My great-grandmother became known as Pearl, as her Sioux birth name was forgotten. Her legend in my family suggests that her patient endurance—despite the traumas of her life during the Western expansion—was similar to the Earth’s great offering of itself. The Earth has offered a great quantity of petroleum, transformed from her earliest life forms, to allow for our great industrial age. The consuming of fossil fuel has led to the great advancement of global culture, but we have also arrived at the point of needing to move beyond our reliance on fossil fuels should we wish to continue to advance as a country and as a species within a network of influences.
My great-grandmother was taken from her tribe as a girl by a blacksmith in accord with his idea of a better life for her, and as a prospective wife for his apprentice. While I can’t speculate on the nature of her experience, I share empathy with our Native Ancestors at Standing Rock Reservation and other supporters in defense of the sanctity of the earth. I do this mainly because none of us are separate from the crisis at hand.
You do not have to share this understanding of the interconnected nature of our living systems. The truth is simple enough: it is not in our best interest to build new infrastructure for the transport of fossil fuels—fuels that are a leading factor in climate change, which is bringing about health and economic crises as well as natural disasters. We are definitely all in this together. A pipeline over land that is prone to earthquakes caused by fracking instability is a high stakes gamble for a major spill or explosion. With potential to contaminate several watersheds and cause forest res in an area undergoing severe drought, the continental risk of the Dakota Access pipeline spans several states.
Cataclysmic climate change events are already unfolding nationwide with unpredictable storms and changing coastlines. If investments like the one proposed for this pipeline are to be made in policy and infrastructure, they should reflect a new way of thinking that can support our evolving society and its need to continue providing an abundance of resources for living beings while responding to change. The evidence is clear that this will only be possible in harmony with the Earth’s needs.
Previous generations had no way of being aware of the environmental impacts of our technology. Their accomplishments have empowered our awareness and ability to transcend destructive, unsustainable, and chaotic models for energy, economy, and society.
We can do so much better in considering liberty and justice for all. Please consider adding your voice by writing a letter to your representatives in support. For more information go to: Standing Rock.