by Alex Symington…….
The ongoing protest of the Bakken Oilfield pipeline by Native Americans in North Dakota is especially significant and highlights much of what is wrong with our fossil fuel dominated energy policy; wrong as in the House and Senate’s unwavering servitude to the interests of Big Fossil Fuel to the detriment of the people and the environment. The Standing Rock Sioux Indians are rightly concerned with this pipeline so close to their land rupturing and poisoning their water supply. Oil pipelines have a documented history of spills, leaks and explosions a mile long*, but Big Oil unabashedly insists otherwise. The protest has been joined by many different tribes in solidarity not seen since the Little Big Horn. “No water, no life” is the people’s message to a government that is beholding to the very corporate interests the protest is focused on.
As demonstrated by the US government’s historic contempt for this land’s original people, the oil pipeline was to cross under the Missouri River near Bismarck, but the powers that be decided it should be father away from the capitol and closer to the under-represented Indians and their land. As with Flint Michigan’s poisoned water supply and toxic waste sites placed near poor minority neighborhoods all over the US, our Corporatocracy chooses to put the poor and powerless at risk. Another equally distressing factor of this invasion of Indian land is the bulldozing of sacred burial grounds for the pipeline. To put this in perspective for the non-native, it would be as if Arlington Cemetery was bulldozed and dug up for oil.
The recent hiring of a private security team, by the pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, armed with mace and attack dogs, has escalated the confrontation at the site to such a level of barbarity it reminds us of 1963 Birmingham, Alabama where fire hoses and attack dogs were loosed on defenseless African Americans protesting their lack of fundamental civil liberties. A federal judge has placed a temporary stop work order on the project near the reservation, but construction still continues elsewhere on the line.
As the easy to extract oil and gas sources dry up and the “demand for energy independence” grows (an absurd fallacy) the oil barons are using riskier, more desperate methods of extraction in the form of off shore drilling, fracking and processing dirty tar sands. Because of this obsession they are lusting after pristine federal land and in a sick ironic twist, as global warming melts the ice cap, the artic is a target as well.
If one stops and thinks about it, almost every ill on the planet is either directly or indirectly caused by the oil industry. Wars to control the stuff, bloody regime changes to install puppet governments to protect our stash, being in bed with the barbaric Saudis, bank rolling an apartheid government in the region because we need friends there, in supplying weapons to other “friends” we are supplying weapons to terrorists (the weapons dealers are very happy) and we create the conditions for terrorists in the first place.
Those are some direct causal results. The greatest indirect result of the insane pursuit of this unsustainable existence is global warming. It’s real, it’s not a belief, but a fact.** In a world rapidly and unnaturally heating up animal species are dying off at an alarming rate. Global warming has caused drought which in turn is causing untold misery and starvation. Researchers have linked the Syrian conflict to drought made worse by climate change. The oil bi-product, non-degradable plastic, is choking rivers, killing sea life and sea birds. As oil spills and fracking poison our very limited supply of clean, fresh water, ghouls like the Nestle Corporation swoop in and buy up water supplies and put it all in PLASTIC bottles at an incredible 2000% mark up over tap water. Two thousand percent!
None of these horrors being perpetrated, most recently upon the Indians of North Dakota and the planet at large need happen. Alternative renewable sources of energy are real and available right now. The US is utilizing the technology now, but to increase that use is the goal. All that is lacking is the political will. The old ways of doing things, the things that used to serve us have become our masters. We don’t have to go to our deaths clinging to archaic behavior just because it’s “how we’ve always done it.”
Countries as diverse as Costa Rica and Sweden are getting almost all their energy from alternate renewable sources. Scotland is getting almost 100% of household electricity needs from wind generated power. Solar power has been utilized to great success in, of all places, Germany! 78% of household electricity! Uruguay, 95% from renewables! The secret? “Clear decision-making, a supportive regulatory environment, and a strong partnership between the public and private sector.”
Thousands of alternative energy jobs, cleaner air and water and fewer reasons to kill each other. What are we waiting for? Check out thesolutionsproject.org
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