Last night I received the 14th annual Dorothy and Eugene T. Butler Human Rights Award from the city of Brookings, South Dakota.
In accepting the award, I commended the city for publicly affirming the importance of working for human rights. To my knowledge, I’ve never lived in another place that did.
I also emphasized that nothing of significance is ever done alone, and expressed my deep appreciation to everyone in whose company I labor. I can’t say how grateful I am that I’m not alone.
When introducing me to the gathering, George Hamer of the city’s Human Rights Committee noted my deep concern about climate change: “Much of her current work is focused on that crisis, because, as she says, `It involves every living thing on Earth.’ Whether people realize it or not, their lives are intertwined with the climate. Those who are already impoverished, homeless, or victimized by armed conflict—people for whom Phyllis has long been an advocate—are already being disproportionately affected by climate change, since they do not have enough resources or power to mitigate its effects on their societies, livelihoods and health.”
“As Phyllis says, `We humans need to figure out how to live more respectfully on this planet.'”
I was glad for Hamer introducing me by way of this. Especially given that early yesterday morning some colleagues and I had met with Brookings Mayor Tim Reed, engaging in frank discussion about climate change and sustainability. The Mayor and I have, shall we say, diverging opinions, but the conversation was fruitful, and I have to say that it was fun to rib the Mayor a little (privately) when he gave me the award last night. All in good fun.
Thanks to all of you out there who support my work and allow me to be a supporter of yours. We’re all in this together!