The Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) and Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), along with other US-based members of the social, environmental and climate justice communities and global alliances have platforms calling for leaving 80% of the current totality of fossil fuel reserves under the ground and ocean in order to avoid global temperatures rising to no more than 1.5°C. How will this transition away from fossil fuel extraction be organized within our respective communities? What will the consequences be for people, our communities, humanity, ecosystems, habitat and all life? Issues of climate and environmental injustice and equity cannot be avoided if such questions are to be addressed.
It is time to stop thinking we must protect nature and recognize that as much as every other life form on Earth, we are nature. We cannot separate ourselves from the water we drink, the food we eat or the air we breathe any more than we can care for just a single leaf on a tree. And yet, human law almost everywhere defines “nature” as property to be owned, commodified and destroyed at will for human profit. Most of the destruction of the Earth is sanctioned by law—from blowing the tops of mountains for coal; to fracturing the earth for oil and natural gas; to clear cutting the Amazon and displacing Indigenous communities. In so doing we are defying Natural Law that governs the planet’s life systems. Climate disruption is the direct result of human activities pushing beyond the limits of Natural Law.
To avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis and move toward a planet in balance, we must challenge the idea that Earth’s living systems are property and change our legal frameworks to adhere to the natural laws of the Earth. Recognizing Rights of Nature means that human activities and development must not interfere with the ability of ecosystems to absorb their impacts, to regenerate their natural capacities, to thrive and evolve, and requires that those responsible for destruction, including corporate actors and governments be held fully accountable.
November 17, 2017, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 23rd Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) has come to an end. And while progress has been made on the UNFCCC traditional knowledge Platform for engagement of local communities and Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Peoples’ rights are not fully recognized in the final platform document of COP 23. The burden of implementation falls on local communities and indigenous peoples.
The water protectors camp, called the Wakpa Waste Camp, continues to stand in protection of water that threatens the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe including continuing to stand against the Dakota Access pipeline, and against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. If built, the Keystone XL pipeline would would carry Tar Sands crude from Alberta and come within less than 1-mile of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe’s boundaries.
Last Real Indian’s editor Matt Remle recently spoke with veteran water protector Joye Braun about the Wakpa Waste camp and fight against the Keystone XL pipeline. For those who are unaware of the water protectors camp at Cheyenne River tell us more about the camp.
First Nations organizing leads to TransCanada Ending Its East Energy East Pipeline and Eastern Mainline proposals.
Energy East Project was a major concern for the safety of our waterways, fish, vegetation, animals plus our people who reside next to the Wolastoq (St. John river).
Please recognize this is a partial victory. We can celebrate our success here in the east coast although we need not overlook our Indigenous Sisters and Brothers in the west coast who must deal with the Kinder Morgan Pipeline that was authorized by the Trudeau government. Here in Wolastoq Homeland, we will continue to support the western Indigenous Nations as they resist the Kinder Morgan Pipeline.”
Dallas, TX — On Friday, September 8th, 2017, the #STOPETP coalition rallied at the headquarters of Energy Transfer Partners. The rally featured speakers who traveled from the Dakotas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and other communities who are impacted by ETP’s pipelines. Following the rally, organizers of the event led a march to Kelcy Warren’s home, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners. As the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, Warren is responsible for the many violations committed in the construction and operation of his company’s pipelines. He and his company are also responsible for using illegal counter-terrorist tactics on Indigenous Peoples and their allies during the Standing Rock movement.
Despite unprecedented protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and being charged for many violations during the construction of DAPL, Energy Transfer Partners continues to expand its operations across the United States. From North Dakota to Pennsylvania, from Ohio to Louisiana, from Michigan to Texas, ETP violates Indigenous sovereignty, human and environmental rights. “Enough is enough. Across the country, Energy Transfer Partners steals land, poisons air and water, and trashes the climate,” said Yolonda Blue Horse, Society of Native Nations. “But the buck stops here. We’ve come together today to say ‘Stop.’ Stop the violence, stop the pollution, #StopETP.”
