Small Group of Concerned Citizens Changes the World!

Margaret Mead advised us to, “Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” In the towns of Nottingham and Barnstead, NH, such a group passed a Rights Based Ordinance (RBO), and stopped USA Springs Corporation from draining their towns’ shared aquifer.

 The world watches what happens in the US. People in India were inspired by Nottingham’s model, and have organized to stop pollution of the Ganges. In India, their focus is on building a national campaign to recognize the river’s rights. Their campaign slogan is, “Ganga’s Rights are our Rights.”

 I was certainly educated to believe that the US was a democracy, governed by, for and of the people. Yet, I have come to realize that our government was never set up as a democracy in practice. Instead, it assigned states the parent role and citizens as children who must obey their parents. When the state is feeling indulgent, it provides hearings for citizens to express their concerns but rarely seems to feel an obligation to make significant changes based on citizen input.

 It seems incredulous that we citizens have to, at our own expense, organize to put Rights Based Ordinances in place in order to protect our water, land, health, livelihood, and wildlife. All this to protect ourselves and our land from self-serving ‘parents’.

 At this point in time, denial of costly long range harmful effects continues to be the hallmark of corporations as they take advantage of small towns. Our lack of self-governance leaves corporations open to get state permits for what amount to sting operations. The plan seems to be to use up natural resources, destroy habitats of species, including humans, slash real estate values, destroy livelihoods, raise the cost of living, and move on.

 Hydro Quebec has already plundered it’s own province, including Newfoundland, and now wants to ‘move on’ through New Hampshire. Iberdola slid into Groton with the state’s approval. After the fact, residents are reeling as they realize the total impact the wind farm will have on this area. At first, there were a few wind towers and none of them were spinning up a racket. Suddenly, there are many, like a disease defoliating our ridges, and they won’t be able to generate much electricity from our average 6 mph winds. Iberdola’s big plan is to cut a 3000 mile swath over our ridges in addition to an above ground grid that looks like a massive cobweb over our state.

 Burying the transmission lines costs no more than installing above ground lines, especially when you add in the long term cost of maintaining above ground lines due to wind, ice, and snowstorm damage.

The whole point of establishing a chain of Rights Based Ordinances in our towns is that collectively, we can pool our efforts to save our communities, our forests, land, and water from continued corporate onslaught.

 Instead of giving corporations rights as individuals, we need to give rivers rights to flow freely, to be healthy and thrive.  In 2011, Ecuador became the first country to try the first Rights of Nature constitutional case and ruled in favor of the plaintiff, the VilcabambaRiver. Ecuador stopped a highway construction project that was harming the river.

 Trees need rights to breathe in carbon dioxide for themselves and to exhale oxygen for humans and wildlife. Our land needs the right to breathe free from debilitating pesticides and fracking.  Sustainability is measured, not by people’s loss of use of the ecosystem, but by damage inflicted on the ecosystem itself and the cost of bringing the ecosystem back to its pre-damaged state.

 On February 27, Thornton RBO citizens’ Opposition to the NorthernPass group is holding a public hearing from 5-7 PM at the Mad River Coffee Roasters in Campton.

Here’s an opportunity be informed and express your concerns.


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