We Need A Commons

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 destination.

The Missouri River which flows into the Mississippi is the water that the DPL wants its pipe to cross. Currently,  the number of planned crossings is 5. This company which claims safety has had at least 200 recent pipe breaks. These breaks leak oil in huge quantities. Underwater leaking is hard at first to see and harder to fix. Newspapers claim that the Sioux are concerned about drinking water for their reservation. This representation is dismissive. It eliminates the 18 million mostly non-Indians 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 owned by none and there for all.

To dig up what can be sold and which seriously pollutes  is a short-sighted and extremely destructive philosophy. The  natural gas liked by Hillary stimulates earthquakes. The frequently stated, even by Obama, “clean coal” is never is clean. People who breathe dust-polluted air develop asthma and other diseases. Miners develop pneumoconiosis from coal dust which destroys their lungs. People living downhill from the mines 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?”

Companies fear they will be tossed aside if we switch to biodegradable sources of power: to sun and wind and geothermal and waves, so are fighting to keep control. They know that a switch to biodegradable renders their not yet extracted produce worthless. They get congress to endorse wars to get more of it. They pay for propaganda to keep people’s allegiance to their produce: e.g. wind and sun can’t do it and other manufactured lies.

The idea of an individual or even worse, a company owning land is anti-life. Chief Leonard Crow Dog at the DPL, responded to 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 life cared for,  the young and the old,   pure water, plants to eat, for herbal medicine for beauty, for their own sake, shading trees which create oxygen; no harm done.

We do not think this way in a society based on the profit  of extraction. 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.

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, to make that our church.

The Commons is about living and sharing. You can have that now.

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