We Need A Commons to Survive


The Indian nations at the Sioux Standing Rock anti DPL encampment, state they are there to peacefully protect the water. They call water the basis of life which it is. Astronomers scan the universe for signs of water. Unstated and possibly not admitted, we all seek the source of life from which we come and the planets are our nearest outpost.

The Missouri River which flows into the Mississippi is the water that the DPL corporation wants its pipe to cross. Currently  the number of estimated crossings is 5. This company which claims safety has undergone at least 200 recent pipe breaks which leak oil in huge quantities. Underwater leakage, is hard at first to see and then harder to fix. Newspapers claim that the Sioux are concerned about the drinking water for their reservation. This representation is dismissive. It eliminates the 18 million mostly non-Indian  people who live downstream.

There is an American Indian saying that one should look into consequences of one’s action up to the 7th generation. The 7th generation is not to be taken literally. It means for the good of all who follow. This expresses the meaning of the Commons, land which is owned by none and there for all.

To dig up what can be sold and seriously pollutes the earth,  is founded on a short-sighted and extremely destructive philosophy. It is the narrow-minded philosophy of extractive corporations. Natural gas which is liked by Hillary stimulates earth quakes. The frequently stated, even by Obama, “clean coal” is never is clean. People who breathe coal dust-polluted air develop asthma and other diseases. Miners develop Pneumoconiosis from coal dust which destroys their lungs. People living downhill from the excavation  drink from sludge-polluted streams. Their homes beset by landslides. To the corporate mind, these consequences are unintended so do not count. What counts is, “how much are you making?” What matters is making profit.

Companies fear they will be tossed aside if we switch to biodegradable sources of power: to the sun and wind and geothermal and waves, so are fighting to keep control. They know that a switch to biodegradable renders their not yet dug up product worthless. They get congress to endorse wars to get more of it. They pay for propaganda “wars” to keep people’s allegiance to what they now are using.

The idea of an individual or even worse, a company owning land is anti-life. Chief Leonard Crow Dog at the DPL, responded to the soldier’s representative Wesley Clark, Jr’s. request for forgiveness for all the damage done to the Indians, first said, “World peace,”  then said, “We don’t own the land. The land owns us.”

This is the meaning of the Commons. All is cared for: young and old. Water purity is maintained. Plants are grown to eat, for herbal medicine, for beauty, for their own sake. Trees are kept standing for their beauty and their shade, also to create create oxygen.  No harm done. We do not think this way in a society based on profit. As long as we live in terror of our stock losing value, our lives are increasingly at risk. The 6th great extinction is happening. For the first time, the young are living shorter lives than did their parents even though they have more “stuff.” Stuff does not create life. Stuff devours it. Being hypnotized into feeling we lack something leads us on. Instead of buying or planning to buy, especially on credit, we need to make music, to tell stories, to farm together, to share the cooking and eating as a festive event. Our current religion seems to be going to the mall. Instead we need to care for the Commons and make life our church.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s