tv Earth Focus LINKTV April 2, 2022 6:00am-6:31am PDT
>> this year, it is particularly joyful for me to be able to welcome back to "bioneers" several women who have been incredibly important as friends, inspirations, and role models to me. among them, none has been more influential and inspiring my life's journey than terry tempest williams. [cheers and applause] yeah. terry is a naturalist, author, educator, artist, and activist. she's one of the greatest engaged nature writers in the
lineage of john muir, aldo leopold, rashal carson, gary schneider, war barry lopez, and thoreau. her work which includes a dozen extraordinary books transcends any pigeonholes. her latest book of essays which is just out called "erosion" is -- meets us exactly at the nexus of this moment. terry is in fact one of the greatest writers period with the countless literary awards she has received and their testament to that. coming from a culture that's encouraged us to specialize, to confine our purview, and interests in one direction, terry's writing has inspired me to slough off that conditioning and to instead embrace all my curiosities and passions. the unfettered wildness of her
mind and heart have modeled for me a kind of systems thinking that wraps her arms around the whole caboodle linking the inner experience with the outer world while exploring the connections among art, ecology, women, politics, social healing, democracy, wild lands, family, and faith. she's long been a passionate advocate and activist for peace , indigenous rights, environmental and social justice, women's health and freedom of speech and one of the most ardent defenders of wild lands, especially the transsedgets beautiful red rock canyon -- transsedgets beautiful red rock canyon country of her home state of utah. she is a woman who contains many paradoxes someone who gracefully reconciles her family's deep ancestral roots in the earliest days of utah's
church of latter day saints with a thoroughly modern exquisitely refined sophisticated sensibility of the sacred. someone who can testify passionately but politely before congress one day but get arrested in an act of principled civil disobedience on the next. she is a naturalist, scholar, and beloved professor. but also a wanderer, a sublime poet, and artist, and a desert mystic. through it all, terry has taught me how to transcend parent polarities that by linking paradoxes we can hope to define healthy, whole systems to regenerate life itself. she's taught me how to dance with duality, to reclaim wholeness. with all that she is, i must knit that she has had the greatest impact on me in how she is as a person herself.
her embodied essence, her purposeful presence, her radiant authenticity, and the unshakable dignity, humility, and nobility of soul that emanates from the core of her being, we all know we're living in incredibly challenging times with the integrity of the entire biosphere and the survival of us and all our kindred species and our democracy hanging in the balance. there's never been a time in which we need to hear and read voices, who can show us how to see and feel the truth without turning away. acknowledge our pain while embracing life with love, and resist wrongs with every fiber of our being. but never lose our humanity and compassion in the struggle. please welcome one of my greatest sheroes and friends, terry tempest williams.
>> it is a privilege and humble joy to join you today in the name of all that binds us together. in this beautiful, broken world. and to the miwac people, thank you. deep, deep gratitudes, erosion, evolution, we are eroding and evolving at once. all souls come here to rub the sharp edges off each other. this isn't suffering. it's erosion. truck polinik. i come from an erosional landscape in the red rock desert of southeastern utah. to the south, rises the lasalle mountains, 12,000 feet high. to the north, is the colorado river, running red, carrying the sediments of sandstone down river. to the west is porcupine rim that holds the last light of
day. and to the east, is castleton tower rising from the ground floor, 400 feet tall. wind gate sandstone, one of the largest free-standing towers in the world. eroding. this past summer, geeologists from the university of utah detailed the natural vibration of this sandstone tower. they enlisted two climbers to place seisometer at the bottom of the tower and place another at the top. they wanted to listen to stone. what they found surprised them. this from science news in the bulletin of the seismological society of america was published last month, quote, at about the same rate that your heart beats a utah rock
formation called castleton tower vibrates keeping time and keeping watch over the sandstone desert. swaying like a sky scraper, a red rock tower taps into the deep vibrations of the earth. wind, waves, and even far off earthquakes. quote, we often view such grand and prominent land forms as permanent features of our landscape when in reality they are continue us toly moving and evolving. says riley finnegan a graduate student and co-author of this paper. lastly, most people are in awe of its static stability and its dramatic free-standing nature perched at the end of a ridge overlooking castle valley said the geeologist jeff moore who led the study. it has a kind of stoic power in its appearance. moore and his colleagues studied the vibrations of rock structures including arches and bridges so this isn't unique to
castleton tower. they just chose to focus on castleton tower. to understand what natural forces act on these structures, they also measure the rock's resonance. the way the structures amplify the energy of earth that passes through them. castleton tower has a pulse. for those of us living in the valley, what we have intuited has been confirmed. castlerock is alive. let's take this next few minutes and i just want us to listen to the pulse of earth. castleton tower.
