Rick Bass at Green Mountain! by Krista Shugart

          The Keystone XL pipeline is a very daunting topic that hangs over the heads of our entire country. This pipeline would be close to 2,000 miles long and would be from Alberta, Canada to Texas. This pipeline would carry one of the world’s dirtiest fuels; tar sands oil. This is an issue, which in Rick Bass’s words “is an issue that is too big to ignore.” Rick Bass believes in the power of one, he believes that it is up to each individual to make a positive change in the world; we can stop the destruction.

            The destruction of the earth for greed is a very serious problem that we face every day. Aldo Leopold noticed the destruction during his life. He says in his book Sand County Almanac, “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to treat it with love and respect.” Since when do we have the right to make a 2,000 mile long pipeline that ruins the environment by the digging and drilling? The oil will go down into the drinking water and it will forever change the surrounding communities because they will no longer have direct access to clean water; they will have to purchase bottled water from a store. Nature is not a commodity to us. Nature is not ours to exploit and ruin; especially in the name of greed.

            Rick Bass spoke about the potential destruction of Montana. Montana is a beautiful place full of history. Bass said that Exxon lied about everything they said. They are not patient, they want to make money. The corporations, such as Exxon, say that they will take care of Montana, and not to worry. The truth is that they will not. The truth is that the people need to take charge because these corporations lie and all they want is money. They do not care about the communities and the environments around the area, they will ruin the earth, make the money, and then leave. Exxon fails to see the beauty of the environment in Montana; they do not see the beauty in the life that surrounds each natural environment. Why does Exxon think that it is okay for them to go into Montana and ruin the earth, just to make a profit?

            Exxon was and is wrong, and Rick Bass wanted to make sure that people knew it and voted down the Keystone XL pipeline. He wrote the book The Heart of the Monster with David James Duncan to show the truth to individuals. Both Bass and Duncan were so dedicated to the project that they handed out 10,000 free copies of the book to get the word out. The GMC Library has 3 copies of the book. He wanted each person, mainly Montana individuals in this particular instance, to know that it is up to them for what the future will hole. Each vote against the destruction against Montana counts.

            Currently, “corporations are squeezing politicians by giving them more and more money to vote in favor of what they want to do.” Politicians should have the best interest of the people and the environment in mind, they are corrupt when they only care about getting paid by corporations to vote in favor of them to get more money in their pockets. Bass told us that it is up to us for what the future will hold. “We need to choose courage instead of silence.” Rick Bass has made a huge impact on the world by helping to protect the a part of the natural Montana environment. He was an inspirational speaker at Green Mountain College, because he is living proof that one person can help protect the environment. He didn’t just talk us how he believes in the power of one, he showed us through his actions how it is really true. Together, or alone we can make a change.



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