Why we need to stand with Standing Rock

Written By: - Date published: 2:33 pm, October 6th, 2016 - 19 comments
Categories: activism, capitalism, class war, climate change, disaster, Environment, farming, farming, global warming, human rights, Mining, peak oil, sustainability, us politics, water - Tags: , , , ,

Standing Rock is an occupying protest at a proposed oil pipeline crossing native lands and putting the Missouri catchment at risk. It is organised by the water protectors of the Dakota Sioux. See here, here, and here for background.

This more than a local water issue, Standing Rock are calling on people all around the world to stand up for their own water too. Like Occupy and the Black Lives Matter movements, Standing Rock is at the forefront of direct action change, challenging the powers of corporate control in their own backyards, but presenting leadership and solidarity with the overall need to change everywhere. Like all great initiators of social change, these movements are happening outside of the establishment and without waiting for sanction from the powers that be. They are often poorly understood within the mainstream and tend to get minimal or biased coverage from the MSM.

Standing Rock is protecting water, but it’s also climate change activism. It’s saying that we have to change, we can no longer let money dictate whether life  gets to survive, whether that be the Missouri watershed  or the planet as a whole. We are no longer fast approaching a crisis point with regards to climate, water, and corporate control. We are already there. We now need to pick a side and choose whether we will do what it takes to change or not. No-one is coming to save us, it’s up to us.

In NZ at this time it’s not oil that brings the biggest threat (except), it’s industrial milk. But the dynamics are remarkably similar. Corporate interests wield power that damages the land without regard for communities or even the reality that we are all dependent on water and the greater biosphere. Protecting water is central to all of this, because water is life. It’s easier for us to relate with the river we used to swim in than with changes to the climate over decades. We need to protect water from oil, AGW, and industrial dairy i.e. all the extractive, last gasp initiatives of the fossil fuel age.

But beyond protecting what we hold dear and are utterly dependent upon, we also need to change ourselves. This isn’t just about protecting the Waimakariri or the (Ruataniwha) Makaroro and Tukituki catchments that run into Havelock North. Those things are all important, vital. But if we ourselves don’t change then we are sanctioning the Dakota Pipeline, the Candadian tar sands, the off shore oil drilling in NZ. We support the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the NZ Government setting national water quality standards at ‘swimmable’. Because as long as we all refuse to change unless someone does it for us first, we are the demand for the dangerous and risky extraction of fossil fuels and industrial dairying that is literally destroying the planet.

What would our own lives will be like without oil (or industrial milk)? How can we make that happen? We can decide if we will give up these things now while we still have time to do it in a good way, or whether we will stay hooked until the supply is gone and our demand has actively supported the very destruction of the world we need to live in.

This applies to dairy farming too. Maybe it’s time to boycott Fonterra. Perhaps we should be occupying our cherished swimming spots. Not because milk is wrong, but because how we are doing it is literally destroying the planet. We pollute the water and we create climate change. They’re now the same thing and they’re happening on our watch.

On the 8 – 10th October there will a be four International Days of Prayer and Action with Standing Rock. Ways to participate (most apply in NZ),

1. Organize a prayer or ceremony on one of those days

2. Boycott all gas stations (especially Phillips 66) for one or all days

3. Halt construction of a pipeline near you 😉

4. Organize a letter writing party to tribal, local or national officials

5. Close all accounts with the following banks on October 11 for the #DivestFromDAPL campaign: http://www.democracynow.org/2016/9/9/who_is_funding_the_dakota_access

6. Share the attached flyers

7. Pray by your local water source/mountains/sacred sites

8. Round dance in public places/demonstrate

9. March/Pilgrimage for Standing Rock and other local issues

10. Translate flyer to a foreign language you know: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18EwJqvO35ykljqw0E9OlgD2SE4eqSyVLfteyI4genF8/edit

For those four days I will put up a post on The Standard in solidarity with Standing Rock and with all the water protectors active in New Zealand. Please join in the comments with discussion of what is happening especially in NZ, what inspires us to change, where we are making progress and what we can do next.

#Waterislife

Donations in support of Standing Rock can be made here or here.

19 comments on “Why we need to stand with Standing Rock”

  1. Leftie 1

    Thanks Weka for that awesome post.

    I stand with Standing Rock.

  2. Adrian 2

    Luckily Democracy Now! were there with their cameras at the beginning when the dogs were let loose, no MSM media coverage of outrageous corporate behaviour course….

    http://www.democracynow.org/2016/9/6/full_exclusive_report_dakota_access_pipeline

    Good post, thanks.

  3. Thanks weka great post.

  4. corokia 5

    The 6.5 million cows polluting our rivers are not here to supply milk for New Zealanders to drink. Its milk powder for export that is the problem.

    I’m not going to stop buying milk for my teenage kids to drink. We had town supply dairy farms supplying milk locally for decades and that isn’t the problem.

    The issue is the ridiculous obsession with 1 product- milk powder and much of it for infant formula. By the way, whatever happened to ‘breast is best’ for feeding babies?

    • weka 5.1

      Completely agree. Industrial dairying for export is an extractive industry like oil drilling.

      We don’t have to stop eating dairy. Milk, cheese, yoghurt etc are great foods for people that tolerate them. No reason we can’t have locally produced, ethical milk production and clean water. We already know how to do this (although I think the standards of what we had before the dairy boom weren’t fantastic, and we can do even better than that now).

      One of the big messages I get from Standing Rock is that they’re saying money isn’t the priority. This from people historically (since colonisation) at the bottom end of the socioeconomic scale in the US. That’s the challenge for NZers. Do we want to have clean rivers and lakes? Then we need to find other ways of making a living, and give up the values around making a killing.

    • Naki man 5.2

      “The issue is the ridiculous obsession with 1 product- milk powder and much of it for infant formula. By the way, whatever happened to ‘breast is best’ for feeding babies?”

      Actually a very small proportion of the milk goes into infant formula.

      • Corokia 5.2.1

        Where is the data on that? I did think a lot went into processed food, but from the media we mostly hear about infant formula

  5. corokia 6

    “Then we need to find other ways of making a living, and give up the values around making a killing.”
    Totally agree!

  6. A message of solidarity from Leonard Peltier – wrongfully imprisoned by the machinations of the state for 40 years – yep FORTY YEARS.

    “…I am grateful to have survived to see the rebirth of the united and undefeated Sioux Nation at Standing Rock in the resistance to the poisonous pipeline that threatens the life source of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. It is an honor to have been alive to see this happen with you young people. You are nothing but awesome in my eyes.

    It has been a long, hard road these 40 years of being caged by an inhuman system for a crime I did not commit. I could not have survived physically or mentally without your support, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul for encouraging me to endure and maintain a spiritual and legal resistance… ”

    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/09/22/18791578.php

    Leonard Peltier must be freed – this injustice is too much, too much.

  7. mary_a 8

    I’m with Standing Rock.

  8. seeker 9

    Thankyou for such an informative and important post weka. Will be praying in solidarity.
    Both interesting and nauseating to see some familiar ‘bad rep’ banks named such as
    The Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays, Bank of America and now Deutschebank.

  9. gsays 11

    hi weka, thanks for the post.
    i am currently reading naiomi klein’s this changes everything: capitalism vs the climate.

    time and time again it seems to fall to the first nation peoples to stop tar sands development, pipelines and other gross, long term devestation of the water and environment.
    they appear to have the conviction (sacredeness of the eco-systems), the imagination to find solutions and, grimly, nothing left to lose.
    it takes courage and stamina to stand up to the powers that be.

    i will take time to honour the standing rock this weekend.

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