July 31, 2013; For Immediate Release:
Compassionate Earth Walkers enter United States after 23-day walk through Canada
Five walkers from the Compassionate Earth Walk have completed a 380-mile journey from Hardisty, Alberta to Monchy, Saskatchewan and returned to the United States to continue their three-month pilgrimage along the Keystone XL pipeline.
Not a protest but a spiritual walk, the Compassionate Earth Walk (CEW) focuses on the relationship between humans and the earth, on making wise decisions in this time of climate change, and on listening to everyone involved. Walkers have enjoyed conversations with ranchers, farmers, pipeline workers, retired people, environmentalists, and religious leaders.
The walk began with participation in the Fourth Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk, a 500+ person walk through part of the Ft. McMurray tar sands, learning and volunteering. The Keepers of the Athabascan, a multi-racial group, sponsors this spiritual walk every year in addition to other activities caring for land and water in the region. Lina Blount, one of the CEW walkers and a recent Bryn Mawr graduate, commented, “Seeing the tar sands during the Healing Walk and being in a spiritual place with all those people wishing for healing, set a profound foundation for the Compassionate Earth Walk.”
Walkers then drove to Hardisty, where the new construction of the KXL is planned to begin, and began their daily practice of walking 20 miles in two shifts each day, with the nonwalking group taking care of support services. Three of the original walkers have left for work, school or family obligations; a journalist traveled with the group for a few days at the beginning; and three new walkers joined the group on July 10. In Montana a group of about 10 walkers will join the group, bringing a school bus powered by recycled vegetable oil and solar panels – the primary support vehicle for the rest of the journey.
Rev.. Shodo Spring, a grandmother and Buddhist nun who founded the Walk, commented, “There are two sides to the walking. For many days now we have simply walked through the landscape, allowing the earth to support and heal us; now I can feel the other side of the walk, that we are giving to the earth with every step, every thought, every action and interaction.”
During the remainder of their journey, walkers will continue to seek interaction with local people, opportunities both to learn and to teach. Public events are currently scheduled near Fort Peck, MT in early August, and near Grand Island, NE in early August. To schedule an event, to join the walk, or to offer food or shelter to walkers, contact the walk leader, Shodo Spring, at 507-384-8541.
For further information and updates, see the blog and website at www.CompassionateEarthWalk.org.