At the crossroads of social justice 

   
   These past few days have been scalding hot, reaching 100 degrees almost daily. As a result we’ve been getting up VERY early- about 4 or 5- to get walking before it gets too hot. By 12 it is getting too hot to bear, so we take a break in the afternoon until it cools off again. 

We’ve been struggling with planning our route because surprisingly it is quite difficult to find maps that have not just highways, but smaller streets as well. We got some atlases today that will help us out in figuring out exactly which streets to walk on. Hopefully those will do the trick, because at this point we have a whole bag full of maps! 

As I’ve been walking these past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about why saving Oak Flat is so important. It really is an issue that involves many angles and has many problems, so although we may all have different motivations, we can all agree that it is crucial to save this area.

For environmentalists Oak Flat is an important issue because of it’s not saved, billions of gallons of water will be wasted. In a state where drought is all too common, we must protect water as one of the most invaluable resources on earth. In addition, the 2 mile, 1000 ft deep subsidence zone will permanently destroy what was once a beautiful, priceless area.

For human rights activists the protection of religious freedom plays a key role in this fight. To the San Carlos Apache Tribe,  Oak Flat is sacred and is a central part of their traditions and religious practices. In a country where freedom of religion is held as one of the most inherent human rights, we cannot stand by while religious freedom is being threatened. The destruction of Oak Flat would be deeply disrespectful and an irreversible injustice. 

For nature lovers, whether you are a birder, a hiker, or a climber, Oak Flat must be preserved so that generations to come may enjoy it’s natural beauty. Oak Flat contains thousands of climbing routes and was the site of the largest outdoor climbing competition on earth for 14 years. The nearby Gaan Canyon, which flows with refreshing water, is a unique riparian ecosystem perfect for swimming. That area could be gone as well if this mine is built.

For those who wish to protect animals, Oak Flat’s destruction would mean the loss of habitat for the countless bears, Bobcats, foxes, and more. 

This is just the beginning of a long list of reasons to stand in support of saving Oak Flat. If you feel moved to support this movement, please take action by signing this petition and writing to Congress. THANK YOU!

-Emma 

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