LaDuke urges environmental action in Ware Lecture

Ware Lecturer Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke invited her audience Saturday night at the Ware Lecture to take back their country by erecting wind turbines, blocking coal plants and genetically-modified crops, and, above all, not waiting for someone else to save the world.

Duke, a Native-American activist, environmentalist, and writer, lives in Minnesota and is active in many movements to preserve Native American lands, and slow climate change. She was a vice-presidential candidate for the Green Party in 1996 and 2000.

Part of the answer to climate change, she said, is to create a green energy economy on a local scale. “Do not let them take you into the debate that renewable energy will never meet present demand. We need an efficient economy that does not transport everything so far and that does not try to feed the gas tanks of Hummers. We need to liberate our minds from what we believe we are entitled to. Take more responsibility than just putting in LED bulbs.”

LaDuke is also leading a fight to prevent the genetic modification of wild rice and native corn varieties. “The Irish potato famine should have taught us that we don’t want a monoculture,” she said. “Why not raise corn that’s not addicted to fertilizer and pesticides.”

She urged her listeners to dig up their lawns and plant gardens. And to think about those who will come after them. “We are the people who are here now. Those who are not yet here are counting on us to do the right thing, whether they have wings or fins or roots or paws.”

There is no other choice, she said. “This is our land and there is no place else for us to go. I’m going to stay and fight and make it better. Just because you have privilege and money doesn’t mean you can walk away from responsibility.”

She added, “Do not ever give up hope. Remember our victories. We fight these guys and we win. The next revolution will be local. It is possible to make these changes and it is us who will make them.”

  • Mark Richards

    Winona LaDuke is a witty and inspiring speaker. Her call to localize our lives is also a call to the spirit to get back in touch with the land. Those of us who spend our time sitting in traffic jams and flying to distant cities need to commit to putting our hands in dirt on a regular basis. Thanks to those who invited Ms. LaDuke to GA! And thanks to Ms. LaDuke for speaking truth.

  • bethbrownf

    Winona also urged UUs to Unite to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, and to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A flyer was distributed to those attending the lecture to take this invitation back to their congregations. Go to the website for information and actions. Indigenous Peoples nationwide, and worldwide are asking religious movements to do this. The Episcopals as a body repudiated the Doctrine of Christian Discovery in 2009, Quaker meetings and organizations are joining this cause. Tarpon Springs, FL intiated the UU response this year. These are vital issues in our relationship to indigenous peoples worldwide but for us how it impacts their lives and cultures on this continent. Please visit the website and contact us. We are looking for partners in every district to help us move this forward.


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