A few weeks ago EarthKeepers teamed up with 6 local church-based organizations to screen “This Changes Everything”. Below is one of the four responses; in this case by Teresa Diewert, communiy organizer and co-founder of Streams of Justice — a social justice group rooted in the radical prophetic traditions of the Judeo-Christian faith.
I want to first acknowledge the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsliel Waututh peoples on whose unceded territories we live and work, and engage in the fight for justice.
I am an organizer with Streams of Justice, a local faith-based social justice group that seeks to critically reflect on various issues that we face today and to act out of our faith to pursue justice and struggle together toward a better world.
Canada is a settler colonial state founded on the dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their land for the purpose of resource extraction, corporate profits and the accumulation of private wealth. From the beginning of the colonial project on these lands, the interests of capital have been the driving forces in the displacement of Indigenous, low-income and racialized communities.
Today, this is seen most prominently in the expanding development of the tar sands, that massive government-corporate fossil fuel project that commodifies and destroys land, contributes significantly to global warming, and negatively impacts the health and sustainability of rural and Indigenous communities and their lifeways on the land.
To address climate change at its root, it is imperative that we address the economic system that fuels it, capitalism. Its dominant message is that we are only worth anything when we are working to take from the earth, and when we are buying things taken from the earth. We must reject this message and insist that human communities are invaluable in their own right, and that Indigenous relations with the land are models to help shape new mainstream economies that value human life in concert with the earth.
Indigenous communities are leading the way in resisting destructive resource extraction industries as they defend their sovereignty on their territories. We need to stand with them in their struggle.
But as those who benefit from the violence inflicted on human communities and the earth by colonialism and capitalism, we need to dismantle the foundations of global warming through popular dissent and collective action, and take the necessary steps of changing the way we live in relation to the land.
The earth is the LORD’s, the Creator’s, formed to nourish and sustain the life of all for generations to come. Against the threat of climate change, it seems we have to fight for this to become a reality. In the words of Indigenous land defenders, it’s time to “Warrior Up.”
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