The devastation of Hurricane Harvey is horrific and unprecedented, affecting millions of people in Texas and Louisiana. Estimates are now being tallied from the impacts of widespread flooding and this event will be the largest ever since Katrina.
Beyond the obvious devastation and what is not being talked about enough in the mainstream is the environmental damage from leaking petroleum refineries, chemical plants, and manufacturing facilities. As the storm moved in these plants began shutting down operations which included burning off noxious gases into the air and releasing cancer-causing pollutants that made their way into rising waters.
We are a growing coalition of communities and organizations that care deeply about our rights to clean water, clean air, a stable climate, and a democratic society. We believe that landowners and indigenous tribes have the right to determine what happens to their land. But Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), a giant oil company based in Texas, has been consistently violating those rights in their drive to build new oil and gas pipelines. And along the way, communities have suffered.
Listeners may recall photographs of Native American people on horses facing masses of law enforcement in riot gear and tanks near Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. The powerful images seemed to symbolize the fight of indigenous communities and others against a pipeline carrying fracked oil from the Bakken Fields some thousand miles into Illinois, crossing the Missouri River that serves as a life source for the Standing Rock and others in the region.
But fights have many fronts, some less visible than others. And as activists know, struggles don’t end when media lose interest. The No DAPL fight may not be in your news feed anymore. That doesn’t mean it’s over; far from it.
New Town, N.D. – This weekend, the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), Protectors of Water and Earth Rights (P.O.W.E.R.), grassroots activists and clergy from the Gulf Coast led a “toxic tour,” the Third Annual Healing Walk, and an educational seminar for community members in the heart of the Bakken Oil Formation. The two-day series of events aimed to increase awareness about the environmental impacts of pipeline toxins and pollution in local water resources. Participants say this information is critical for communities along the pipeline routes because the Bakken oil and gas field resources the Dakota Access and Bayou Bridge Pipelines and also leaks 275,000 tons of methane per year.
BISMARCK, N.D. –– Ft. Berthold Protectors of Water & Earth Rights (POWER) sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on July 10 over the agency’s decision to ignore parts of a rule designed to reduce the waste of natural gas resources belonging to tribal government and mineral rights owners on allotment land. The Methane Waste Prevention Rule went into effect in January 2017. However, in June, at the urging of industry groups, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stayed provisions of the rule, preventing its full implementation for at least six months. Ft. Berthold POWER is challenging the stay as part of a coalition of community and environmental groups represented in court by Earthjustice. “This is the third time that the industry has influenced the new administration to force the repeal of this much-needed regulation that protects our resources and air quality,” said Mandan Hidatsa & Arikara Nation member Lisa DeVille, the president of Ft. Berthold POWER, a local affiliate of the grassroots statewide Dakota Resource Council.
From May 26-28, 2017, a gathering was held in Xapuri, in the state of Acre, Brazil, around “the effects of environmental and climate policies on traditional peoples.” In addition to the publication of the Xapuri Declaration, videos were disseminated with statements from indigenous leaders, seringueiros (rubber tappers) and other participants at the event. Since then, many of those leaders have been pressured and threatened by the „owners of power in Acre“.
Chinese oil consortium Andes Patroleum has been given a go ahead to explore and exploit lands in the Ecuadorian Amazon, including territory of the Sapara people. Amazonian leaders have denounced this development, as Andes Patroleum will cause genocide against the Sapara Nation and uncontacted indigenous peoples if it drills in their ancestral territory in the Ecuadorian rainforest.
Join us at the Chinese Consulate for a solidarity and visibility action, and delivery of a letter demanding Andes Petroleum cancel the contract to explore and drill oil in Sapara territory immediately. This action will coincide with Sapara leader Gloria Ushigua Santi’s visit to the bay area.