the earth has a pulse. as do we. no separation. our pulse, the pulse of earth, castleton tower is relational. born out of love and grief, disturbance and stillness at once. there are no beautiful surfaces without a terrible depth, nicha. to commit to a place is to commit to the shadow side of our own home ground. sometimes we see it. sometimes we don't. but when we do we must speak. on december 28, 2016, barack obama established a national
monument protecting 1.3 million acres of fragile desert lands. he heard the voices of the navajo e. the hoppe, the mountain yute, the zuni nations. he heard them. these lands are sacred. where their prayers are spoken. where their ancestors are buried. where flair ceremonies are performed. it was a handshake across history. a renewal, a commitment, of trust. less than a year later, donald trump by executive soared eviscerated bears ears national monument. by 85% suspect cut grand staircase esclante in half. those sacred lands are now open for business to oil and gas development, to coal mining, to uranium mining. a boone to the fossil fuel industry. in the midst of the climate crisis.
this is my home. what is beauty, if not stillness? what is stillness if not sight? what is sight if not an awakening? what is an awakening if not now? the american landscape is under assault. by an administration that cares only about themselves. working behind closed doors, strategically undermining environmental protections that have been in place for decades and they are getting away with it. in practices of secrecy, in deeds of greed, in acts of violence, that are causing pain. like many, i have compartmentalized my state of mind in order to survive. like most, i have also compartmentalized my state of utah. it is a violence hidden that we all share. this is the fallout that has entered our bodies. nuclear bombs tested in the desert. boom. these are the uranium left on the edges of our towns where
children play. the war games played and nerve gas stored in the west desert. boom. these are the oil and gas lines, frack lines, to the basin, boom. this is anis and montezuma creek, the oil patches on indian lands, boom. gut bears ears. boom. cut grand staircase escalante in half, boom, and other wild place that's easier to defend than my own people and species, boom. the copper mines i watch expand as a child, huntington and kenakot, boom. the oil refineries that foul the air and blacken our lungs, in salt lake city, our children's lungs, boom. and the latest scar on the landscape to tar sands mine in the book cliffs, closed, now hidden, simply by its remoteness, boom. and the desert where trains stop to settle the radioactive waste carry on to blanding and remove the uranium tailings and
bury it still hot in the alkaline desert, out of sight, out of mind, boom. see the traces of human indignities on the sands near topaz mountain left by the japanese interment camps, boom. president donald j. trump can try to eviscerate bears ears and grand staircase he is ca atlanta i monuments with -- escalante and stand tall with other white men who for adjudications have exhumed, looted and profited from the graves of ancient wunds. they will tell you bears ears belongs to them. boom. [applause] consider a rin hatch's words, support of the bears ears national monument. the indians he said they don't fully understand a lot of things. that they are certainly taking for granted on these lands. they won't be able to do it if it's made clearly into a monument. and when he was asked to give
examples, the senator said, just take my word for it. boom. this is a story, of pat ronizing story a. condescending story and i see my politicians and frontier mormons discounting the tribes once again calling them laymanites. the rebel yuns ones against god, dark skinned and cursed, racism is a story the book of mormon is a story. boom. perhaps our greatest trauma living in the state of utah is the religiosity of the mormon patriarchy that says you have no authority to speak. women, indians, black people, brown people, gay people, tr a. ns people, it is only the chosen ones who hold the priest over us and counsel us that their only way to heaven is through them. boom. all my life i was told i could not speak. that i had no voice.
