Category Archives: DP

Standing Strong

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.

Mni Wiconi. Water is life!

Janet Alkire
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe




Of Circles and Soil

Now comes the radiant voice of Camille Dungy, in excerpts from a recent interview circling around the themes of Camille’s book, Soil: the Story of a Black Mother’s Garden. Images and captions added by DP.









Haec Dies

Above all else, during the time of the lifeboats, we shall need a joyful spirit of rebirth, wonder and divine regeneration.








Nhh Nhh Nhh

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.








If the Earth Forgives Us

Senseless violence in Ukraine continues into a second year, with little sign of burning itself out.

Now comes the poet-journalist Iya Kiva, writing in a revitalized Emergence magazine, fast becoming indispensable reading material within all lifeboats.

The image might well be taken yesterday in the Donbas, yet in fact portrays the burnscape left by equally as senseless violence over one hundred years ago, elsewhere.







Lifeboats will require art & music of every kind; and let us hope there is plenty of room for Dakh Daughters:




“I am a monster and the world is my oyster.”





Labour of Care

The problem on the unsinkable Titanic was not zero lifeboats. For sure, there were not enough of them; after all, the Titanic had been certified as unsinkable, thus why waste money and space on lifeboats?

Yet the real problems were: unequal access to those lifeboats that were on board; lack of training for how to lower those lifeboats safely into the sea; lack of training for how to cope with the panic of a disaster while trying to organize an emergency evacuation; lack of proper supplies stored within the lifeboats, together with the lack of trained crew to manage the boats, the supplies and the survivors, under extreme stress.

Let’s call all of the above: Lifeboat Justice. Now comes shock doctrine & disaster capitalism expert Naomi Klein with salient comments on what justice means within the context of a climate emergency, as relayed from a recent interview. Archival images added by DP.








DP takeaway:

Lifeboat Justice will emerge from the struggle for Climate Justice within the emergency, as it deepens and unfolds.




Away From the Wreck

Over the past three weeks, we have received a number of communications seeking clarification regarding what we mean by lifeboats.




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.





To Break the Silence




“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.”

Martin Luther King, Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence,  Riverside Church, 4 April 1967



Time to Focus on Lifeboats

We launch this twelfth DP navigation with the most consequential graphic visualization of our prevailing crisis, vividly depicting increases in global surface temp between the years of 1880 and 2021.



The notion of a “desperado philosophy” descends from the plight of Melville’s imagined Pequod, in the midst of its own environmental catastrophe, an experience recorded by sole survivor Ishmael, saved by the “life buoy” of Queequeg’s handcrafted coffin. Queequeg, whose inscribed body was itself a kind of novel, recording the distant past and destiny of his own people.

The practice of desperado philosophy, or some may call it a vocation, requires that we remain calm even in the midst of the most violent riptides. Yes, the ship may be foundering on the rocks of our own past navigational errors; yet we know that panic will only make the situation worse.

Switching metaphors, though we agree with Greta Thunberg that we must act like our house (or ship) is on fire; that does not mean we should trample each other to death on the way to the exits, or scratch & claw over lifejackets.

As climate emergency deepens, whether expressed through the slow violence of drought and famine or through more dramatic phenomena such as bomb cyclones and wildfires, let’s stop focussing on the sinking Titanic and focus on the vibrant creativity required for the design, construction and sustenance of viable lifeboats, by which we mean community-scaled projects with a focus on resilience, skill-building, local self-reliance and climate adaptation.

To those who object that a focus on lifeboats sounds like doom & gloom, we respond: no, doom & gloom is NO lifeboats. 

This year, we will be posting less frequently, likely closer to a twice monthly rather than weekly rhythm, including occasional posts that will feature lifeboats worthy of close consideration for DP reader support and even replication. Given the scale of the challenges, there is no limit on how many lifeboats we will need. In the end, some may work better than others, yet there is no way to make that evaluation in advance. As always, we rely upon you, our DP community of readers, to guide this voyage. If you know of lifeboats in your own communities worthy of consideration and support, please send links.

We need to communicate, collaborate and co-create now more than ever before. Cheers to all for the year ahead; it promises to be another wild one.





Of Wonder & Magic

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.

Below, excerpts from a recent interview.