March 5th, 2017

Just as too many Americans (and other people living in the largest industrial nations) farcically respond the grocery store when asked where does food come from, I think that those same people would respond the faucet if you asked them where their water comes from. Here in Cleveland my students are too often surprised to discover that their drinking water comes from Lake Erie. They think that that reality is nasty and they tell me that they’re sticking to bottled water.

We are too out of touch with our world. Indigenous peoples don’t have that problem and we need to listen to them.

Alex Paullin, reporting in A Harmonious Resistance Creates Global Solidarity for Standing Rock for National Geographic, writes:F

or more than a year, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been at war with natural gas’s close comrade, Energy Transfer Partners, over the development of the controversial $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which has frequently been referred to as “DAPL.” (Many resistance members call it “the Black Snake.”) The approved project designs developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and supported by the U.S. Government, have allowed ETP to push all the way through the state of North Dakota down to the edge of the Missouri River.

Despite their clear-cut plans, an unanticipated tribe of Native Americans sparked a spiritual resistance residing within the Sacred Stone and Oceti Sakowin campgrounds. The movement gained public attention and increased energy due to the high risk of a pipeline burst. If a leak were to occur, it could then contaminate drinking water for millions of people. As you can see, no longer was this just a local issue, environmental and human rights activists filed in from all over the world calling themselves the “Water Protectors.”

We don’t understand how little water in the world is actually potable and that the costs of cleaning up contaminated water can be astronomical. Protecting what we have is far cheaper than cleaning up the mess after we allow corporations to spit in our soup.

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