Saturday, July 21, 2012

Oil Boom

Many of my favorite childhood memories are of being outside. My dad, teaching me how to be silent as we watched a herd of deer in a beautiful green meadow in the mountains of Colorado; playing imaginary worlds by the river that ran by our home in North Carolina; finding snakes under rocks in Florida; making sand castle villages in California, Texas, and Florida; and as I’ve come to be an adult, spending time on Palomar Mountain with my children by the most crystal clear river one can ever imagine; walking through Yellowstone, or simply sitting at my counter watching the deer gently walk by my house… all times when mother earth and I touch one another’s souls. 

I am not an economist nor am I skilled in the art of organizational business. In fact, if you know me at all, you would discover that money, financial management, and structural understanding are not my gifts, but I do understand people. I understand our need for love, security, warmth, acceptance..and I understand our greed, selfishness, our ability to work from a broken center that we all have, whether we like to admit it or not. I understand that we are a mixture of goodness and woundedness and to try to deny the woundedness simply ignores the human potential to hurt others and the world in which we live. 

The economy…everyone has an opinion on how to fix it, how to “create jobs,” how to make sure that the American dream of make and spend stays intact and it seems that the oil boom is one more tactic within this conversation; however, I am not so sure people realize some of the “hidden effects” if you will, of this boom.

Those of us who love the earth talk much about the natural devastation of this boom, but hidden in the background is a social devastation. The people in western North Dakota are in a social crisis because their homes, their lands are being taken over by big money with no regard for the people who love to look out their kitchen window to watch the deer walk gently by.

I have lived in big urban areas, I have lived in small country towns, I have lived in places where construction was everywhere, building, hammering, pounding, and I have seen the differences that the people in these areas hold. The worldviews that are different, the social understandings that are different, theology, politics, all the things that make us a people of a diverse society.  When a massive social change happens as quickly as the change in North Dakota with the big oil companies coming in and taking over, I cannot imagine what the inner spirits of the people who call ND home are feeling. There have to be feelings of grief, loss, fear…a loss of identity! 

We are spiritually tied to our land. There is a theology of “Place’ whether we believe in a “God” or not because we are innately tied to the places we call home. Sights, sounds, smells, all speak to us of memory, identity, self. 

Going home to California as we drive down the San Bernardino Mountains, I begin to see the ocean and pieces of myself come alive. I cannot imagine what the people of North Dakota are experiencing as they helplessly watch the beauty of their home being destroyed by big oil and now big oil is coming to South Dakota….it will infiltrate all areas of our lives…  

Kristi McLaughlin

No comments: