Monkton Vermont (sometimes referred to as “the middle of nowhere”) is a small rural town in the foothills of the Green Mountains. Life is usually quite predictable and uneventful here in Monkton, but these days a drama is unfolding right in our midst and at least some of us are pretty darn proud.
Half a mile from the ToDo Institute a young woman named Addie sits in a tree, on a platform 30’ above ground. She has been in this tree for ten days now, day and night, rain and shine, by herself, throwing a monkey wrench into the works of Vermont Gas Company, the installers of a pipeline that will carry fracked gas from Canada right through the yards and gardens of Monkton, on its way to Middlebury.
Aside from being half a mile away, what does this tree-sit have to do with the ToDo Institute? We’re not a training center for civil disobedience or an environmentalist center. But we are a training center that supports thoughtful, purposeful action in the world, and awareness of the interdependent nature of our lives.
And that’s the spirit that Addie demonstrates, as she sits alone in the tree. She is doing what she can do, not just for her benefit but for the sake of the planet and those who will follow behind. Her efforts may not ultimately prevent the pipeline but they are delaying the process, bringing attention to the issue and showing us what courage and conviction look like. She is not doing nothing. She is doing something. She is doing what she can control and giving it all she’s got.
Of course Addie is part of a large network of local activists and supporters who are providing the infrastructure, so to speak. So bravo, Addie Herbert, and the others who have taken a stand and fought this pipeline, who have devoted countless hours learning about the issues, attending hearings and rallies, and doing whatever they can to influence the course of events.
May we all demonstrate such heart when the opportunity arises. May we be willing to go beyond our own convenience and comfort, if that is what is called for, to take purposeful action in the world. May we inspire each other as we take the next step, even if the outcome is in suspense, even if the odds are against us, because we believe it is the right thing to do.
Linda Anderson Krech, LICSW, is Program Director of the ToDo Institute and has been a frequent contributor to Thirty Thousand Days. She is the author of Little Dreams: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Parenting and has been teaching Japanese Psychology for over 20 years.