Today people across the United States are standing in solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock demanding that the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the federal government halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. To find an action in your city, go here (https://actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/nov-15-nodapl-day-of-action-at-army-corps-of-engineers).
Today is a day for engineers to listen and heed their call as one which honors indigenous voices, protects the waters and earth, and upholds justice in our communities. Below is an excerpt from Erinn Fahey’s chapter in Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregionalism Faith and Practice which discusses her vocation to become a “visionary engineer.”
“Engineers have an opportunity to be visionary: to reimagine our work as a craft that manages the human footprint while also restoring right relationship with the earth; and to create opportunities for people to engage in self transformation. In the Next American Revolution, Grace Boggs calls people to be visionary organizers:
Every crisis, actual or impending, needs to be viewed as an opportunity to bring about profound changes in our society. Going beyond protest organizing, visionary organizing begins by creating images and stories of the future that helps us imagine and create alternatives to the existing system…We must come together as inventors and discoverers committed to creating ideas and practice, vision and projects to help heal civilization.
Engineers too, are called to this. Visionary engineering involves doing work that is rooted in place, democratizes the profession, engages citizen participation, and broadens the problem-solving capacities of the engineer. This involves moving away from reductive, economically driven approaches that put profits before people and freely exploit the environment. As Dr King put it, such changes will require a revolution of values.”
Bogg’s husband Jimmy said it this way: “Revolutions are made out of love for people and love fore place.” Before a system can be turned on its head and before we can bring peace and justice to people and creation, we must first become more intimately connected to our place. In our watershed the land, creatures, and people are all nourished by the same water; the more we come to know this, the more stake we have in its well-being, and the more accountable we are to it. As noted, this includes learning the history of the watershed in order to engage present challenges. This approach can change the way an engineer comes to her work. The task at hand is no longer “just another problem to solve,” but how to make our communities healthier. Instead of being removed from the people and the land the engineer serves, she knows exactly who her work is affecting.”