Welcome to Ask April, a no-nonsense advice column focusing on what it is you can do to correct things that need correcting. While we all know much in life is out of our control, and sometimes, our reaction is all we CAN control, we really do have a lot of personal power, thankfully. Our will is just as important as the wills of others around us, and while we need to be considerate, we also need to make sure others are equally considerate of us. It is my hope that when you write in to me, asking advice that I can help you make a good decision that somehow improves whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. As with anything I share, I recommend people don’t automatically take my word for anything, but include my advice in with the rest of the things that help them make a decision. I wish you well. Read on.
I am horrified by the atrocities committed against the people at Standing Rock. I can’t believe what the pigs, I mean police, and rich companies are doing out there! Our water is being destroyed by these oil lines when they break, and now, they want to desecrate sacred burial grounds to build. I can’t take time off from work , let alone afford to get out there to show support. I also can’t send money, but I want to do something. What should I do?
Dear Angry American,
It is said the gathering of Tribes in protest of this pipeline is the largest indigenous gathering in over 100 years. Major changes in our Nation will come about due to the actions and solidarity of so many people. The protests have been going on since Spring of 2016, and people from other countries have traveled to show support.
At risk are not only habitat loss for animals, and the risk of contamination of water, but also Native American Sacred landmarks as well as a burial grounds. Besides that, all of this is about a half mile from where people live. A spill would devastate these people right in their own yards.
But as the battle to keep the pipelines from being installed rages on, and more of you show support for Standing Rock, may I shift your attention to the very thing that is driving the companies desire to do a pipeline?
Our demand for oil.
The pipeline might not get installed right THERE, but you can bet others will go into the ground elsewhere. They will continue to do so until we stop buying oil completely. The small-scale bicycling, walking, and carpooling as well as use of electric cars by the very few is simply not enough. Revolutionizing transportation large-scale is what needs to happen. I don’t have the answer to HOW we go about that, but hopefully, in our lifetime, somebody will.
Not just one location where a select group of people live is at stake. An oil spill anywhere is catastrophic, and everyplace is home to somebody or some animal. All pollution that destroys homes is devastating, and human beings have the nasty habit of forgetting we are not the only species on this planet. One location is no more important to the life there than anyplace else.
This is first, and foremost, not simply a Tribal issue. It’s an issue for all life, and even if the pipeline is not built there, it will be built elsewhere. I am sure some feel that as long as it’s not at Standing Rock, that is okay. It’s not.
We are the ones supporting oil, and we are the ones who have to defeat it. Until our demand for oil is gone, they will build pipelines.
As you fuel up, and then drive your cars, or ride in busses, please remember these things.
Support has to be given to those offering alternative transportation options. Buy an electric car, for example. While alternative oils exist, these pollute and would run through pipelines also, so if you are concerned about the environment, these are not the solution. If you really want to see change, start pressuring your State Representatives to pass legislation that provides more funding to clean alternatives. Find out who is working on inventions that are better. The money has to go there.
Realistically, oil companies are staffed by business people, and the only thing they are concerned about is making the best profit for their companies possible. While selling us this life threatening substance we use every day is profitable for them, you can bet your ass they will continue fighting to sell it
This is why a massive revolution in how we live day to day needs to happen before “big business” oil can be defeated.
Helping at Standing Rock may help the residents there, but it won’t solve the problem.
My advice to you is to think specifically about what your purpose in offering help is.
If you just want to help these people at Standing Rock, expressing solidarity online if you cannot afford to send money for supplies is enough. Emotional support for the people onsite is very valuable and much appreciated.
Almost three dozen historic sites reside where the proposed pipeline would run. If you want to keep the historic and scared Indigenous sites protected that are where the pipeline would run, and can’t protest or send money , reach out to representatives who could halt the building. The land where the historic sites are needs zoned off and protected so nobody can disturb them from now on.
If you are upset with police, you are powerless here. Part of the unfortunate job of doing law enforcement is to arrest people that landowners order off their land. I have seen the videos of them trying to remove people, and the people are fighting. That is resisting officers orders, and in some cases, people have resisted arrest. You get hauled off to jail and sometimes, get roughed up in the process for that. I am not saying people are wrong to protest, but they are being charged with trespassing. That results in arrest. We can’t change that. The people trespassing know they are doing so, and they, like many others, have the right to risk going to jail to do what they feel is right.
If you want to stop pipelines completely, however, support alternative technologies in hopes of making use of oil obsolete.
The World is watching, and while no end seems in sight for this, it’s not too late to reach out through online, telephone calls, or letters to representatives if you cannot be onsite like so many others can.