Monday, January 05, 2009

Exxon Valdez Survivor: TVA survivors MUST get guarantees "in writing in legally-binding agreements"

Alaskan Riki Ott advises Harriman, TN survivors:

put in writing exactly what it will take to make you whole as families and as a community. Use your list as a benchmark so when the media return in one-five-ten and twenty years for "anniversaries," you will have a way to gauge recovery.

Working together on something for the greater good will hasten healing. So pick a focus, whether it's dealing with the mental health and social trauma, environmental trauma, or economic trauma. Form a core working group and figure out what you need to do to short-circuit the harm--or else you'll be wallowing in it for years. Such Peer Listening Circles are tools that shift people from victim mode to survivor mode--a vital change that can literally save lives--and rebuild a sense of community. Take it from a sibling injured community: this works.

And heed our warning--lawsuits do not work to recover losses! The legal system is currently broken. Better to invest your time in mediation. Calculate your short- and long-term economic harm and the harm to quality of life. Balance these against spending the next twenty years in litigation. Make demands and make concessions, but be sure to do both as a community. Insist on a process where the people represent themselves and the lawyers take a back seat. Process is important to healing.

Remember how Republicans made fun of community organizing last year? Community organizing is exactly what Harriman residents and property owners need right now, especially with two Republican U.S. Senators who are have their hands in the TVA cookie jar and who may not act in the community's highest interest.

Also, go read Ott's open letter to see how even the oil industry's claims that no long-term damage to the wildlife were betrayed by long-term reality.

No comments:

Post a Comment