Matthew’s Musings

The January 2018 Refuge gathering was an enjoyable affair. What is better than hearing about, and seeing video of penguins in action?

In the audience was a young professional biologist. In her early teens she had applied for and received money from MRVAC to attend environmental summer camps. She sited these camps as one of the key reasons she chose a career studying and positively impacting our precious environment.

If you are aware of an interested youth, or a program which serves youth, now is the time to submit your proposal! This can be done at or talk to any board member for more details. MRVAC’s mission is to support environmental education with the donation dollars we receive from each of you. Thanks!

It doesn’t seem possible, but the environmental assault seems to have accelerated over the last couple of months. The coastlines have been opened up to unlimited drilling, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been put at risk, multiple national monuments are being opened up to mineral claims, 30% tariffs have been put on imported solar panels, the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty has been degraded in its ability to protect nonhuman beings, and the Polymet environmental review process truncated – all by executive fiat.

Apparently, that is how our government now works? I don’t know if lawsuits will slow these unconscionable actions, but they will not hurt. I do know that resistance means gumming up the works in every way possible. We must also know what we want and accept no less. (The other side has a clear picture of what it wants – and stops at nothing.) We must do what reason and conscience prompts – and never forget the spirit of Standing Rock or Martin Luther King Jr.’s Arc of Justice. The planet needs this.

The Culture of Make Believe, David Jensen

I’d like to share a book with you, Derek Jensen’s The Culture of Make Believe. It is a model of conscience and soul-searing reflection on the processes in American history and psyches that have always been there, but which we often repress. The book seems prescient because the unacknowledged cruelty has been unmasked by the Trump Presidency but the injustice to the environment and to the disenfranchised have always been dominant processes in our society.

Our Constitution has never fully protected anyone from being enslaved, lynched or from having their village wiped out. Nor, to be frank, did our Founding Fathers. If the current tribulations cause us all to do a little more soul searching and become more engaged in politics, we will all be better for it.

Jensen is a perfect guide. He is passionate, he feels the pain, he refuses to turn a blind eye, he witnesses – and he is kind. I cannot think of a better book to read for these times.

Take care out there.

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