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Monday, July 23, 2012

Environmentalists from our First Nations, written by Vincent Schilling. Second Story Press, 2011. $10.95 ages 13 and up

"Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a young woman from the Lubicon Lake Band of Cree in north-central Alberta, is a tar sands campaigner with Greenpeace Canada. She is passionate about the need to stop what the tar sands oil production is doing to the land her people have taken care of for centuries."

Education for Sustainable Development has become an important part of our children's school experience. It should be. Their world is a very different one from the one that sustained their parents and grandparents. They need to be educated to protect what is being lost every day that they live.

Aboriginal peoples have much to teach us about caring for our land, for treating it with the respect that it so richly deserves, and our spiritual connections to it. In this book, we meet ten environmentalists whose voices are being heard, and appreciated for the beliefs they share and the actions they take to protect and enlighten us and the world we inhabit. Their knowledge and commitment to environmental concerns provide leadership that informs change.

Their stories describe their own personal voyages of discovery within their communities and through the teachings of their elders, their search for better ways through study, and their leadership in change through their own social and political beliefs in respect to the environment that can and should sustain us. Each one shares ideas for making the world a better place while asking important questions about their own future. They show that being determined and having a passion for the rights of their people makes them role models who have accomplished much and have much left to do.

Here is a brief description of the ten:

"Melina Laboucan-Massimo uses her passion to stop oil extraction in Alberta’s tar sands.
Winona LaDuke is a voice for reclaiming Native lands, advocating renewable energy resources, and protecting Native cultures.
Clayton Thomas-Muller is a dynamic advocate for indigenous self-determination and campaigner against tar sands extraction.
Ben Powless brings his youthful energy and skills to addressing climate change issues.
Tom Goldtooth protects sacred sites and organizes global direct-action campaigns for the environment.
Grace Thorpe is a grandmother who dedicated her retirement years to keeping Native reservations from becoming nuclear waste dumps.
Sarah James is a voice from northern Alaska defending the Porcupine caribou herd and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Enei Begaye & Evon Peter are married activists who work as a team on environmental issues and sustainable strategies for Native people.
Klee Benally uses the media to empower Native communities in their fight for environmental justice.
Teague Allston works to ensure a tribal voice is heard in Washington DC."

I will leave you with a quote from activist Evon Peter:

"I used to think it was more about my family and my village and my people, but over the years I realized how close we are as a larger, growing global community and how acts in my own small village may affect a village on the other side of the world. When we talk about being involved in any kind of change these days, it is almost inevitable the impact will be beyond our own communities."

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