On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day we were invited to screen at La Vista Ecological Learning Center in Godfrey, IL. Our film had screened once before on the Illinois side of the Mississippi, and geographically, there are many insights to be gained about the pipeline’s impacts from talking to communities in the Illinois region. We may be divided by political lines, but bioregionally, our communities share much of the same biodiversity, geography, and culture. These political state lines it turns out can be very arbitrary.
La Vista is a beautiful retreat, occupying a robust forested area along the bluffs, overlooking the river. It is also home to a Community Supported farm.
The film screened in the common room of the main building to a group of community members and Novices who live on the property at La Vista. As with all our screenings, audience members come to the issue of energy in the United States from varied backgrounds. We counted in our company that evening a long-time Sierra Club member, a community member active in many different sustainability projects, and Novices from Sri Lanka, India, Australia, Haiti, and Texas.
With each screening, themes begin to emerge in regards to what audience members want to talk about – in Kirkwood we heard a lot of comments about corporate control over energy infrastructure; at Mary Mother people were very interested in the mechanics of pipeline construction (we even had an audience member who came from a long line of Louisianan pipeliners); and at La Vista we discussed the legal system of permitting pipelines, prompted by our Australian Novice who had a law background and was very curious about the American legal system. Novices from Sri Lanka asked thoughtful questions about why public transportation is so limited in the United States and where we can expect the future of meeting our country’s energy needs to go in the coming years. These perspectives from near and far remind us that if we take the time to engage with one another and actually make room to discuss important issues, there is much to be hopeful about.
And to leave La Vista at the end of the evening being able to look up to a clear sky, free of light pollution and full of stars, certainly solidified that hopeful feeling.
Special thanks to Sister Maxine for organizing the screening and to the Novices for a lovely meal before the event.