Food for thought. . .

“Does anybody need another million dollar movie?
Does anybody need another million dollar star?

Does anybody need to be told over and over
spitting in the wind comes back at you twice as hard?”

 -Lou Reed

Grandfather is generally a quiet man.  When he speaks, his voice is soft and loving, and his words carry a weight that is often at odds with their brevity.  A couple of weeks ago, during the first round of a sweat lodge ceremony, he reminded us that everything is Spirit.  “When you stub your toe and curse the rock,” he said, “you’re actually cursing Spirit.”  These words, and the lesson they so succinctly convey, have been much on my mind as of late.   

Yesterday afternoon, while sitting down to supper, I became incredibly aware of what the process of eating actually entails.  Our physical bodies break down the physical bodies of other beings and draw from them the energy that sustains us.  This energy transforms into the building blocks of life.  Blood, bone, and skin all come about through the sacrifice of others.  Grass becomes cow.  Cow becomes man.  Man becomes grass.

From this perspective, honoring the food we eat – and recognizing the sacrifice that makes it available to us – is just as important as the process of consuming it.  How we take that energy in – and how we set about using it – has an effect on everything around us.  It reverberates throughout the whole of creation; ripples in the water of Spirit, causing things to grow or decay.

As I write this, oil is spewing into the Gulf at the rate of several thousands of barrels each day.  One executive was quoted as saying that the leak was tiny compared with the size of the ocean.  Any philosophy that assesses environmental disasters in terms such as these is a precarious one.  It seeks to preserve the flow of the dollar and turns its back upon the flow of life.  Animals will die.  Beaches will be contaminated for years to come.   Families will lose their livelihoods. Millions of beings will suffer as a result of this “tiny” leak.

And millions more will sit idly by, watching as it happens. 

Cozied to sleep by American Idol and the news of the latest Hollywood affair, they’ll bury themselves in other people’s lives, and cocoon themselves from the “dreariness of the world” as if they actually believe it is possible to do so; forgetting that even sleeping people die in burning houses.

It is time to accept that our primary responsibility is the honoring of this world and all its inhabitants.  The two-leggeds, the four-leggeds, the many-leggeds, the no-leggeds.  The winged and the finned.  The Tree people and the Stone people.  All our relations with whom we share this beautiful world created for us by our loving grandfather, Tunkashila.

Even now Pachamama reminds us of our duties.   Earthquakes and volcanoes, floods and starvation, disease and rampant extinction.  All these things are warnings no reasonable being can any longer ignore.  We have drilled too deeply, consumed to carelessly, expanded too haphazardly.  Too long have we spit defiantly into the wind.  Soon we may find ourselves incapable of wiping it off. . .


2 Responses to “Food for thought. . .”

  1. The Destructionist Says:

    While watching the latest news about the BP Oil spill, a frightening thought came to mind: what if we can’t stop the oil? I mean, what happens if after all the measures to cap the pipe fail, (i.e., “Top Hat”, “Small Hat” and “Top Kill”). What then? An accident this problematic is new territory for BP. The oil pipeline is nearly a mile down on the ocean floor, accessible only by robots. Add on top of that the extreme pressure at which the oil is flowing out of the pipeline and there you have it: the perfect storm.

    Moreover, scientists also claim that they’ve found an enormous plume of oil floating just under the surface of the ocean measuring approximately 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick. (I’m no math genius, but I bet one of you reading this could figure out just how many barrels of oil that is…)

    There are new estimates that the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico is anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil a day: that’s a far cry from BP’s estimated 5,000 barrels a day. If BP’s estimates are correct, the total amount of oil now in the Gulf would be approximately 150,000 barrels (or 6,300,000 gallons). That’s barely enough to fill 286 swimming pools: sixteen feet, by thirty-two feet, by eight and a half feet deep. That wouldn’t cover an area the size of New York City, let alone an area the size of Delaware. Obviously, the spill is much larger than we are being led to believe. If the leak can’t be stopped, in a year’s time, we’ll have roughly 18,250,000 barrels of oil (or 766,500,000 gallons) in our oceans, killing our marine and animal wildlife. Such a calamity would be environmentally and economically disastrous. Pray that BP and our government work fast to end this catastrophe.


  2. I think the main thing is that we don’t panic. Obviously this is a bad situation. There will be estimates that are too high (coming from environmental groups and anti-fossil fuel activists) and too low (coming from BP and pro-fossil fuel groups).

    Throwing fear into the mix will only make it worse. We, as a society tend to latch onto one thing and run with it. One politician goes down for crooked deals, we assume they’re all bad. Astronomers find one chunk of the Universe that behaves a certain way, the conclusion gets pushed that it ALL works that way.

    Point being this. Once you slice through all the bull, we’ve got a bad leak that will have to be stopped. Private companies are already working on solutions. For example:

    Out of this may come a few things:

    New economic opportunities for companies who deal with things like this.

    A new hard look at the oil industry and it’s practices.

    More of an interest being generated in green technologies.

    A heightened awareness of how our dependence on oil impacts the entirety of our ecosphere.

    A realization of just how far we’ve gone down the road to irresponsible consumerism.

    The list goes on and on. Ultimately, if we’re really lucky, and really unafraid to take a close look at ourselves – especially our greed and lack of consideration for anything but our own lifestyles, this incident may provide the wake-up call that pulls us further in the right direction.

    Hard to say, but I know what I’m praying for…


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