Where you gonna hide from the hell you made?

On Friday, my 12-year-old son carried his handmade cardboard protest sign to one of the thousands of climate strikes around the world, along with five of his classmates. His sign read, “Where you gonna hide from the hell you made?” This die-hard rock ’n’ roll fan had tapped an obscure song by his favorite band—Queen—called “White Man,” about the genocide of Native Americans, and picked out the perfect line to describe his rage at our human-made climate crisis.

My angry preteen was one of an estimated 4 million people who marched all over the planet Friday in what is considered the largest climate change-related protest action in history.

The refrain “water is life” came out of the seminal Standing Rock water protection movement aimed at the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. That movement was a new chapter in Native American activism and was centered on the protection of earth’s resources and climate justice. Haatepeh sees indigenous wisdom as critical to the youth-led climate movement, saying, “We’ve known how to live with our earth in a balanced way without causing too much damage and pollution for thousands of years. … We’ve always known how to work with the land—not domesticate it, but work with it side by side.”

Greta Thunberg Isn’t the Only Voice of Her Generation by Sonali Kolhatkar, truthdig, Sept. 26, 2019

The quote above, “we’ve known how to live with our earth in a balanced way…” perfectly summarizes what I’ve been trying to say with the following diagram I’ve been working on, that Native spiritual and environmental ways can help us regenerate our damaged Mother Earth.

Jeff Kisling

I’ve been writing about why this is, and must be, a youth led movement. https://jeffkisling.com/2019/09/18/youth-led-movement/
The Sunrise Movement has guidelines explaining this, part of which is found below. This has been an adjustment for me but I’ve quickly come to enjoy being a supporter instead of a leader. This discussion about youth and signs reminds me of the Earth Walk I was blessed to be part of in 2013. After a climate conference at Scattergood Friends School and Farm, some of us, mainly young people carrying signs they had made, walked from the School into Iowa City (about 14 miles).

Following is a video/slideshow of that Earth Walk.

Scattergood Friends School Earth Walk 2013

Sunrise Movement
Principles for Young at Heart Members

●We respect the value of a youth-led movement . While we all have much to lose to climate change, young people are the ones that will face the consequences of our actions today and should be at the forefront of our movement. Young people need youth-led and youth-centered spaces to come into their own as leaders, find their voices and to learn from one another. We trust the knowledge and skills that youth bring to our collective fight and follow their leadership as allies.
●We are guides/supports, rather than leaders . We understand that local and national leadership roles at Sunrise will be held by young people, and we are allies and supporters. We keep the space open for the voices of our youth leaders before we share our own. Our life experiences are valuable and add significant value to the movement but shouldn’t take precedence over the ideas and thoughts of our youth members.
●We are Americans from all walks of life . We are people of all ages coming together for our future and appreciate that some members have many years of organizing experience and others are organizing for the first time. We respect what everyone brings and listen to everyone’s experience.
#YoungAtHeart Guidelines



I’m a simple man
With a simple name
From this soil my people came
In this soil remain
Oh yeah, oh yeah
We made us our shoes
We trod soft on the land
But the immigrant built roads
On our blood and sand
Oh yeah, oh yeah
White man, White man
Don’t you see the light behind your blackened skies
White man, White man
You took away the sight to blind my simple eyes
White man, White man
Where you gonna hide
From the hell you’ve made ?
Oh the Red man knows war
With his hands and his knives
On the bible you swore
Fought your battle with lies
Oh yeah
Leave my body in shame
Leave my soul in disgrace
But by every God’s name
Say your prayers for your race
Oh yeah
White man, White man
Our country was green and all our rivers wide
White man, White man
You came…

White Man by Brian May, performed by Queen
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