“Not on our Harbor”

I wanted to commend Dan Jackson for the thoughtful article on crude oil shipments on the opinion page July 13 in The Daily World.

I do have a comment, however.

Dan felt that the oil is going to be shipped somewhere and to say “not on our Harbor” is “environmentally selfish.” I disagree. When we know that an action will cause harm, it is our moral responsibility to speak up. That is the only way change will ever happen.

I recently read something by Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the journal, Tikkun, which means “to heal, repair and transform the world.” (www.tikkun.org/nextgen/14904). He was responding to the Trayvon Martin verdict but he included the environment in his words. I don’t usually quote religious leaders but I feel it applies here.

“The reason we will all suffer for the harmful actions of a few is because we each bear responsibility for doing our part to bring tikkun to the world. So if we sit by in silence when people are suffering, the planet is being destroyed, etc. we are also responsible and will suffer for our inactions. The Torah takes a hard line on this — it calls for us to be bringing the issue of justice and fairness, love and generosity, peace and environmental sanity into every situation we find ourselves — both in the public arena and in our personal lives. We are urged to bring up these issues even when others may feel it inappropriate, when some people will tell us we should ‘lighten up’ and should not always bring ‘politics’ into the discussion, when our friends tell us that they don’t want to hear about things that are depressing. We should talk about them when we go to sleep at night and when we get up in the morning, teach this to our children, and write it upon the door posts of our houses and our gates. Merely complaining to a few friends is NOT enough.”

In 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Ala., she was acting against injustice. She didn’t think about the fact that the rest of the south was racist or discriminatory. She knew she needed to do something about her situation in Montgomery. And a movement began that led to desegregating the South.

It is not selfish to speak up for environmental sanity. We absolutely need to say “Not on our Harbor!”

Linda Orgel