As the Memorial Day weekend unfolds, we simply relay the most recent message from Standing Rock Chairwoman Janet Alkire, regarding recent pipeline strategy:
We are preparing, once again, for battle. In 2016 and 2017, the NoDAPL camps here at Standing Rock grew to encompass tens of thousands of people and created an explosion of awareness of our Indigenous struggle on the frontlines of the water and climate crises. By standing strong together, we captured the world’s attention and ignited a powerful movement for Native and environmental justice. Now, as we ready to re-engage the legal fight to end the Dakota Access pipeline, it remains critical that we act with unity and purpose. In that spirit, I invite you to watch Standing Strong Together, the fourteenth chapter of our Dakota Water Wars video series, co-produced by Standing Rock Nation in partnership with the Great Plains Tribal Water Alliance and Lakota People’s Law Project.
The video highlights a recent pipeline strategy meeting we held at Standing Rock. Watched over by our ancestors, tribal leaders and water protectors gathered to discuss a new coordinated offensive, including a lawsuit and public comments barrage to challenge DAPL’s soon-to-be-released Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Just last week, we held another meeting with Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. We now have clarity that the EIS will become available for public comment at the end of June.
And that’s where you come in. We will need to flood the Army Corps with public feedback demanding a valid EIS. We already know this one, written by a firm beholden to Big Extraction, will be worthless. (The company hired to prepare the current EIS is a member of the American Petroleum Institute and argued against us at a DAPL hearing!)
It’s past time for the government to force compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and stop the flow of oil through this illegally operational pipeline. As it has been since the very beginning of this movement, our fight is your fight. By stopping DAPL, and by opposing every incursion onto sacred lands by the fossil fuel industry, we can protect our communities and the Earth and water we all share. Your voice, and all voices, will be critical. Please stand strong together with us.
Now comes author Anna Badkhen, whose essay collection Bright Unbearable Reality, was longlisted for the 2022 National Book Award. Born in the Soviet Union, Badkhen is now a U.S. citizen. Below, an excerpt from a remarkable essay in Orion, a publication that seems to become more vibrant with every issue. Image and caption added by DP.
Over the past three weeks, we have received a number of communications seeking clarification regarding what we mean by lifeboats.
SAILING AWAY FROM THE WRECK
We mean, community-scaled projects that embody a way through the fog & away from the sinking wreck of terminal extraction. Far enough way, that the lifeboat does not become sucked into the abyss as the sinking accelerates from temporarily manageable leakage to catastrophic scuttle.
In opposition to the hulking wreck of extraction, consumption and mutual exploitation, lifeboat projects convey values of regeneration, connection and mutual aid. Lifeboats come in many shapes, from place-based or mission-based schools through to ecovillages and regional food sovereignty initiatives.
Consider for example, an alternative school project flourishing within a small city here in New England, one that many have written off as doomed by drugs and post-industrial dereliction: Lawrence, MA.
This particular lifeboat has been christened with the auspicious name: Esperanza.
Daily life within the school is governed by an embedded ethos of restorative justice:
That is the sort of ethos that will be required on board the lifeboats, sailing away from the spinning wreckage. And the sort of transformative school that does not just imagine a better future, but anticipates it, through daily practice.
“And some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”
As longtime readers know, and are likely tired of reading, we strongly believe (a belief grounded in mountains of scientific evidence) that our acute environmental crisis has evolved over hundreds of years through an entrenched, dominant ethos of human supremacism, an ethos in which we treat the world as our oyster, to be extracted, cracked, garnished and consumed.
Thus we close this eleventh DP navigation through the riptides of our present moment with the voice of the peerless Ed Yong, whose deeply exploratory An Immense World is our DP Book of the Year by a considerable margin. In this extraordinary and gracefully written treatise, Yong brilliantly drags us out of our own human sensory bubbles, and into the thrilling lifeworlds of other creatures, whose skills, intelligence and, yes — wisdom — are humbling, to say the least.