulse.
While the events cover a broad scope and find roots in the first half of the 19th century, the years of the 1860′s & the varied mosaic of people and movements that were unfolding from coast to coast leading to 1877 are of particular relevance. Since then, it seems, never have we been so divided in this country which is so vital to the survival of Earth and humanity than we are right now; nor so in need of returning to the wisdom, courage, and compassion of that revitalizing humanism offered by leaders like Frederick Douglass with the abolitionists, Henry David Thoreau with the pioneering transcendentalists, and Chief Joseph with the Native people of this continent’s diverse tribes.
As someone who should benefit from DACA but is unable because of the same reason than my sister, my message to Dreamers and their families is opposite of our President:
Work hard, study deeply, and travel broadly with the world as your home!
Earnestly pursue to build peace and seek ways to live in harmony with nature’s ecosystems; secure the actual expression of justice for any civilization, the basis of any legal framework; and be immovable in your resolve to engage in dialogue traveling any length of the United States to protect the precious heritage of human rights, even if it means days and nights on foot, buses, and trains. In this latter plea, you must be more careful than ever: to the U.S. Senators who are proposing paths to citizenship for undocumented students, some have argued that it would only be in exchange for further militarization of the borders.
Is that what you intend to be an American citizen for?
And who would you expect they use for the task?
I for one am happy at the service of this country in an effort to secure world peace and environmental sustainability, yet the behavior of our president and of those who have been overtaken by those self-centered tendencies we all share, seem to imply he will first try and change things by brute force. Considering we are in the nuclear age, I am not willing to support that cold disrespect for the dignity of thousands of young people and their families.
As someone who is denied of basic human rights, for whom DACA represents not only a more certain daily sustenance but a declaration that the basic premise of America still stands strong, it is clear that this broken immigration system needs to change, and that includes securing global borders. Too many private interests benefit from immigrants being in such unstable and stateless condition, and this must absolutely change. However, it cannot be resolved with further militarization; this won’t get to the root of the problem.
Fight for the victory of humanity in the U.S. with all sincerity and goodwill.
Don’t compromise that purpose for any legal procedure that may worsen the root problems that cause unbalanced immigration and suffering for countless people. There stand here human beings seeking to create new ways to surmount the challenges of the 21st century and feel just as strong in the conviction that today’s government, in manners intolerable to our common humanity, still reflect the grave and decisive problems of these historic battles, both the cause and the effect; recognizing that in the midst of the worse domestic conflict were championed human rights for harmony with nature, peace and dialogue, and the corresponding dynamics of homeland and migration. There is hope, but we must not lose sight of the pressing reality and exert ourselves accordingly.
No humane undocumented student who grew up in America, one of us so called Dreamers, at least from the standpoint of living in the Florida Everglades, can feel it justified to be at rest and stagnant – even less to pay for such weak and shallow satisfaction with the ravaging misfortune of the most vulnerable – as long as conflict remains unresolved here, where natural disasters directly influenced by our interrelations will be first to be felt and experienced. This is where the intercultural exchange of the world’s people can for the first time unite in pooling wisdom for: the construction of a truly secure and regenerative civilization, and unprecedented victory of collaborative immigration reform; changing the karma of humanity; an Everglades Renaissance.
I went back to study these champions of American humanism in depth. They had been denied some of the same rights than undocumented students but also had been a central part of that same community. I sought to understand if it was indeed true that support for the DREAM Act today is directly aligned with the heights of American consciousness as I have long felt from first-hand experience.
Here are just a few of my findings:
Frederick Douglass, who freed himself from the heartless machinery of slavery, then went on to fight endlessly for its abolition through the revolutionary power of his voice. Amid dogmatic ignorance, where society blocked his education, he courageously proved that the innate human search for wisdom can triumph over any systematic oppression.
Do not let any circumstance rob you of your joy for learning, that light which strengthens and affirms our humanity. For others to try and extinguish this light is sign of a perverse inhumanity. All people, regardless of background, must continue to learn how to be fully human.
With his ceaseless writing & lecturing – the ever-evolving narration of his invaluable experience – he proved that one who is truly human in their education cannot ever be separated from the earnest endeavor of sharing and reigniting that light in others.
In this act he redefined freedom.
Dreamer, do not give up!
Because he understood slavery as a self-destructive cycle of ignorance, he stood and spoke up to awaken people without prejudice, realizing the “slave owner” was in fact imprisoned in that ignorance about the true dignity of life.