no power, except through my father or my husband or my bishop or the general authorities and then there was the prophet, boom. i refused to perpetuate this lie. this myth, this abuse, called silence. if birds had a voice, so did i. i would tell a different story. one of beauty, and abundance and what it means to be alive. environmental racism is the outcome of bad stories. a byproduct of poverty in utah, yellow cake has dust the lips of navajo uranium workers for decades who are now sick or dead. boom. there is no running water in westwater. a reservation town adjacent to blanding, located -- municipalities which reduce to provide navajo families with the a basic right, a human right, boom. but we are not prejudiced. boom. if you speak of these crulets, we as mormons i am a mormon, our -- are seen as having
betrayed sour roots and our people, these are my people. boom. this is is who i am. boom. a white woman of privilege born of the covenant i am not on the outside, i am on the inside. boom. it is time to look in the mirror and reflect on the histories that are mine, that are ours. boom. we are being told a treacherous story that says it is an individual's right, our hallowed state's right, our nation's right, to destroy what is common to us all, the earth has a pulse. we have a pulse. no separation. the land beneath our feet, the water we drink, the air that we bring, gifts, breathes, our
bodies and the body of the state of utah are being violated. our eyes are closed, our mouths are sealed. we refuse to see or say what we know to be true. utah. this nation is a beautiful silence. boom. do we dare to see ourselves for what we are? broken and beautiful? do we dare to see utah for what it is, an elegant toxic landscape where the power of oppression rules by repression? are proving grounds of fear. what are we afraid of? exposure. boom. our denial is our collusion, our silence is our death, the climate is changing, we have a right and responsibility to protect each other. resistance and insistens before the law. we are slowly dying. we are ignoring the evidence.
awareness is our prayer. engagement is our prayer. beauty will prevail. native people are showing us the way. it is time to heal these lands and each other by what, by calling of them sacred. may a raven cross over us in ceremony and may we recognize our need of a collective blessing by earth. may we ask forgiveness for our wounding of land and spirit. and may our right relationship to life be restored as we work together toward a survival shared. a story is awakening. many stories are awakening. we are part of something so much larger than ourselves. an interconnected whole that stretches upward to the stars. coyote in the desert, is
howling in the darkness. calling forth the pack. lifting up the moon. we are eroding, we are evolving together. this is the place we create from. with love, with courage, in grief, and with anger. what do we do with our anger? with a name like tempest i can tell you i don't have a lot of hope. [laughter] but i have sought wisdom from my elders, the elders that we live near, willie gray eyes, a community organizer, who now is a county commissioner in a navajo majority in san juan county, utah. [applause] when he was told that he was not a resident of the state of utah, that it was an illegitimate election from an
illegitimate candidate, his family have lived in navajo mountain for adjudications. when they asked what right he has to the state of utah, he simply said my umbilical cord is buried here. when i asked willie what do we do with our anger? and he said terry, it can no longer be about anger. it has to be about healing. going to the source of our pain, and recognizing it. owning it. apologizing for it. embracing it. with a commitment to change. and when i asked jonah yellow man, a medicine person among the dinne what he was seeing, he said terry, we have to go deeper. and so i ask us together what does that look like for each of
us? each of us in our own places with our own gifts in the places we call home. and evangi gray, a medicine woman fighting for water rights for her people in san juan county for 30 years still no water. she says to dwell is to see things as they are. and then you sta stay and fight for those things that you see for your community. it is a privilege, she said. we are eroding and evolving at once. perhaps jonah's call to go deeper is a call to acknowledge the power that resides in the earth itself. the organic intelligence inherent in deserts and forests, rivers and oceans and all manner of species beyond our own even within our own bodies, we cannot create wild
nature. we can only destroy it. and in the end, in breathtaking acts of repentance and renewal try to restore what we have thoughtlessly removed at our own expense be it wolves in the yellowstone or fly catchers along the colorado river. we are eroding and evolving at once. how do we find the strength to not look away at all that is breaking our hearts? hands on the earth, we remember where the source of our authentic power comes from. we have to go deeper. what has been weth -- weathered and whittled away, erosion, essence, we are eroding and einvolving twins. the 14th century buddhist poet shinron said this happened. now something else can occur.
we need not lose hope. we just need to locate where it dwells. to dwell is to see things as they are, and then you stay and fight for the things you love in your own community. castle top tower -- castleton tower has a pulse. we have a pulse. the pulse of the planet is in our hands. engagement is a prayer. boom. o7ñ;ñ;?k■x■xacomomomomom'x'xbxb/ food production is e