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On Interdependence Day, BPF Joins A Climate Change Fight

Keystone is the travesty that has me resolved to be out on the streets again.

—Anaïs, BPF member

The Keystone XL Pipeline (KXL) has been called “game over for climate change.”

Already the massive corporate extraction of tar sands and crude bitumen from Alberta, Canada (slated to be glugged through KXL to oil refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, for predominantly foreign export), is poisoning First Nations territories.

Holding the truth of interdependence, as Buddhists we seek to join the ongoing resistance and stand up against this carbon monster, even as we acknowledge the real economic concerns that may cause disagreement in affected communities — some favoring pipelines, some opposing them.

Enacting BPF’s first step on the path to a KXL-free world, photographer and Buddhist aneeta mitha is joining the two-day Tar Sands Healing Walk, followed by the Compassionate Earth Walk for its first three days in Alberta, Canada.


Organized by Cree and Dene First Nations and Metis, including people of the ACFN, the Healing Walk bears witness to the ongoing destruction wreaked by tar sands, and calls for healing of the land.


Led by Zen priest Shodo Spring, the full Compassionate Earth Walk is a 3-month pilgrimage tracing the proposed route of the pipeline into the U.S. and through the Great Plains.

We asked aneeta what participating in these walks means to her.

again and again we come last. our families, our communities, our health, our survival come last.

us surviving, let alone living, has never been a priority of this system that rips us from our people, takes us from our land and strips us of our right to be free in this world. whether we are indigenous, diasporic, working class or barely working, we are but a commodity at best, a depository at worst, and oftentimes both. the keystone xl pipeline shows us, again, who this capitalist empire values, and it is not us.

the pipeline, spanning from alberta, canada to the gulf coast, stands to corrode the land and itsindigenous denizens by peeling open the earth to extract crude oil, all the while releasing toxins into the water and air. corporations stand to profit billions. owing to kxl construction, fresh water is already extremely polluted, animals are already dying off, and indigenous communities are already suffering from higher and higher rates of cancer.

we have to face it: we just don’t matter to them.

but we, as seekers of collective liberation, we need to matter to us.

as a queer brown womyn of diaspora, as a person whose identity has been torn by the workings of a system based on exploitation, othering and disconnection, i have made home in the margins. the elements of home, of self-awareness, of ever-unfolding community, of righteous determination, have grown from a practice based in mindfulness and radical political engagement. it is with deep commitment to my practice that a deep commitment for collective liberation has blossomed — a commitment towards our empowerment, acceptance, and interconnection. these two walks are an expression of this commitment. they are walks to attune to the earth, to its peoples, to its creatures, to its struggle. they are walks to support that which has unconditionally supported us.

and this is why i walk.

let each step that meets soil be in remembrance.

let each step remind me that our communities, close and extended, matter.

let each step remind me that resistance against genocide is necessary.

let each step remind me that our survival depends on each other.

let each step remind us that solidarity is our only option.

An example of aneeta mitha’s photography. “the sound of movement” (may day 2013)

Would you like to see more Buddhists bring compassionate confrontation to this movement? Let us know why in comments, and send aneeta some encouragement!  Keep an eye out for her mini-dispatches on our Facebook page.

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Comments (1)

  • Jeff

    Much respect to Aneeta and Shodo for their compassion and commitment in stepping out against the earth-poisoning Keystone Karbon Katheter! Will wire funds.

    I look forward to hearing reports and seeing Aneeta’s photos of the walk – if BPF is behind this, we should maximize the opportunity for education around Keystone’s environmental impact and tie in to ongoing local and national movements to resist its approval.

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