Pacing the Planet -- Week 12: Metropolis

City of Lakes
We have spent the last week in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, walking nearly 50 miles while traversing both. The population of the two cities is far larger than any other municipality we will walk through -- 3.3 million people, compared  with 206,000 for Des Moines, and 86,000 for Duluth. We have handed out hundreds of information sheets, and been seen widely; yet, strange to say, we have been unsuccessful thus far at prompting any of the larger media outlets to cover Pacing the Planet. Some locals have told us that, until recently, the Minneapolis media were very reticent on global warming, resisting reporting the science as evidence-based and not a matter of political opinion. We may simply be too hot for these editors to handle.

We arrived in St. Paul, by coincidence, in time for the season-opener of the Minnesota Public Radio program, "Prairie Home Companion," and the traditional meatloaf dinner and street dance. Our cart, with its various insignia, stood on a knoll overlooking the stage erected on Exchange Street downtown, where the host, Garrison Keillor, musicians and performers continued the show on into the dark and rain.

Skating and pulling a cart in town, sometimes downtown at rush hour, has been thrilling.  Dana's skates had been wearing a painful hole in her ankle, but she got a new pair of skates this week (with perfectly geeky yellow toe-covers). She can do anything now!  (Dana can hardly wait to return home so that she can start skating as "Greenhouse Gashes" with Kirksville's new roller derby team, the NEMO Viqueens!)  Also, Gavain installed a bicycle brake system on the appreciated safety feature.

It should be noted, however, that we never skate the cart with our todder in tow.  Only ever, when she is safe at camp with her other parent, do we get to fly along in this many-wheeled manner.

On another day this week, we walked through the sprawling campus of the University of Minnesota, drawing the attention of students to the emergency unfolding in their midst. When we attended the monthly meeting of the Minnesota chapter of the "," we learned how immediate that threat is for the people of the North Star State.

Enbridge Inc.'s master plan
Last week, we reported on the work of an activist collective which is resisting the construction of the Flanagan South pipeline by the Canadian company, Enbridge, Inc. The route of the Flanagan South will pass right through our home area of northeast Missouri, on its way to Oklahoma, and then to the Gulf coast. In Minnesota, outraged citizens are confronting Enbridge on yet another stretch of their proposed pipeline, designed to carry Tar Sands oil across the pristine northern wilderness and down to processing plants in Illinois, before the oil continues on its journey in the Flanagan South pipe.

Enbridge's plans have largely flown under the radar of scrutiny, but the facts are stark. If completed, the Enbridge pipeline will carry a greater volume of Tar Sands oil than its far more infamous competitor, the Keystone XL. Tar Sands oil excavation has been called the most devastating project on Earth, both for ruining the Athabasca Wilderness, the spilling of thousands or millions of gallons of oil along the pipeline route, and the overwhelming effect that extracting and burning that oil will have on global warming. Top climatologist, James Hansen, has called burning the Tar Sands "game over" for the climate.

Readers of this article join a very small percentage of the public who have even heard of this project. Minnesota 350 organizers are fighting Enbridge at the border, where the proposed pipeline is subject to federal review and regulation.

What a powerful change of experience, to be with people who admit that the climate crisis is the defining issue of our time! The people of MN350 are of many ages, full of heart, kind yet fierce, passionate volunteers, empowering others and taking direct action to challenge the wrongful exploitation of resources which fuels the corporate takeover of the climate. The attendees of the meeting gave a standing ovation for Pacing the Planet, and expressed how deeply moved they are by our will to go beyond the shelter of our home to report the climate crisis.


  1. Many blessings, thank you and move forward with the knowledge that what you are doing is right, noble, just and very much needed.

  2. Hey just saw you in Wrenshall!

  3. I saw you pulling your wagon through Wrenshall MN today. God speed and I wish you the best.


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