The women gathered along the Iowa River in Iowa City Park, where in 2013 the 500 year flood had crested and covered 9+ miles of the city—its homes, businesses, trees and roads. Most of the women who gathered had walked in the Pride Parade earlier in the day, honoring the fallen in Orlando and ever more aware of the work yet to be done to make human rights equal for all.
At the same time, they walked for the health of the rivers of Iowa and all they impact. Iowa is currently faced with the threat of the Bakken Pipeline being built by Dakota Access, part of the gargantuan Energy Transfer Partners, LP, intended to carry crude oil fracked from North Dakota’s environmentally ruined lands, waters and air quality. The line runs from the northwest corner to the most southeast corner the full length of the state. It will carry crude oil 85 feet deep under 14 rivers, through farmlands and communities, damaging and threatening life across the state as it goes, destined to leak into ground waters and aquifers.
Sharing stories of the flood of 2013 and the previous 100 year flood of 2008, these women know the ruination brought by human folly exacerbated by climate change. They have come together, as they often do, to support one another, their communities, to lend their skills and wisdom, and work for a different future. Many are members of 100Grannies, a non-profit dedicated to “promoting solutions to end activities destructive to Mother Earth”.
Sitting near the Angel of Hope, a small symbolic statue, we spoke, sang, blessed the space and place, and crafted a bird and its nest, the emblem of the livable future to create together.