Interview Conducted by: Ben Copp
Christina Cabeza grew up in Florida and went to school in Tallahassee. When she moved to Colorado she first lived in Boulder for a few years. In a state-wide search for a suitable place to raise her son she moved to Crestone and has been here for six years.
Upon arriving in Crestone, on a sheer whim, Christina felt an immediate connection and an energy emerging from this place, “this is the place,” she said, and five months later moved in. She was pleasantly surprised to see “people who actually looked you in the eye,” and children interacting with adults. She deemed it a worthy place to continue raising her five-year-old son. “The reason that I came here was to get away from corporate crap, we don’t even have a McDonalds here.” She is not affiliated with any of the spiritual centers on the Baca, but rather she considers the Earth her ‘church’ and praises and respects it fully. “I don’t go a temple I don’t go to anything other than walking and being with the Earth, that’s why it’s important to me.”
Christina has amazingly seen past the terror of Lexam to the good that is coming out of this challenge. Her list of detriments that would result from drilling is not short, but to see the positive is always a challenge. Christina sees the community bonding together politically in a way she has never seen before. “There’s a lot of people who talk about in fighting in Crestone … but with this Lexam thing, actually Lexam is a blessing because Lexam has gotten us at the same table and said okay what are we going to do.” She believes that the people of Crestone are so proud of the way they are seen, as being Green and using alternatives to natural gas and fossil fuels, but with this pending doom people are noticing that they are still dependent upon the oil that Connoco Phillips sells and that when it comes down to it, just drilling somewhere else doesn’t cut it. “It’s a bad thing for the whole planet actually, its not just us. The whole state of Colorado, the Rocky Mountains, have totally been raped really.”
People arrive in Crestone from all over the world and for many reasons. Christina moved to the San Luis Valley because of the energies present and thought it a suitable place to raise a son. Her own spiritual quest revolves around the Earth as being infinitely sacred, and the Native American Church. She says about the drilling that, “it would interrupt my whole spiritual quest…its like an oil company or a gas company going into a Catholic church and saying we’re setting up shop so go worship somewhere else, but here the walls are invisible.” Sacred to Christina is an inherent quality in all; everything has at least an element of sacredness. “I think everything is sacred, every single thing. Every experience, every person…I was going to say even Lexam is sacred, I don’t know about that one. The whole human condition is sacred.” While according to Christina, the people of Crestone are united in this struggle, and in that way are benefiting, she maintains that the drilling would destroy her way of life and perhaps that of all of Crestone. “It would disrupt, that humming, all the natural rhythms that are going on there from the beavers to the ants to the birds, and that’s just the noise. And then you go into the aquifer.” One of the major concerning issues around the drilling is the aquifer that lies below the San Luis Valley. “They say that the water is more valuable than the natural gas.”
The best way, Christina believes, to win against Lexam, is by taking the legal route. She cited a case law that came out of Pennsylvania that gives the Earth rights. “The Earth has rights, which supersede any corporation rights…the Earth is first and without the Earth we can’t live so that trumps any card.”
When push comes to shove, Christina is ready for civil disobedience. “I’m totally into civil disobedience!...there’s no compromise!...we are stewards of the land.” The land, for Christina, is the most valuable entity available, and its protection is vital.