Juliet is a freelance writer based in Southern Oregon. In her work, Juliet combines a background in photography and the natural sciences with a deep love of Oregon and a keen interest in the natural world, rural communities, and sustainable technologies. She has written for many national and regional publications, including Sierra, Audubon, Earth Island Journal, 1859, and the Jefferson Journal. She has served as managing editor for the award-winning Green Builder Magazine and is the author of two books in the library of Living Building Challenge case studies published by Ecotone Publishing.
Chris is a graphic designer in Ashland, Oregon. In addition to designing books and creating distinctive branding for authors and independent publishers, Chris creates logos, branding, and collateral for small businesses and non-profit organizations. www.booksavvystudio.com
James Parker is an international filmmaker and cinematographer based in Southern California. His passion for filmmaking has been cemented in capturing authentic human stories from all walks of life and has led him to work on projects in Singapore, Botswana, India, Sri Lanka, the UK and across the U.S. His work has been featured in numerous international film festivals with broadcast on major cable and network television, has earned an Emmy nod, a Telly, and was awarded an Italian presidential medal for work highlighting Botswana's struggle to combat HIV/AIDs.
Brint Borgilt is a designer and maker based in Southern Oregon. Brint is the principal at Nautilus Design Studio, specializing in custom homes, furniture, and lighting. www.nds-homes.com
ABOUT OUR PROJECT
Some of these landowners have sacrificed their most productive years to this fight. Some have spent what they thought was going to be their retirement attending protests, learning about the regulatory process and researching the LNG industry. Many describe the mental anguish and physical toll the years of uncertainty have caused.
We decided to call our project Our Land ~ Our Lives because this title simply but eloquently conveys the connection to place many of these landowners have expressed, and because it highlights what’s at stake if the pipeline is approved and they are forced to give up their land through eminent domain. For most of these landowners, land is more than just property; it’s their identity, their future, and a representation of everything they care about.
These rural Oregonians are impossible to classify. Though they fall all along the political and socio-economic spectrum, they share many values in common: fairness, commitment to family, and devotion to a way of life. Almost every landowner I spoke with talked fondly of the birds and wildlife that live on their land; many are distressed about the trees that would have to be cut down and the streams that might be impacted. Some would loathe to call themselves environmentalists; nevertheless, they are rural land stewards who worry about the fate of the land and the futures of their grandchildren. They are Oregonians, fiercely attached to the land and to a way of life that is becoming increasingly rare.
In working together, these Oregon landowners have shown the kind of cooperation and compromise that seems to be so sorely lacking in the national political stage today. They don’t always agree with each other, but they share a grudging respect and an acknowledgement that there is strength in numbers, and that they can’t accomplish anything without working together.
Some of these landowners have sacrificed their most productive years to this fight. Some have spent what they thought was going to be their retirement attending protests, learning about the regulatory process and researching the LNG industry. Many describe the mental anguish and physical toll the years of uncertainty have caused. And yet, it’s impossible to see these landowners as mere victims. They have shown resilience, creativity, dignity, and resourcefulness while facing an adversary with daunting financial and political resources. They have scored impossible wins and captured the attention of activists, lawmakers, and advocates. In doing so, they provide hope for landowners all around the country who are resisting pipeline projects.
I should point out that we have included more than impacted landowners in this project. Tribal members, youth concerned about climate change, and public lands advocates have also added their voices. Though landowners facing eminent domain form the heart of this project, we all have a stake in determining what our collective future will look like, and in protecting the Constitutional rights of individuals.
The people I interviewed for Our Land, Our Lives welcomed me into their homes, showed me their favorite spots, and shared their dreams, fears, and frustrations. I am grateful for their generosity, humbled by their conviction, and honored to provide a platform for their stories.
~ Juliet Grable