Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspires the Homesteading Dream
A Green MLK Day
The official blog of the US Environmental Protection Agency calls upon us to make MLK Day 2012 a day to go green, to face environmental challenges in our communities. The Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment will make it clear why today’s march for justice goes beyond civil rights to demanding basic human rights.
Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail and I Have a Dream
For the homesteader, a quiet, slow-paced life is touted as morally superior and blissful in comparison to the fast-paced hurried footsteps of a city life. It is wise to “set a spell” and talk ’til sundown, glorying in family, neighbors, and the blessings of the harvest. True, the ways of the country are admirable, and an organic back-to-the-land lifestyle something to be emulated by many.
But the moment is now, not later. I have a dream that someday, all Americans will have access to clean drinking water and chemical-free food. I have a dream that housing which sustains life, in the coldest of winters as well as the scorching summers, will be a given right. For these most basic human needs, for water, food and shelter, I dream that injustice will no longer make them go unmet.
We have been told to wait for our right to drinking water untouched by fracking, fluoride and pharmaceuticals. Be patient, they say; these things take time. But “wait” means “never”, and we cannot wait that long.
Some have frowned upon my impatience to purchase land and grow my own safe & healthy food. There is a different pace of life in the country that must be respected. If my city pace seems too quick and my impatience intolerable, I hope you will forgive me. If my efforts to change the world starting with myself, and meet basic human needs with organic solutions are not done quickly enough to save human lives, may God forgive me.
You might find my impatience understandable, when each flick of light switches everywhere are blowing up the Appalachian mountains and poisoning West Virginians. I cannot “set a spell” and ignore the need for energy efficient housing that keeps a family from freezing in Detroit. The right to vote and the right to drink pure water are equal rights, at least, if not the latter being the more urgent of the two yet the more neglected.
Tomorrow, on the holiday of MLK Day, hundreds of people will march in memory of the Civil Rights movement and in solidarity with the modern-day struggle. I have a dream that we will remember that it is not only a basic right to get a cup of coffee at a lunch counter, but also for that coffee to be free of slave labor and harmful chemicals. It is not only a right to get a job, but to get a green job which does not pollute the American soil our children play on.
I have a dream that the children of tomorrow will only learn about the need for energy efficient housing, organic food, and safe water in the history books and NOT through their poor health. And I dream that when they read those history books, they will see that we did not wait for justice.