Coming Alive: Action & Civil Disobedience

Taylor Brorby, author of <em>Coming Alive, </em> being arrested. “Environmental writing is often beautiful and moral, but rar
Taylor Brorby, author of Coming Alive, being arrested. “Environmental writing is often beautiful and moral, but rarely is it as honest as this. Kentucky farmers have Wendell Berry; North Dakota roustabouts have Taylor Brorby.” —Jeffrey Lockwood, author of Behind the Carbon Curtain: The Energy Industry, Political Censorship and Free Speech

“There is a way of being wrong which is also sometimes necessarily right.”—Edward Abbey

from Taylor Brorby's essay, Coming Alive:

"Sage swirls around the muddy banks of the Cannonball River before it merges with the Missouri River. I’ve returned home to North Dakota to witness something incredible: the Standing Rock Sioux fight for their sovereignty and stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

It’s a rainy day in August when I pull into the Spirit Camps. My friend Carolyn and I have driven from our home in Ames, Iowa, to bring blankets, jackets, and food to help aid in the battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172 mile pipeline that begins near Stanley, North Dakota, swings west toward Williston, barrels under the Missouri River, crosses South Dakota, and cuts Iowa in half, before connecting to an existing pipeline in Patoka, Illinois.

This damn pipeline has made me into an activist, a label I hate for its politically-heavy association. I moved out of the Bakken oil boom in 2014 to begin writing books and essays about extractive economies, sex trafficking, my home in North Dakota riddled with pump jacks and oil spills. I moved to Ames for graduate school, thinking that, eight hundred miles between the Bakken oil boom and me would be enough space to reflect and rally the troops against the fossil fuel industry. And then, .... "

(more about this project and full endorsements are here)

The need to accept responsibility and take action for where and how each of us can best live is no longer an option. Chattering about change does not inspire, action does. In Coming Alive Taylor Brorby overcomes his trepidations and embraces the most powerful action of all—standing by his words. He commits to what he values most—family, home, the arts, the earth—and thus becomes a role-model for how we can all learn to take a stand.

With an introduction by Bill McKibben,, an afterword by Kathleen Dean Moore and photography by Paul Anderson, Coming Alive is an intimate account of place and community: flares in North Dakota, pipeline protests, and the value of local action. Coming Alive explores the wisdom in the phrase: A thousand mile journey starts with the first step. Taylor Brorby reveals a way to hope during these seemingly uncertain times. We believe each of us is capable of telling real stories just like this and we urge you to Come Alive for what you believe in too.

from the Introduction by BIll McKibben:

"Standing Rock deserves to live beside Lexington and Concord—and Birmingham and Selma—on the honor roll of noble American places. The battle (peaceful on one side) fought there in the fall of 2016 will inform, and push, our history going forward. As this extended essay of Taylor Brorby’s makes clear, it has already shaped particular hearts...."

from the Afterword by Kathleen Dean Moore:

"This book is a call to all hands to rush on deck, to “come alive” to help save what they care about the most, by doing what they do best. Is it writing? Is it speaking? Is it singing? Is it organizing? Is it walking in a parade? Is it even blocking a bulldozer? There might have been a time when our work for the world was quiet work in our private lives, focused on exemplary living and careful consumption. That time has passed. ... "

As we approach and begin this new Presidential-era we feel compelled to share and produce, in less than a month, Coming Alive, as a Call-To-Action extended essay. Coming Alive asks that we we all wake up to the reality of what is to come, as well as our continued dependence upon fossil fuels. Gift this essay to others, share it with family, donate to libraries, nonprofits, your members of congress--locally, state and national--allow it to inspire you. Coming Alive is what we need: an example of how to solve our problems, not just more talk about them. Coming Alive is available as an Ebook as well as in book form from the Ice Cube Press, LLC. Spread the word however you can--in a newsletter, on a blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, a podcast, an interview, a review, articles, book club, writing group .... we thank you in advance! Let’s end the chatter about change and get urgent, and active.

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