With this compassionate wisdom, I believe, it is he later opposed exodus:
after the Civil War – a marked division in ethical values which was unresolved, and which we feel resurfacing now more than ever since – the African Americans eventually gained citizenship of the United States. However, the discrimination in people’s hearts was still so engraved that talk arose about them migrating out from the south, which arrogantly clung to the supposed “rights” of “property” which they wrongfully claimed.
Frederick called this proposition of exodus “a surrender… since it would secure freedom by migration rather than by protection, by flight rather than by right, by going into a strange land rather than by staying in one’s own.”
Perhaps one may say this can be applied to some of our parents migration but then it also applies to citizens’ predecessors. And don’t forget that by this time the law was supposed to be in motion, that at the cost of many precious lives. It wasn’t like the times when he himself escaped to the north.
Reinforcing his conviction on the power of truth over delusion and his indomitable hope for American civilization, he continued:
“The habit of roaming from place to place in pursuit of better conditions of existence is never a good one, a man should never leave his home for a new one till he has earnestly endeavored to make his immediate surroundings accord with his wishes. The time and energy expended in wandering from place to place, if employed in making him a comfortable home where he is, will, in nine cases out of ten, prove the best investment.”
Dreamer: if you pursue education to realize your full potential as a human being, then do not let any hindrance defeat that noble purpose; even if it seems impossible to afford out-of-state tuition, and having grown up here the limitation feels utterly unreasonable, do not abandon these people who you intend to offer the best of your humanity to!
In the briefest form possible, this is one of the lessons for us. Yet Frederick Douglass saw this liberation of heart and mind as the first step, the original cause to which we must always return, and it pointed in the direction of hands-on work. This is why, when asked what he would offer his people, he spoke of practical training as a means to secure one’s livelihood, independent of external industry.
On this subject I will turn to another champion of the American Renaissance: Thoreau. As a citizen of Massachusetts, he embarked on an experiment to live simply, yet by the honest labor of his own hands; he built a home in the woods by Walden Pond and endeavored to live with self-reliance, innovation and in tune with nature. Culminating in his victory to front only “the essential facts of life” he proved that one doesn’t need a lot of material possessions nor to be so dependent on the businesses of society out of empty formality in order to live well or be happy.
In fact he argued that the quality of life can increase by freeing ourselves from those superfluities through our own creativity. He would make one wonder, for example: who was more prosperous? The “civilized man” in a big house owned by his creditors, to whom he is at their mercy? Or the native man with just a small teepee, which he owns and even builds himself, free to travel at any moment and unrestrained by any mortgage?
Of course, unlike the natives, Thoreau had every right as an American citizen. In his case, his humanity led him instead to resist taxes, to protest the government’s support of slavery in an act of civil disobedience, stating that: “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly the true place for a just man is also a prison.”
His journey in Walden reminds us Dreamers who struggle for a work permit that the purpose, even more valuable than just the formality of a job, is to secure our basic sustenance and to have the freedom to then offer the fruit of our effort with profound gratitude to those around us. Nobody can keep us from this. It is the right of every living being to be able to strive to secure their livelihood and find direct connection with the world in our existence. This and his acts of civil disobedience, which reflected much of his lifestyle thereafter, encourage us to rediscover the true meaning of the American dream and why we strive to protect it.
Above all, he understood that true wealth is ecological. Your life’s work is not limited to a work permit! Become indispensable where you stand and continue to forge the path of your unique contribution to the world from your own home.
As young undocumented students, our home in the United States is something that if we leave it’s possible we won’t be able to return to. In that sense, it is like we’re trapped and exiled at the same time. Some of us don’t even know our home countries, some of us do. We feel trapped because if we travel out we won’t be allowed back, exiled either because we are kept from distant family by this restriction or because if we travel out we are then kept from our family here.
140 years ago in 1877 the Native American tribe which the U.S. called the Nez Perces faced this same kind of dilemma. And who would have known? They called themselves Dreamers.
These strong people migrated across the northwest of the U.S. to protect their homeland and their way of life. One of their great leaders was called Chief Joseph, who carried his father’s words to “never sell the bones of your father and mother.”
Their migration was a kind of non-violent strategy where they maneuvered through myriad landscapes to protect their women and children from the military attacks that attempted to take their land and destroy their culture.
