by Self-Hating Caucasian
Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007 at 2:29 PM
The struggle to save the San Francisco Peaks in Arizona from development (which would include recycled sewage for "snow") came to Pasadena on December 11. A march across town preceded the hearing, and a vigil occured outside the courthouse.
Tuesday’s gathering at the All Saints Episcopalian Church near Pasadena City Hall was followed by a march to the Appeals Court, a large building near “Suicide Bridge” at the Arroyo Seco (and also not far from the start of the Rose Parade route). There was easily 100 people participating (SavethePeaks.org reports multiple hundreds). All ages were represented.
The march across Pasadena was both surreal and cathartic: people with profound reverence for nature were walking through an area where nature was being oppressed. Below us was concrete designed to channel most rainwater to the ocean (along with toxins). On either side of us was trendy establishments of Old Town Pasadena, including Hooters, Jamba Juice, and Cheese Cake Factory. People sitting in the restaurants looked out at us with facial expressions that could, perhaps, best be described as shock and bewilderment.
But there was clear interest and support for us, too. One man asked several people for literature about our cause. I gave him a flyer that I had received at the church, which he eagerly accepted. Passing motorists read banners and honked.
(I reflected on the last time I marched on this sidewalk: it was the day the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003. On that occasion, people seemed mostly clueless about what we were doing—despite a die-in that happened without warning in the middle of Colorado Boulevard at Fair Oaks during rush hour. “Don’t you guys usually smoke weed?” was the most articulate remark I heard.)
Throughout this march, I was continually impressed by the group’s presence: from my vantage point near the end, there were demonstrators as far as the eye could see.
Countless banners and signs were displayed. Some represented tribes, others had slogans that included “No Desecration for Recreation;“ “Protect Sacred Sites, Defend Human Rights;” and “Respect Mother Earth.” There was also a jacket that read “Hell No to Yellow Snow.” (The latter was in reference to the proposed use of recycled human discharge as “snow” on the San Francisco Peak.)
Prior to the march, we were told by organizers that no permits had been given for the march, yet the police respectfully cooperated, assisting us (in tandem with guides from within our group) in navigating across town and through intersections. Some streets were temporarily blocked off for us as we crossed. Also, although there is an ordinance in Pasadena against playing drums, the police agreed to make an exception.
At the courthouse on Grand Avenue, many people entered the court to watch and show support, while many others remained outside to participate in a vigil and prayers.
Deep and inspiring statements were made during the prayers, but everyone was asked to refrain from any kind of photography or recording. As it was explained to us, this was not about capturing things on video/audio.
As the prayers and vigil ensued, I noticed that participants knew where to put their compostable food scraps (i.e., banana and orange peels) and recyclables. The box provided for the former did not need to be labeled.
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