Today is the day that the resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline spreads across the US and internationally.
Empowered and energised by the amazing scenes from the Sacred Stone Camp, thousands are expected to take part in coordinated actions today across to the US, Europe, Asia and as far away as New Zealand.
Josh Nelson, a Day of Action organizer with CREDO argues that “People all around the country are watching. This has struck a chord with the environmental and climate change groups and it all flows from tribal leadership and from farmers and landowners”.
A true spark has been ignited: As writer Rebecca Solnit reported yesterday in the Guardian: “What’s happening at Standing Rock feels like a new civil rights movement that takes place at the confluence of environmental and human rights and grows from the last 60 years of lived experience in popular power and changing the world.”
Today, people are being asked to “stand in unity and solidarity, to protect the protectors,” says Michael Rossi, a member of the Lakota Nation and organizer of a rally in Phoenix, Arizona.
The aim is simple: to try and put national pressure on U.S. President Barack Obama to revoke the pipeline’s permits once and for all.
And pressure is certainly growing: “To defeat a pipeline, it takes a movement of people from all corners of the nation,” reads the powerful call to action.
“Right now, we’re witnessing one of the most courageous stands against a fossil fuel project this country has ever seen,” it continues. “Thousands of Indigenous activists have set up prayer camps along the pipeline route in a historic moment of nonviolent resistance. They’re fighting with everything they have to protect their water, the land, their history, and the climate—and we need to fight with them.”
And everyday more people turn up to join the fight. The latest video from the Sacred Stone camp shows indigenous activists from Hawaii and those who have been fighting Chevron in Ecuador turning up in an amazing show of solidarity.
Meanwhile in In Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square, the former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is one of those who is due to speak, along with native leaders from North Dakota. The protest will start with a drum ceremony and prayer, led by Gabrielle Tayac of the Piscataway Nation.
The idea of the protests is to force the Obama Administration to permanently cancel the pipeline, after its temporary suspension issued last Friday.
Obama wants to make historic action on climate change a central pillar of his political legacy. And here he can make a real difference.
As my colleague, Lorne Stockmann, pointed out yesterday:
“The Dakota Access pipeline would be with us decades into the future. Once built and operating the economic incentives to keep it going will be hard to overcome. Every year it will be the source of carbon emissions equivalent to nearly 30 coal plants. Even though it may be the case that those emissions would anyway occur this year or next year, or five years from now, it cannot be the case that those emissions can occur in 20, 30 or 40 years from now. Building Dakota Access would be yet another barrier to the path to climate safety.”
Even the world’s leading business paper, the Financial Times, yesterday weighed into the debate:
“It it the global issue of climate change that has raised the profile of Dakota Access, making it into a cause célèbre for US environmental campaigners,” said the paper’s powerful editorial.
It continued: “Climate change is now an unavoidable business issue … If the world is to reduce the risk of catastrophic global warming to acceptable levels, there will have to be a huge reallocation of capital away from fossil fuels and towards low-emissions energy sources.”
The FT concluded: “The financial consequences of climate change can no longer be ignored”.
Obama should read it and take permanent action.
For more on the actions go here.