Bare Bones Biology 153 – Compassionate Earth Walk

Shodo Spring is leading the Compassionate Earth Walk along the route of the Tar Sands Pipeline, beginning July 1, 2013.  If you want to participate in this walk, contact Shodo at

I asked for the story behind this walk, and here is her answer.

Shodo Spring – “Let’s go back to about 2005.  At this point I had heard about global warming.  I had heard about peak oil.  And I wasn’t sure my facts were correct.  I went to a talk by Richard Heinberg (, and after the talk I thought — not only I was right, but it’s a lot worse than I thought it was.  And then I went into a state of sort of horror and depression for a couple of years, and then there was a new baby in our family.

sitting 2011 DCI went to visit them when he was five months old.  He laughed all the time.  I would look at him laughing, and he was completely trusting and confident, and I thought:  “How can we do this?  This is just so bad.”  A year or so later I took a permaculture class, and I realized that we already have the technologies.  It has nothing to do with developing technologies.  It simply has to do with political will.

I started learning to garden.  I became involved with the local transition group, and everything I was doing was local and small.  There’s a lot you can do at the level of the local community.  It’s called resilience, and it’s a matter of preparing to be ready when bad things happen.  (Note from LL – folks in our Brazos Valley Community who want to become involved with a resilience group get in touch with Charlie Lindahl.  Everyone else, check out Rob Hopkins’ publications and his Resilience movement, which started in Great Britain and now is nearly everywhere, at

Our focus was mostly on peak oil ( because that’s a little easier to deal with and because climate change wasn’t as obvious then as it is now.

So now it’s 2013, and on a national and international scale there has been essentially no action to do the things that we already know how to do that we could do without even denting our life style, that we could do and create lots and lots of jobs.  For instance rehabilitating housing stock, stopping the subsidies to agriculture and moving them to a sustainable kind of agriculture, stopping the subsidies to big oil and moving it to alternative energy.  None of this stuff has happened, except in a few countries.  Germany has done some good things.  Basically, our country and most of the rich countries of the world have proceeded merrily along the path to destruction.  So there we are.  I am horrified.

So I was increasingly aware of all these things, and I was in training.  I was living in Bloomington, Indiana, I was studying Zen Buddhism, I had commitments there, and the only way I could handle it was to put my commitments at the temple first.  So I did environmental work around the edges.

When I finished my training, I went, in August 2011, to the White House, to demonstrate against the pipeline.  I got arrested, wearing my Buddhist robes.  The last thing I had to do with my training was to spend six months in monastic training, and I so I then went to California to do that.

In September, I was sitting in the Zendo and I started seeing pictures.  Internal mental pictures of myself walking along the pipeline route.  I had never been there; I didn’t know what it looked like; but I kept seeing these pictures and they didn’t go away.

I thought about it, I considered it, I talked to the teachers, and basically I came to the conclusion that I actually needed to go and walk along the pipeline with a group of people.”

Shodo Spring


The Compassionate Earth Walk is a spiritual pilgrimage

honoring our place within the community of life.

The human species is at a crossroads.

Our decisions now will profoundly influence the future of our children and of the whole earth.

The Keystone pipeline has become a poignant symbol of the risks of fossil fuels, the tension between economic priorities and human well-being,
and the threat of climate change to all life on earth.

We trace its route through the Great Plains with peace and compassion,

eager to hear all voices, including the wordless voice of the natural world,

blessing the earth with each step,

listening, witnessing, and offering service.

We walk as a prayer for all earth’s children,

The walk is intergenerational, intercultural  and interfaith. 

Join us. 


This is Bare Bones Biology, a weekly production of, and KEOSradio, in Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded at: