Category Archives: Thanksgiving

Attack dogs, rubber bullets and mass arrests. Tear gas too.

Attack dogs, rubber bullets and mass arrests. Tear gas too.

Those are some of the weapons being used against innocent Americans in the climate change war right here in the United States as 2016 nears an end. You read that right, good, innocent, unarmed American citizens who care about protecting our environment are being assaulted by attack dogs, rubber bullets and tear gas, as well as being subjected to mass arrests.

Over an environmental concern.

In America.

In 2016.

Before I tell you about these atrocities, I first need to tell you a few things about me that most reading this blog never knew.

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Over the last two summers I have been honored to participate in humanitarian efforts to help members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian tribe in South Dakota. I’ve lived among the Cheyenne River Sioux in rather primitive conditions and I’ve seen what’s left of the remnants of a once proud Native American nation.

I’ve learned how these proud people have been abused by our government and forefathers for well over 100 years and, sadly, I have also seen the resulting poverty, ravaged environment and limited resources that have been left behind.

The  Cheyenne River Sioux are never far from my thoughts and as we think about Thanksgiving I find myself thinking of how the souls of generations of Native Americans were stolen in the Dakotas (and elsewhere), along with tens of millions of acres of land and the priceless natural resources in and on them. What I’ve seen and learned is, itself, shameful but only gets worse when we consider what is happening in that region today in the global climate change war.

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Perhaps calling what’s happening ‘shameful’ is not strong enough. Appalling might be a better word to describe what is happening to the Standing Rock Sioux Indian tribe of North Dakota. As I write this I’m not even sure what is more disturbing:

The fact that local police, along with private security forces likely hired by a Texas based oil company, Energy Transfer Partners, that is intent on building a 1,134-mile long pipeline next to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, have resorted to using attack dogs, rubber bullets, tear gas and mass arrests to fight the peaceful demonstrators trying to stop construction of the pipeline or;

The insane injustice the Sioux face by learning that the pipeline was moved from the state capital closer to the reservation because people in the city had more political influence than the tribe or;

That, in 2016, we are even building another crude oil pipeline in the first place.

Frankly, I don’t even understand why we have to build another pipeline anywhere on the planet when the crude oil it carries will end up being turned into carbon dioxide that will further pollute and warm our planet’s atmosphere. The entire scenario from the pipeline to the location to the bullets, everything, seems like it should come out of a science fiction novel rather than modern-day America.

Sadly, this is not a book.

It is the reality on the front lines of the global warming war and I fear that the weapons and the war are only about to get worse. News that our new national leadership wants to expand the use of coal, install new pipelines and drill new oil rigs should scare every American not working for the fossil fuel oil and utilities industry.

And after it scares you, I hope that it will make you SO very mad that you will stand with me and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We have a world of clean, sustainable, affordable options such as solar power that can help solve the climate change crisis and in the process create new industries and tons of jobs.

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So on this eve of Thanksgiving 2016, allow me to suggest that we must stop building new pipelines, drilling for more oil, increasing our fracking, pretending ‘clean coal’ exists or that carbon dioxide does not pollute our atmosphere and oceans. We must put an end to this madness before we destroy our planet and the very soul of America.

We’ve already nearly destroyed Indian nations like the Sioux and their lands and while I would have thought we would have learned lessons from history, I can tell you that I’ve seen with my own eyes that that’s not the case.

But we have another chance to change things and I remain hopeful, ever hopeful, that Americans will put a stop to what’s happening and demand an end to the use of fossil fuel and the pollution that comes with every drop. And while we are at it I need your help in protecting the sacred Sioux. If any of this concerns you then fighting for Standing Rock and helping the Sioux would be a good start. They can’t do it alone, nor should they have to this time around.

As you give thanks this week for what’s important in your life please consider learning more about the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their fight by visiting http://standingrock.org/ or http://standwithstandingrock.net/. I am positive that they will be grateful, thankful, for your care, concern and support.

To learn more about musician Dave Matthews’ benefit concern that will take place later this week in DC click here (or view Dave Matthews’ live stream of his benefit concert by clicking here). To learn more about Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt’s benefit concert from Standing Rock please click here.

I stand with Standing Rock.

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And as the Lakota people of the Black Hills say, pilámaya (thank you), and Happy Thanksgiving.