In February I posted a piece explaining that the state of Rhode Island and municipalities in Colorado, Maryland, California and Hawaii had filed lawsuits against Big Oil entities including Exxon, Suncorp Inc., and Chevron for their intentional secrecy and misinformation regarding the climate related impacts of fossil fuel consumption while they pocketed trillions of dollars. I noted in the piece that the U.S. Supreme Court would be making a decision about where those lawsuits would be tried. Big Oil wanted to face the litigation in federal courts, rather than state courts, which are viewed as more favorable to plaintiffs. The impacted states and cities that had filed the suits wanted the cases to be considered at the state level where they would have a stronger voice.
The first of these lawsuits was filed more than six years ago and the oil industry has fought to delay and derail the efforts ever since. This past Monday, the Supreme Court rebuffed Big Oil’s demands and unanimously ruled that the cases will be heard at the state level.
An article in The Guardian noted that climate experts and advocates are saying this decision feels like a dam breaking. If the lawsuits are successful, they could limit Big Oil’s ability to greenwash and lie to the public.
Coming Full Spiral
I don’t like the term, “coming full circle”. I prefer “full spiral” because even if we reenter old activities, places, or spaces we are never just back where we were and who we were; no matter what, we have changed.
For much of the early part of my career as an environmentalist and system change strategist, I had a booth at Earth Day events every single year. Some years I organized entire sections of the local Earth Day fair. However, over time, I transitioned my non-profit into a consulting firm (same mission, different methods) and life took me into political and national and international work. I hadn’t participated in the local, Central Oregon Earth Day fair in at least a dozen years, until last Saturday.
In my new role as a Unity minister, a core part of my ministry is integration of spirituality with awareness of, respect for, and activism on behalf of, our magnificent planet and the incredible life she supports. In addition to my organization, The ReThink Ministry, I serve in a leadership role at Unity Spiritual Community Central Oregon. Our mission is to, “stand together to create a global ecosystem of unity, deep wisdom and loving kindness.” I’m super blessed by the fact that our senior minister, Rev. Jane Hiatt, is the type of person who nurtures others to develop and express their talents and passions. In fact, she is largely responsible for me going down the super surprising path of becoming a minister. Jane has been enthusiastically supportive of raising awareness and imbedding environmental action into the DNA of our organization.
We decided, for the first time ever, to have a booth at the local Earth Day fair. I really didn’t know if there would be any interest but holy cow, we were packed all day long! Rev. Jane’s face-painting was a smash hit and brought lots of kids and their parents to our booth.
Midway through the event I realized I had been harboring some reservation and even slight awkwardness in returning to an old space and old familiar faces I hadn’t seen in so long and since before my life blew up and took such a different direction. I felt a little sheepish being there in a spiritual leader rather than straight up non-profit activist role. Beautifully, that fell away as I started running into old friends and colleagues and warm hellos, hugs and a sense of shared love of and commitment to the Earth.
No matter the vehicle and platform, my true north has always been doing what I can to help humanity into a saner relationship with all of Creation. It felt really good to come full spiral, reenter an old arena, reconnect with old and new friends, wearing my new skin.
P.S. Unity Spiritual Community Central Oregon has really good services at 10am PT, Sundays, in-person and online. On May 14th, Rev. Jane and I will be leading a Council of All Beings ceremony.
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It is so wonderful to see you come full spiral back to your many friends and supporters at the Earth Day Fair! I am so glad that your pastor encouraged you and that you two did this together That's healing! Not to mention all of the good outreach and enthusiasm shared with fair goers, to the benefit of the earth. Thanks for sharing this story! Also the good news re: the Supreme Court telling big oil to duke it out with the states.
I love that Big Oil is going to State Court!! And that you've so beautifully come full spiral--you just keep growing lighter and more powerful from within! And I loved the event and the photos!