Chief Joseph believed the land was “too sacred to be valued by… gold.”
While they vowed to stay there forever, they actually migrated seasonally, as they “followed the growth of plants”.
Here migration was an expression of respect for their homeland and perhaps a tribal model of sustainability.
And yet, they didn’t treasure the land as separate from the people’s relationship to it. In the pursuit, amid some battles, Chief Joseph recognized that if things continued this way they’d end up leaving into the mountains. He made clear the quality of his affection for the land when he shared that, loving his wife and children, he “could not leave them”.
The Nez Perces wandered what authority the U.S. presumed in order to say that they shall not live where the Great Spirit placed them. Learning that their intention was to survive and protect their families while the US military sought to expand profits at their expense, one wonders who was savage and who truly human? Over the course of months the Natives traveled and fought, stuck between their love for their home and for their families’ security.
In constant movement, Chief Joseph did all he could to ease the suffering of his people. The inhumanity of forcing a people to such exhausting migration didn’t bother the U.S., but Chief Joseph could not bear it.
“It is for them I surrender,” he said.
His behavior, far from being a sign of defeat, proved the great capacity of a single human being of integrity to endure hardships for another with heartfelt compassion. It remains a declaration revealing how our respect for the land reflects how one cares for each individual:
“My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food; no one knows where they are – perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find. May be I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more.”
At this point the question arose as to whether the ends justified the means. (*note) Violence lost its’ validity completely as a force for change.
The foreigners couldn’t understand the profound philosophical reality that is the inseparable connection between self and environment. They mercilessly removed and then trapped the Natives in a miserable reservation which “recalled the horrors of Andersonville, a notorious Civil War prison.” Joseph, who’s real name actually means Thunder Traveling to Loftier Mountain Heights, protested:
“We had always lived in a healthy country where the mountains were high and the water was cold and clear”
They received little medical care.
The invaders didn’t realize that “the measure of the land and the measure of our bodies are the same.”
Chief Joseph petitioned the government engaging in dialogue, and “continued to fight with the only weapon left to him.” Realizing how wasteful was the foolishness of violence, especially in the face of the government’s shameless misuse of the law, he extended himself to fight with words, upholding his humanity as a living breathing remonstration.
He was reassured by U.S. citizens that his “story could help the Nez Perces return to their homeland.”
This now meant much more than they had initially understood, I believe, for now they had experienced how their removal from that homeland had compromised their entire way of life. Further, it was a stirring realization of how destructive and much less dignified were the systems the foreigners were aiming to replace their ways with. Especially with regards to the relationship with nature.
He declared the right to live directly connected to the homeland as essential, and highlighted that forcing changes without respect to that right in others was unreasonable, and had no basis for legality:
“I never said the land was mine to do with it as I chose. The one who has the right to dispose of it is the one who had created it. I claim a right to live on my land, and accord you the privilege to live on yours.”
Reformers continued to add their voices pleading for the tribes to be able to live in their homeland, exposing the corruption and fraud of the reservation system. Some tribes were granted asylum; while others, who didn’t, decided to take flight. Joseph, who had migrated and led his people crossing nearly 1,500 miles while eluding frontier soldiers, “would not subject his people to flight again”.
He believed he could awaken the humanity of the general public, and find a legal way for his people to be allowed in their home. There are times when immediate movement is the only way to maintain our humanity, and times when one must be immovable. This is the dynamic rhythm between freedom and equality, grounded on the dignity of life.
“You may as well expect rivers to run backward as that any man who was born a free man should be contented while penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases.”
This is what this great Native American leader stood for. He saw this dynamic between homeland and movement as an inherent right that is as natural as the constant flow of the rivers. At the same time he was stating that to trap people in such way was truly backwards, clarifying the strength of their respect for the land and its’ people.
Criticizing the mistaken disregard for their way of life, he appealed to the humanity of the American people:
“I buried him in that beautiful valley of winding waters, I love that land more than all the rest of the world. A man who would not love his father’s grave is worse than a wild animal.”
As immigrant students, we are unable to truly set roots in the communities we love. On growing up and leaving our parents’ homes we find that we are unwelcome to even rent our own space. And yet at the same time we are unable to travel to fight it: to do so within the country risks deportation, and to do so internationally strictly dismisses and resigns our lives here, for we are unwelcome from coming back in.I
So where does that leave us? Homeless in the place we’ve called our home since we were kids and yet trapped in that state of statelessness.
