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Sierra Club

Rue Mapp started Outdoor Afro as a blog in 2009. She has an amazing, fast lesson we can all use to learn how to connect with the land.

In a video by the Sierra Club, Rue's quick lesson from the Arctic starts off at a pretty high level. She says that to protect the land, “there has to be a point of relevant relationship."


A part of what Rue means is that if we're going to manage climate change, if we're going to keep dirty fuels in the ground, then we have to feel connected to the land. Each of us.

"At the core of any kind of caring, there has to have been a relationship," she says.

To further connect with the land, Rue suggests a second step: connecting with our histories. "All of us in the United States, usually within a few generations," she says, "has significant ties and connections to land."

Standing in the Alaskan Arctic, Rue shares a story from African-American history.

Rue contemplates how Harriet Tubman had to know about her natural surroundings to help American slaves escape the horrors of enslavement on southern plantations. For example, Tubman had to know bird calls to navigate.

Rue teaches us that we can reach back into her own connection to history and explain how we can each find a connection to wild lands that can feel remote but need our attention. Lands need our attention, so humanity can stay safe. Wow.

Now is the time to make a connection with one natural area in particular: the Arctic.

Research says that all Arctic oil must stay in the ground:

"Trillions of dollars of known and extractable coal, oil and gas, including most Canadian tar sands, all Arctic oil and gas and much potential shale gas, cannot be exploited if the global temperature rise is to be kept under the 2C safety limit agreed by the world's nations."

Got that? A clarification from the same article in the Guardian:

"The research also finds no climate-friendly scenario in which any oil or gas is drilled in the Arctic."

Shell's plan to drill for oil in Arctic's Chukchi Sea threatens this Arctic habitat and threatens a secure climate future. Keep that oil in the ground. And tell President Obama he still has time to say ‪#‎ShellNo .‬

Take a deep breath, check out these amazing Arctic wildflowers, and let's connect to the land and protect it.

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