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Spring knows it will be “very easy for people to see us as outsiders who are telling others how to live their life,” she said, noting that “those against the pipeline are in the minority.”
But “we’re offering the idea that we have the choice of being friendly with the earth,” she said, and they’ll greet people with openness.
They’ll also have interdenominational prayer sessions, in the Zen Buddhist way of “sitting meditation.”
The walk’s principles are consistent with Zen Buddhism, Spring said, which emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things and acts as an antidote to the idea that humans must control the earth.
Chavez spent nine months on the “Pick Up America” walk in 2011, an effort in which participants picked up thousands of pounds of litter across the country.
He said he sees “the Keystone pipeline as one of the most pivotal environmental issues of our time.”
Though he’s unlikely to change many minds immediately, he hopes to “plant seeds” so they’ll consider other points of view, he said.
He’s been working to create a database of communities they’ll encounter and plan events. Some will be “solidarity events” so people at home can participate, he said.
Some supporters who can’t walk are helping financially, Spring said.
Spring and the walk received some formal backing several months ago through a $1,000 grant from the Pollination Project, a nonprofit offering support to those trying to make a difference in their communities.
Spring said her biggest concern is that the group will seem preachy to people they meet. But she’s excited to get started nonetheless.
“This is a bigger thing than I’ve ever done,” she said. “I need to be up for it.”
Erin Adler • 952-746-3283