I do not believe this is what America stands for. Here again Chief Joseph’s words resound with clarity:
“Let me be a free man – free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade when I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself.”
More than a century and a half later, it has become completely clear that the ideals of the United States of America, while upholding the best of the world’s hopes and aspirations, are actually unsustainable and unproductive when devoid of humanism. As young immigrant students, we have families in both the places that are affected by the worldwide maladies emerging from this collective failure and the places that offer great examples of solutions. And yet we nonetheless cherish the U.S. of America as our home. We are most suited to infuse our communities with that renewed humanism required to discover the peaceful construction of a culture reflecting the American dream.
Thinking simply of the Nez Perces for a second, and their methods of migration amid their native land, one can see that freedom and equality could coexist, and thrive, but it took a global discipline and natural spirituality. What is even more revealing, these are virtues that resonate strongly in both the life of Frederick Douglass, who in his time was a Republican, and of Henry D Thoreau.
Those great ideals, which have at large retreated into mere abstraction since then, have the potential to be realized again with a vibrant humanism. This is our mission as young students. The substantial realization and potential contribution of the Dream Act.
Envision a world in which the leading countries’ armed forces are employed only in response to natural disasters. This would be a world in which we are free from the terrorizing choke-hold of nuclear deterrence and where countries may truly work together with mutual respect to their unique contributions. What if instead of having citizens leave their families and the communities they can offer so much to in peaceful ways, we solidify the foundation to unite with the millions of migrants and refugees of the world in an effort to secure humanistic training that will allow them to support relief efforts and live with dignity? Who better to aid people fleeing a natural disaster than those who are here because of such suffering?
I am by no means learned in this field. My hope is just to share that there are other ways of seeing things and that we can find a better way forward.
This kind of humanistic cooperation can serve as a key transitional phase until we are stable enough to be able to start working more immediately on shifting the ways we interact with the environment locally and in between distinct cultures. That is, it is an invaluable resource in these times of chaos as we strive to address the root causes of our world’s problems.
Natural disasters don’t discriminate against political borders; neither does the cycle of violence that spirals out in fear.
Recognizing that our common humanity is the vital element at the source of both, and it is what drives people to migrate as well to lay down roots to protect the dignity of life, then immigration reform can play the decisive role in redirecting the most influential currents of society in the 21st century.
We “Dreamers”, who now more than ever must remain vigilant, in the vanguard pioneering waves of awakening, through such awareness, hold the responsibility to safeguard this treasured hope and enact this humanistic renaissance.
Immigration is much more than what you’ve seen in TV news. It is so fundamentally linked with the world’s most pressing issues. The violence which at its roots is nuclear deterrence is as grave a violation of human rights and a corrupt form of oppression as slavery.
Except this is not limited to race but is more in respect to the dimension of life: at the level of whether we have the right to be alive.
This is why the humanistic victory of Frederick Douglass is so instructive to us today. Our cowardly silence, which is preceded by a dehumanizing ignorance of life’s dignity, is shared in the apathy of both the aggressor and the aggressed.
It must be overcome by speaking up and causing waves of dialogue and education, the power of language – that which makes us truly human – to ripple and echo in every one of our inner circles.
Douglass’ work is so deeply encouraging that, even though I’ve felt so misled and discouraged from engaging in education, I still see how pressing & urgent it is for us to seek, to really study how to reach better ways to communicate the content of that humanity; to express truth in an awakening that dispels our innate ignorance about the dignity of life, defining better ways to express that with more clarity, to uplift the understanding of ourselves and the people around us.
This which Frederick did, along the other pioneers, is just the kind of vigor, creative initiative, and earnest exertion that we need to exhibit in order to abolish the terrorizing slavery of nuclear deterrence. That breadth of character that boldly challenges all preconceptions and courageously vanquishes fear with profound gratitude and wisdom will be key to abolishing nuclear weapons. And this is the most crippling effect of our diseased systems, the root which in fact spans the innermost crux of human rights, both as in the story of immigration of the native people as in every common certainty, anything we feel is guaranteed; it spans every guarantee and possession of the society we’ve been continuously rebuilding in nature. It is at the root of natural disasters and the rampant degradation of Earth’s resources.
The abolition of nuclear weapons will address both the root cause of human rights as with the native people’s migration and the immigration happening in this continent as well as the construction and reflection of those human rights and the actual society built in nature.
