Goodbye, Caribou.

Via Linda Lewis
on May 21, 2013
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“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

The Oil Sands of Alberta, Canada.

The caribou, or reindeer, of Canada used to migrate throughout the North from New Brunswick to Alberta and beyond through the boreal forests to what used to be called the Northwest Territories.

Now in Alberta, only five percent of the boreal forest survives—a thin corridor for the caribou and other migrating animals. Nothing much survives when the rich and colorful boreal forest full of bird song, wildlife and a variety of plant species is stripped down to naught but tar sands—a bleak, black and lifeless environment.

But not silent, for the machinery of destruction roars and grinds day and night.

Some of the machines are so monstrous, there’s an engine for each gigantic tire. So, even when not in use, the huge machines are left to idle, as it’s deemed easier than having to start up the engines one by one. And the bare, black sands are left lit with spotlights at night—a surreal scene not found in nature. And, why? To satisfy human greed and convenience.

Yet given the interdependence of everything animate and inanimate, what lasting happiness can be bought with such destruction? Certainly not a cottage by a lake; the remaining lakes are being polluted. Certainly not a riverbank from which to swim or fish; the fish are dying and it’s not safe to swim in those waters.

Can money buy or replace what nature has already offered us?

Because the Harper government of Canada has drastically reduced protection to waterways and lakes, the First Nations are alarmed as this has been done on their reserves without consultation. Nor have Canadian citizens been consulted.

Can the dirtiest source of oil justify this? Please do not be seduced by those like Prime Minister Harper who say pipelines are the answer.

Unless the answer you are looking for is black and bleak.

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Ed: T. Lemieux/Kate Bartolotta


About Linda Lewis

Linda Lewis met the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1972 and, following Rinpoche’s invitation, immediately moved to Boulder, Colorado to be a part of his young and vital sangha. The predominant themes in her life have been teaching in contemplative schools–Vidya, Naropa, and the Shambhala School in Halifax, Nova Scotia–and studying, practicing, or teaching his Shambhala Buddhadharma wherever she finds herself.


11 Responses to “Goodbye, Caribou.”

  1. Linda V. Lewis says:

    I'm writing from Nova Scotia, Canada. Polar bears are heading south where more people live, like your cousins, because the arctic ice is melting. The caribou are trapped NW + NE because their boreal forest migratory conduit has diminished and they can hear the roar of the oil sands machinery, which spooks them. By the way, Eskimo is an insulting term: it means "fish eater". Try Innuit.
    I appreciate the environmentalists of Boulder past and present. You can thank them for sane vision–for things like the Green Belt that everyone enjoys.

  2. Ana Lydia says:

    Linda I have the same concept about the nature reserve and wild animals which we are destroying on with our bare hands. No doubt, our greedy and materialistic approach ill ruin the entire planet one day. So better wake up now and do something to protect the wilderness.

  3. Linda V. Lewis says:

    Inuit. I stand corrected. But I do not think I know better than natives or First Nations. I have great respect for them. Please check out the 5 Idle No More articles I have written. Although the term "Eskimo" may be used loosely among the native people, I have been corrected, being yes white, that I should use the term Inuit.

  4. Linda V. Lewis says:

    Thank you.Let's share our appreciation of wildlife and wilderness and spread awareness of things like the oil sands that do so much more than "encroach" upon them. The gradual, steady stealing of wild land and thus the eradication of so much wildlife comes at the expense of all of us for the greed and great profit of a few. If we invested in wind, solar, and alternate systems of power we could benefit many beings, not just human.

  5. river says:

    thanks Linda for an insightful and truthful article meant to wake us up from our unconscious and devastating greed and selfishness. This kind of devastation of our environment and wildlife affects us all – native or white – all of us are affected. If any of us hope to have clean air, water, decent soil to grow real food, and any wildness left for the other sentient beings on this planet to live and grow we had better wake up fast. I hope people will take the time to educate themselves on this issue and the many other environmental catastrophes happening at alarming rates all over the world. And thank you for standing up for these issues in spite of the quibbling and resistance you will find everywhere.

  6. clarrisa says:

    Who cares? They won’t let me play in their games anyway.
    Forests are scary.

  7. Linda V. Lewis says:

    Really?! You've got to be kidding! When was the last time you walked in the woods or sat under a tree? Or climbed one?

  8. Linda V. Lewis says:

    Ah, I get it–you're really Rudolf the red-nosed Clarissa. Forgive me–I'm slow at 67 1/2!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Your kindness stands out. That, in itself, is a step in the right direction. When I see the kind of human interactions that occur online, I don't find it odd that we have trouble interacting kindly with our environment. Thank you for speaking out and for continuing to try to interact with those who react from places of anger, apathy, and a non-understanding of the interconnectedness of all beings.

  10. Linda V. Lewis says:

    Thanks River. Let's vote Harper out + say NO to pipelines and fracking!

  11. Linda V. Lewis says:

    Thanks. I'll post an update in a month or so.