On Friday, a few of us from the 350 office in New York headed over to Washington Square Park for a solidarity rally for the land and water defenders at Standing Rock, who are fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
It was one of those rare and beautiful actions when a significant and surprising political shift was underway in real time: in this case, the twin decisions of a court decision and the Obama administration — one in support of the pipeline, the other against.
Even though the lawsuit was lost, the amazing display of people power underway in North Dakota prompted the Departments of the Army, the Interior, and Justice to step in and say, “construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land … will not go forward at this time.”
There were lots of people—many hundreds—so it was hard to see the dancers and speakers, but I did hear something that stuck with me: “The reason we say water is life is that when you are sick, what you need is water.”
It’s a beautiful reminder that on a planet that is already suffering from climate change, from oil extraction, pollution, dislocation, fear (and on and on the list could go) — there is a cure. It is to hold sacred places sacred. It shows the essence of what’s at risk: the fundamental things that give us life.
The Standing Rock camp has inspired many people. I’m hearing about in the grocery story, at church, among friends who I don’t usually talk to about pipelines — because they are showing the courage to stop something that seems unstoppable, and hold sacred spaces sacred. We should continue to stand with them.
Even though the pipeline is now delayed, this fight is not over. President Obama and his administration still need to reject these permits once and for all. It doesn’t matter how far along construction is — it’s never too late to do what’s right.
We hope you will take that sense of hope and join one of the many #NoDAPL actions tomorrow. (I’m heading to DC for a rally this time there so maybe I’ll see you there).
Standing together amidst the faces of friends, in a community dedicated to saying yes to something much better than pipelines, is a beautiful gift that I hope everyone takes the time to embrace this week.