And so it will be key to resolving the natural crises, in terms of the level of pollution and destruction and degradation as well as the way we respond to natural disasters that happen. What’s really amazing is that that “university without walls”, that grassroots educational movement that is pushed forward by dialogue as was done by Frederick on fighting slavery, is that each one of us can engage in that effort and contribute significantly in our own work places; it doesn’t’ have to be a full time career apart from daily life; it’s just where you are, where you work, where you make a living, where you LIVE.
That inner circle is precisely where that effort needs to be made.
So even though I have no work permit, led by this great champion of the American Renaissance, as well as by Thoreau, I am encouraged to work as hard as I can to put those studies into action, to put that wisdom that opposes the ignorance of slavery into work, into construction, in whichever field, and through that nourishing creativity and innate purpose, to inspire countless others striving in that same field.
That is how education takes its most encouraging and revitalizing role.
And in that regard Thoreau showed us that there is an exponential abundance of wealth in the freedom of that sort of work that, because it is in harmony with nature, respects others with the same potential.
You can say Thoreau worked to his heart’s content; he worked as hard and as calm or at rest as he chose every single day. It was directly connected with nature that he built his home and then his world, his inner circle. And yet as fulfilling as that life was, it wasn’t so overbearing, self-centered, or greedy as to take that right from anyone else.
In fact, when our love for our homes is based on respect for the biodynamic rhythms of that specific ecosystem, our love is not something that is like a leech that just drains and depletes the potential and the life of that sector.
Instead it is a more unattached touch but just as close – or closer than – any other kind of modern society.
It is like running water, it is. Because it is so in touch as to purify it through its movement, to give it life and keep it moving, and yet it is unattached, it will continue – running water. While it purifies, it doesn’t abuse its’ connection until it reaches depletion. In that sense, perhaps we can say it’s relation is “selfless”.
And yet what Thoreau constructed was so valuable and lasting. Think about it, even today, people throughout the world could refer to his work, and yet all he did was really treasure his home and live hands-on for sustainability in his own part of Walden Pond. And in regard to that wonderful rhythm that we can think of as a river, in terms of its constant change which is in fact constant, it is prosperous, in its’ dynamic motion, there’s no better example to go back to human rights than Chief Joseph and the Native Americans.
Thoreau’s life is one of complete self-reliance and exhaustive self-fulfillment, it was.
And yet it did not reject those rights in those of others, it did not limit how much others could also exert themselves.
That kind of rhythm is the kind of care for our homeland and the people around us, in our life’s work and in our studies, which is really the height of American thought and humanism in that time of the 19th century around the civil war.
And that kind of rhythm, which we envision as a river, is just the kind of way of life which the so-called Nez Perces, or the People, the Dreamers, upheld. It is what Chief Joseph migrated 1500 miles for eluding the invading foreigners which pursued them. That is what they fought for, that is what they traveled so far for, and it is what they were willing to travel to go back to; both the physical home and their way of life.
I am encouraged by these wonderful peoples’ efforts, to treasure my home here in the United States of America as being so precious. I am encouraged to fight for this home more than ever and to travel any distance of it – the US, my home – to protect our humanity, the dignity of life. Without this there is no freedom, there is no equality.
And together, both dreamers that are undocumented and those who aren’t, here in the Americas, our victory will be a victory of the world, it will be a victory for all of humanity; of every other culture that we carry, which we come from.
That is the wonderful promise and infinite potential of humanity, that is what it embraces, it is its’ full flowering.
I don’t pretend to understand the nationwide situation, but here are some aspects of an action plan from the Florida Everglades…
It is clear to me that humanism is a phenomenon we must keep alive, something we must revitalize through our studies and our efforts at work, the way we treat our home and travels throughout the world. That’s where it’s at, our humanity: by its’ very nature, to exist, it must be revitalized on a steady basis. It is indeed a river. It is life unceasingly moving forward. That current, the very vanguard of that transformative motion, which we as human beings experience in the expansion of our capacity to care for and empathize with one another; the humility that links us in that suffering which we share and that great appreciation that gratitude for being able to overcome it together, is right here in the Florida Everglades.
This slow-moving river, which was more than once discounted as just a swamp – by myself included, coming from the mountains of the Andes – is where these 3 key essential points meet and converge, where we may strike a final blow to the inhumanity which we experienced century after century until today; the inhumanity that we as Dreamers specifically experience firsthand; we who are toe to toe with the outermost symptom and effect of such lack of humanism.
