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A Hopeful Word from Mary Pipher

September 23, 2013

I have not posted for a few days because I’ve been involved with the solar barn build near Benedict Nebraska. I will remember this last weekend for the rest of my life. The gathering was a very modern event with filmmakers, bloggers, solar installers and plenty of high tech communications. On the other hand, it reminded me of my childhood in Beaver City in the fifties.

Saturday I was at the farm site, talking to my old and new friends, enjoying a big potluck dinner of ham, meatballs, scalloped potatoes and apple pie on picnic tables in the yard. People sat talking under the cottonwoods and, at one point, I did what I did as a kid, lie in the grass, look at the sky through rustling leaves and listen to adults talk and children play in the distance. That day at the farm the main work was making posters for the site and for later actions against TransCanada. Two miles away volunteers were finishing the barn build. The workday ended around 5:00 and later I sat with friends, my daughter-in-law and my grandkids around a campfire and watched the almost full moon rise. Could I even imagine a better day?

Sunday I spent at the build site. Four sisters who share the farm donated this site and the barn is built right on the KXL pipeline route. The day was incredibly windy and dusty, a hard to day for the solar installers. By noon a large group of farmers, ranchers, artists, reporters, activists, grandmothers and families had assembled at the barn. We were surrounded by corn and soybean fields. Bold Nebraska had called in fire trucks to water down the air and also semis for build a windblock. We all shared a noon meal of burgers and veggie burgers and then pitched in to set out rows of hay bales for seating.

The ribbon cutting ceremony began at 3:00. Christy, one of our grandmothers, had organized a choir to sing a rousing protest song. Katie Boner sang the Star Spangled banner as we raised the American and Nebraska flags. The speakers stood on the barn’s front porch. Randy Thompson spoke, as did two honorary Apple Pie Brigade grandmothers, Julia Trigg from Texas and Faith Spotted Eagle from near Ft. Randall. The APB was represented by Christy, Pippa and me. We awarded pies to three young men who had worked hard to supervise the barn build. Then Pippa performed an original poem called “Prairie Roots Run Deep.”

As I stood with the other speakers and looked out at the sincere and hopeful group sitting in the wind on hay bales, I felt joy and hope myself. Working for environmental causes and trying to stop TransCanada can be hard slogging, but days like yesterday give me renewed hope and energy. I have never in my life seen democracy in action the way I did yesterday. Afterwards, I drove east past little farms and bronze fields of sorghum. I was dusty, parched, exhausted and immensely happy.

-Mary Pipher

Recipes For a Sustainable Planet

The Grandmothers Apple Pie Brigade originally came together in 2011 to provide positive messages and sweet treats to Nebraska policy makers who did the right thing in the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline. In the wake of President Obama’s recent statements about the need to combat climate change by reducing carbon pollution, the Grandmothers Apple Pie Brigade decided it was time to go global with their efforts. Their goal is to provide love, energy and care to all who want a sustainable planet.

The Grandmothers Apple Pie Brigade is focused on positive actions as an antidote for despair in the fight to protect Mother Earth from catastrophic climate change. The most immediate effort is to build a groundswell of support for President Obama making the rational and healthy decision to stop the proposed Keystone XL, which has been called the spigot to planetary disaster.