My Turn: When the time for action is past, look to the present and future


Published: 7/28/2021 10:06:57 AM

No peaceful summer on this unique planet.

      The dire effects of pollution from endless growth are hitting rich countries with some of the ferocity that drowning Pacific Islands and melting Arctic communities have experienced for years.

It was all predicted, even by corporations causing much of the problem (think Exxon-Mobil). But the harsh reality coming was denied and covered up by companies and their politicians profiting from continued fossil fuel development, including production of oil-derived plastics.

But it’s harder to deny the realities of the climate crisis now. A year’s worth of rain falls in a single day in Zhengzhou, China; normally peaceful rivers become raging destroyers, as in parts of Germany and Western Europe.

The Bootleg fire in southern Oregon has raged for weeks as an historic heatwave cooks the West. Clouds of polluting smoke from multiple fires swirl across the country.

Yesterday a smart and creative woman I know told me: “It’s over! It’s too late.”

But how can we live that way? As a gardener, I know that when the effort is made to save local plants and make room for flowers that pollinators love and need they’ll come! And flourish, along with healthy birds and crops, while making a space of beauty and enjoyment.

“None of us can do everything, but everyone can do something!” As someone who really would like to “do everything,” I appreciated these parting words from Sunderland organizer Susan Triolo to the 70-plus people assembled on the bridge over the Connecticut River to mark the May 25th first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.

So what now? Truth is, the time for action is both past, present – and future.

In our special, lovely region we have much to work with and for. We are called on to protect lands that nourish thousands with local agriculture, trees that hold carbon, waters that could be full of fish again. Learning from the original inhabitants here.

The time for individual action for climate protection is never past, but personal efforts are at most symbolic at this point if we do not also confront and stop the fossil fuel, fracking, transportation and industrial agriculture industries.

Highest priorities now are stopping construction of dangerous oil pipelines that threaten the ecological future of native tribes living with and protecting their land and waters.

On July 19, after eight years of opposing the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline in northern Minnesota, seven women were arrested for protesting continued construction. One was Honor the Earth founder Winona LaDuke, who as a college student in Boston in the late 1970s opposed the twin nuclear reactors planned for Seabrook, N.H., on a Native American burial site.

Beyond protecting the earth from dangerous energy projects, Winona has led solar power, wild rice and other local food development with the White Earth Land Recovery Project (see their website).

Beyond our local area, is the Holy Cow of U.S. economic and foreign policy: the U.S. military.

Its role as a climate destroyer? As Neta C. Crawford of Boston University wrote in her 2019 study (available online), “Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War”:

…”the DOD is the world’s largest institutional user of petroleum and correspondingly, the single largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world… The US military’s energy consumption drives total US government energy consumption. The DOD is the single largest consumer of energy in the US…”

The dangers we face as residents of the U.S. and planet Earth cannot be prevented by continued military adventures, nuclear weapons or closing national borders. We need all the resources now dedicated by both major political parties to the military rededicated to protect and restore our lands, water and people too.

Let’s support our youth’s demands for a safe, solar-based future. Let’s Honor our Homelands, and learn more about preventing industrial solar on agricultural and forest lands at the Energy Park rally in Greenfield on Saturday, July 31, 1-4 p.m.

Then join the Saturday, Aug. 7 vigil on the Greenfield Common, with our 11 a.m. to noon focus on remembering the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 76 years ago, demanding: “Weapons into Windmills.”

Anna Gyorgy lives in Wendell and is currently communications coordinator for the Traprock Center for Peace & Justice, at

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