Here in the FL Everglades, with “one more determined dash forward”, we may win the great victory of humanity in harmony with nature. Just as we must all together throughout the world overcome and free ourselves from the chokehold of the slavery which is nuclear deterrence, we must free this precious river from that prison which is south of Lake Okeechobee in the form of big industry.
We are compromising water, the most elemental resource for survival or life, for something must less essential, something which at length is just profit of a few. Not to mention the production is of an item that causes the kind of illness that produces an oppression in the main vein beneath the heart which is quite like the industry is to the river.
Over 7or 8 million people get their water from the Everglades. Should something like the hurricane that happened this summer in Houston and the Southeast of Texas happen, we would be in much worse shape; even more so those without the rights to basic means and the instability that is born from them. In the long run, as well, we are exposed to feel, for example, the water rising from climate change.
There is an irony to karma, which means action, that we who have tried to drain this river to be able to place these kind of self-serving industries are threatened with water rising, flooding, water just taking over.
That we can be surrounding by this water without any with the quality to actually drink, is to me a perfect representation of the lack of respect for the dignity of life which we showed by sacrificing an ecosystem that produces life, the water of life, for some less essential profit industry.
We must all see that humanity is more important than economy. And that ecology is a better structure, and potentially more so if enriched with true and renewed humanism. Just like Thoreau had to build his own world based on that realization, we can make these FL Everglades, through systems like agroecology and biodynamic agriculture, truly the most amazing place on the Earth.
It could be a model for sustainability and intercultural exchange; a model of new humanism for the whole world. How mystic that there are people who in fact migrate like the native people once did:
I heard of one man in Jupiter FL who has an amazing home, and he in fact is what they call a snowbird.
But he only comes – according to his neighbor – to stay in and play games or watch TV, to waste and just eat away.
The rest of the time that huge house is left useless. When they’re there they have no contribution except for some specific consumer spending, it has no contribution to the actual ecosystem, the community itself. And while they are away, it’s just that, a big empty building; a big space with no value being created.
That is the way some people spend their days in and out of the Everglades.
This is an insult to the many migrant birds of our beautiful home, which wade closely and dive directly in the waters of our broad river.
But when one looks to Chief Joseph and the leaders of many other tribes, like that of Sitting Bull, Little Crow, Black Kettle, or the Iroquois in the NY area, one finds they did migrate but it was with respect to the ecological system.
If we can orchestrate a kind of emigration reform that mirrors more the values and principles of these native American people than the misconception of assuming that nature is at our disposal in colonial western thinking – if we do – then the FL Everglades could truly be a capital for the world. The US will be in its rightful place within the world, proving that “it meant all it had said” and confirming that “the pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.” Then, every continent will play a major role with their unique contributions according to their ecology and culture.
And we can claim that victory here through such Everglades Renaissance.
As we face the prospect of another hurricane making landmark again this week, people’s concerns vary widely from around the different hemispheres of this Earth. With the second hurricane this summer already in motion towards the Americas, some people speak lightly of how it may enter the Caribbean before it “hits us” as if it were some recourse at their disposal.
“Will it hit Florida?”
“What if it spins into the Gulf again?”
“It may be pushed back up northeast.”
“Couldn’t it be drawn back into the Atlantic?”
I wonder when we will understand that we share the struggle of peace and justice in the world.
Consider the mosaic of cultures that surround the Gulf and how those unique gifts can directly contribute to the protection and regeneration of our common ecosystems. In Florida, which appears to have more economical wealth than most of the region, we should be able at this crucial moment to offer our fellow living beings in the southeast of Texas our full support. To the point we’ll declare: “I hope the storm won’t move into the Gulf! They are at a critical state, not to mention the many vulnerable immigrants there, and another blow would be beyond disastrous. Even if it means us facing difficulty, I hope we can act as a shield for our people in Houston; as of now, we can still evacuate at large here if the hurricane is deflected our way”.
Should we concentrate our energies to build sustainable communities that respect and innovate based on nature’s rhythms while uniting our multifaceted strengths and characters, we will find ways for regional collaboration that allows us to truly lead the world in securing the prosperity and integrity of our ecological resources.
This is truly lasting & sustainable value.
This shared responsibility is our most enduring and resilient property and heritage.