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Walking for a Change of Heart: The compassionate earth walk

A group of people will be walking through the Great Plains, along the proposed Keystone XL route, for three months this summer, July-September. We hope to make connections with communities along the way; contact with resilience groups would be particularly appreciated.

This walk was started by the earth, through me. When the vision came, I didn't run away. It was during a monastic retreat just 2 months after my first arrest over the tar sands. The vision persisted and got stronger. If I ignored it my life would be impossible. The vision involved a group of people walking along the pipeline route.

We walk in response to climate change and in gratitude for the earth which has given freely to us for so long. We walk as an act of healing both symbolic and literal, including healing of the walkers, the land, the communities impacted by the pipeline, and the whole human consciousness of separation.   
 
Personally, I walk as a grandmother, a permaculturist, and a Zen priest. As a grandmother, I cannot look into the children's eyes without thinking of the world we are leaving them – and the millions of children already being harmed by climate change and industrial poisoning. As a permaculturist, I know that much could be done – and that, collectively, we are not doing it. As a Buddhist, I understand that this situation – caused by a consciousness that separates human from nature and each human from the other – is known as suffering and there is a way out. As a priest, consciousness change is my job.
 
The walkers will start with a retreat and then joining the Fourth Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk, an indigenous-led walk on July 6.  We will then drive to Hardisty, Alberta, where the pipelines go in every direction, and where the KXL will start if it is built. We'll walk on roads near the pipeline route, asking food and shelter where we can, otherwise camping; we'll live together as spiritual community (interfaith), and interact with local people and communities as much as possible, offering service and education wherever welcome.
 
We ask your support and help. Here's what that could look like:
 
I became conscious about climate change about the time my third grandchild was born. I am walking to not betray my grandchildren.
 
There is a vow to stop climate change. I didn't take this vow; it took me.
 
There are so many valuable things to do in our local communities, every day, making small changes. But the world is beginning to burn, and the large forces push us further into the fire every day. This is one attempt to act on that large scale, to move human consciousness in the other direction, back in the direction to which we were born and which we have forgotten.
 
I consider that the Walk belongs to two great movements: the resistance against that which would destroy all life on earth for what they call civilization, and the great regeneration of agriculture and community based on the gifts of the earth. We are between them and of both of them.
 
The walk is a prayer, a ceremony, an act of sending love to the earth – which includes all of us. I believe that the act of walking consciously will give something back to the earth, even if there is no other result.
 
Thanks.
Shodo Spring
 

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