I returned home from the Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock a few days ago, but the fight is not over. It cannot be. There is no going back from what I know now.
But the bigger question is: How and where to move forward?
My friends remain at Standing Rock in the brutal North Dakota winter, some of them feeling abandoned by the many people who have come to stay a short while only to leave, some of them wondering why they have stayed as long as they have and whether or not it makes sense to stay any longer, and still many more who just want to survive the winter long enough to kill the Black Snake.
I want to help them and I want to go back so I can continue to serve the camps.
So phase one of the plan I am concocting now involves recruiting 20 to 40 people with construction knowledge, ability, and tools; who can travel to Standing Rock and who can work and live for a week or two in extreme winter conditions and freezing temperatures; and who can be self-sufficient so as not to place a burden on the camp.
The plan is to go to the Sacred Stone Camp to build a half pole barn that will keep the camp firewood out of the winter elements, act as a staging area for supplies, serve as an area to install solar panels, and serve as an emergency shelter if needed. There is also a need to have a structure built to store camp supplies that are currently being kept in car ports and tents. We may also float the concept of a free store after consulting with a Pennsylvania mayor who runs one in Braddock, PA.
My plan is to recruit as many people as I can, with help from a few of my friends, while putting together a plan to present to Ladonna Allard and the Sacred Stone Camp for bringing out people, tools, and materials to put these and/or other needed structures together.
Please contact me if you are interested in participating in this project.
Beyond this project, I hope to work with and encourage others to act.
In addition to everything Trump’s Pandora’s Box may hold, there are pipelines being built all across this country. If we believe the consequences of climate change are real (not just climate change itself—think, there will be consequences), each and every one of us should be doing what we can to peacefully stop those pipelines and/or support those who are working to do just that.
I also believe that each of us should be taking the rest of the winter to organize and plan the actions we are going to take in spring through at least as long as the weather is fair—some folks in North Dakota are proving that you can also take action even when the weather is not fair, but I understand that will not be easy for everyone.
What else are we going to do in the face of Trump, climate change, and the fossil fuel industry destroying our planet?
Keep going to work until the consequences get severe enough to require our attention? That, to me, seems a dereliction of my duty as a parent and, quite simply, as a being who is a part of this world.
Yes, now that I have returned home, I am going to enjoy some time and experiences with my children and family. But I cannot justify committing only to a life of enjoying my family when I believe doing so might condemn them to the difficult, and likely deadly times (see Aleppo for examples), climate change will bring if we do not start making drastic changes to the way we use energy in this country.
I encourage everyone to keep documenting and sharing messages regarding Standing Rock and other actions. Keep firing articles, blog, Reddit, and other social media posts at the Morton County Sheriff’s Office, the North Dakota Governor’s Office, DAPL, etc. write letters to the editor for various newspapers, keep raising awareness and talking to people in an effort to counter the narrative they continue to fabricate. They are frustrated by our social media presence and the media attention it seems to bring, which means what we are doing is working.
Also, write to the North Dakota Supreme Court by 4:00 p.m., Friday, December 30, 2016, by either sending them an email or letter with a comment in support of the Petition to Permit Temporary Provision of Legal Services by Qualified Attorneys From Outside North Dakota.
You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a letter addressed to 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Bismarck, ND 58505-0530. See post here for more details: https://soourkidsknow.com/2016/12/22/nodapl-water-protectors-need-you-to-write-the-nd-supreme-court-right-now/
Whatever you do, whatever we do together, let’s keep moving. We are winning.
This is the last stand of the oligarchs if we have the courage to keep standing up to them.
Figure out what you want to do and where you want to do it. Get some friends together, make a plan, and be an active part of these moments. Do not let yourself grow old as a spectator making excuses about your job, your home, or your collection of stuff as a way to justify your refusal to engage in and respond to the fierce urgency of now.
If you feel anxiety and disappointment about the state of the world, know that you are not alone. And also know that taking action is the best way to reduce that anxiety and disappointment.
Once you get active, stay active, and you will not regret it.