If you’re keen enough, smart enough, on a mission enough – you might find them hiding between lines of sexual misconduct, email scandals, and personality flaws during this perverse and conflicting election season. You’ll catch a glimpse of them as the scurry from the darkness into the light, more often than not you’ll find them neglected or negated, swept under rugs or just simply brushed aside – what are they, you might ask? Well, they’re facts. They’re the real issues and real problems that you’re somehow not being bombarded with because the news is controlled by media companies so succinctly feeding the press stories – not truths – that it becomes hard to tell who the chicken and the egg are. But at least you can admit, to a point – they’re both clucking mad.
According to an infographic from 2011 that’s since gone viral, in just under twenty years – the media has gone from being owned by 50 different companies to just six by 2011: GE, News Corp, News-Corpiacom, Time Warner and CBS. Based on the recent merger between AT&T and Time Warner, you better believe that number is only going to get smaller over time – and that’s downright terrifying. One conglomerate to control them all could (unfortunately) make sense in a fascist dictatorship, or under communist rule – but we have either an oligarchy or plutocracy that masquerades around as a “democracy” – which makes it all the more terrifying how much “they” control the “news“. Because let’s face it, whether locally, nationally or globally – news continually slips through the cracks while the semblance of a political psycho-circus is always lurking just around the corner. More often than not, I find both media outlets, as well as my peers, are consumed with what I consider to be the wrong issues. Right now for me, that issue is the Dakota Access Pipeline.
For those with a terrible short-term memory, back in 2011 – there were ample protests against the cross-continent implementation of the Keystone Pipeline XL. An extension of the Keystone pipeline that would stretch from the oil fields in Alberta, Canada all the way down into Texas. The cliff notes version: Alberta’s TransCanada energy company wanted a pipeline to travel to refineries in Houston and Port Arthur, which would bring 830k barrels of oil through a day. Through much protest (that America heard very little about) the motion was passed in Canada. Their intention was to piggyback on the existing Keystone pipeline, which was given a green light by George Bush in 2008. The new XL pipeline would instead carry tar sands oil: a heavier, more corrosive and more carbon intensive oil than the conventional oil. Translation: less ecofriendly, more emissions, more pollution – and more of a mess to clean up.
The almost 1200 mile pipeline was set to disrupt wildlife while pushing out indigenous tribes that have lived in synchronicity with the land for eons. The pipeline was raising more questions than answers, increasing our carbon footprint and forcing climate change as we frack for crude oil instead of searching for more eco-conscious and sustainable solutions. The ideology behind the XL pipeline was so terrible that troves of tree huggers, nature lovers and generational leaders came out of the woodwork in protest – including most notably the president of the Sierra Club, who broke their 120 year stance on civil disobedience to drive their point home. Though a Republican Senate passed the Keystone Pipeline approval act, President Obama thankfully rejected the decision in 2015.
But that was Keystone XL, and this is the Dakota Access Pipeline. So, what’s different now? For starters, not much – and that, in my opinion, is the first problem. Since the industrial revolution, humans have continually trolled the land, stealing and pilaging what we can from it without giving much, if anything, in return. The DAPL proposes to take crude oil from currently untapped regions Bakken Oil Pipeline that are estimated to hold upwards of 7 billion barrels of oil. The problem with pipelines, as we’ve seen in the past, are the ways they can burst, break and wreak havoc on their surrounding environment, creating unlivable human conditions and decimate any semblance of animal life. As the pipeline is currently drawn, it would drive itself into the heart of the Sioux Indian Tribal Lands, disrupting the way of life of not just the native human population – but the continually dwindling animal population as well. And speaking of animal population, it feels like they’re listening – just watch this video of Bison travel down to Standing Rock to give their energy, and then remember how large packs of bison actually used to be. This is our doing, this is is our destrution, this is humanity’s Midas touch -and we pour salt in our own wounds on the daily.
It’s a shame that so many of us believe that the earth is theirs to inherit, it’s not ours, the same way it was never our grandparents, or their parents before them – this land belongs to my great granddaughters who I’ll never meet, and their great granddaughters and so forth. Our time here is a continual investment in the future, not a past debt owed to us that we can exploit over, and over again. According to the World Wildlife Foundation’s biennial Living Planet Report, in the last fifty years the marine life has been decimated by 36%, terrestrial populations have declined by 38% and freshwater popluations have shrunk an abhroent 81%. They project that in the next fifth years almost 2/3 of the wildlife in the world will go extinct for a various number of reasons, most of them manmade: climate change, pollution and the destruction of the animal’s natural habit; a hat trick of terror that humans have enacted onto the world that we simply can’t turn back the clock on – but we can stop ourselves from getting greedy with the planet and going overboard.
Ways to Help
Sign The Petition
Start small but think big. Sometimes, it’s difficult to think of one voice as being strong, loud and resonant above all else – but then you’re stuck in a room with a mosquito and it all clicks. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and the signed petition gets heard: thankfully, the White House petition exceeded the number of signatures necessary against the Dakota Access Pipeline, but there’s a second petition here through Credo Action that could also use some love.
The first thing everyone thinks of when they see the word donate is money. Yes, money helps – but so do supplies, blankets, food and water.To donate directly to the Sioux Tribe at Standing Rock, head here.
Make a Visit.
For all the wonder and splendor that the United States has to offer, I never once thought I’d put North Dakota on my travel bucket list – but until now, I’ve never been so crystal clear on what could actually affect change in our world.
Though I’m typically not a proponent of Facebook activism per say, in this case – it can do wonders to disrupt, dismantle and discombobulate the network of decision making by authorities. Though the tactic is currently under investigation by Snopes as to its actual validity, checking in at Standing Rock on Facebook is a wonderful gesture to demonstrate your solidarity, not to mention a rallying cry to get others in the know.
The earth is much more than nature – it’s nurture, and it’s time for us to protect and love the earth the same way she has loved us. Stand up for Mother Nature – stand up for Standing Rock.