Thursday, March 31, 2011

Meeting Bidder 70- Stand With Me

Hi. My name is Tabitha and I care about earth. I care about our home- I care about the air we breath, the water we drink, and the food we eat. I care about that which sustains me and it which sustains other living things....I also care about people. I care about people more than I care about trees, soil, grass, pandas, cows, bunnies- I care about people's access to their basic need to clean air, water, and food. I care about the people who are oppressed through their withdrawn access to clean air, water, and food.I hate the institutions that care about neither people or the earth.

Though I have always cared about people a ton, I didn't always care about the gr
een things and the other stuff I live with. But my eyes were opened to the connection between people and the earth. My senior year of high school, my AP Environmental Science class turned my world upside down. That year I realized the connection between a healthy earth and healthy people. That our bodies will only go as far as how healthy the things are that we put in them. I also learned that there are individuals who would rather us have sick bodies if that means more money.

It was at that point, that i knew I wanted to do something about it.

When I went to college, I knew that the activism spirit that I had felt since I was young had to bloom soon- I decided to dedicate my major and my time to learning how the system worked so I could find the best way to take. it. down. My sophomore year, I realized that the only thing stopping me from taking down the system now wasn't 4 year in school- it was me. It was that year that I joined Greenpeace and Amnesty International at Michigan State. Through those groups I learned one of the most valuable lessons one can learn at my age- that there is power in my voice.
Can you stop with me and think about that statement? Go on, sa
y it to yourself, "There is power in my voice". There is POWER in your voice. My sophomore year i decided to stop being docile and to start become a good citizen- one who
maximizes all of my rights.

Unfortunately, my sophomore year I also found out how frustrating it was to be a good citizen- signing petitions, calling my congressmen, following politics, voting in elections, following ALL THE RULES. And yet for some reason no one cared what I had to say. My political weight was just not good enough. MY government told me that I was just not that important. They said instead that we can start talking when I either have a ton of money or a ton of people. You can guess what options I had to take.

Up until today that's what it's been for me- a numbers game. How many people can we get to this rally, how many petitions can we get signed, how many pledges, endorsements, phone calls, etc. etc. etc. I believed that there was power in my voice, but believed more in the power of many voices.

Today I met Tim DeChristopher, also known as Bidder 70. To make a long story short, Tim singlehandedly stopped the unethical selling of Utah land from the out going Bush administration to big oil and gas developers.

Well how did he do that? It was simple: he walked in, said he was there for the bidding, became bidder 70, and started out-bidding everyone in the room...he won 22,500acres of land at the price of almost 2 BILLION dollars.

Tim didn't have 2 Billion dollars, but he did it anyway. He decided to take matters in his own hands- he realized that there was a point where protesting with signs, petitions, and marches are only going to go so far. His one action stopped the bidding of 116,000 acres of Utah soil.

His voice has power.

After my chat with Tim, and after hearing him speak to a few of us tonight, there were two things I really took to heart: first- facts and figures never changed anyone's minds. The willingness to sacrifice the comforts of my life to take a stand does. Second- I need to shift my thinking from believing that only numbers can topple injustice to taking ownership of the idea that I have the power to topple injustice no matter how big.
Tim was in the breathing space of very powerful, intimidating, and influential people. He could have let the daunting gap between him and them get to him but he
didn't. Instead, he decided to look at the situation for what it was- people getting bargain prices for land they would rip to pieces just to bank on some non-renewables. He then decided that he'd much rather do something and face the consequences of committing a federal offense than sit in a room full of exploiters and do nothing.
There are too many things that I let pass by me, that I'm unwilling to take a lonely stance on. But that won't happen anymore.

My voice has power.

There is something to be said about the times we are in. They are interesting and one of a kind. I say it's time to stop WAITING for our generation to step up. Those who are already need to start walking, kicking some butt, and taking some names. I say lets stop this system. Let's stop corporate take over of our lives, our government, our homes, or bodies. Let's stop corruption, injustice, and out of control consumerism. Let's stop this move to more development, more degradation, more burning of bad things that choke our children and our trees.

I no longer call on my generation, but to those in my generation who sees the battle and are ready to fight. We don't need to wait for the masses to move mountains. The masses will move themselves in their own time. Instead, we need to be setting the example of what it means to draw a line.

Your voice has power.
OUR voice has power.

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to stand by and do nothing."

Stand. With. Me.