LaDuke urges environmental action in Ware Lecture
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.”