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Rocket Trike Diaries—Week Four

Energy

Tom Weis

Welcome to Rocket Trike Diaries—a 10 week video tour of the 2011 "Ride for Renewables: No Tar Sands Oil On American Soil!" Join Renewable Rider Tom Weis as he pedals his rocket trike 2,150 miles through America’s heartland in support of landowners fighting TransCanada’s toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline scheme. Here are the video entries from Week Four:

Video Entry #23: Hannah & Friends Unite Against Keystone XL

Renewable Rider Tom Weis, Alex White Plume, Daryl Hannah & Paul Siemens discuss why they are united in their opposition to Keystone XL. Weis talks about how Dr. James Hansen, the nation's top climate scientist, was recently arrested outside the White House, when he should have been invited inside to brief the president: "What's wrong with this picture?"

Video Entry #24: Hannah, Weis & White Plume Talk Keystone XL Corruption

Renewable Rider Tom Weis, Daryl Hannah & Oglala Lakota elder Alex White Plume discuss corrupt dealings between the U.S. government and TransCanada. Daryl takes the oil lobby to task for their unethical and misleading "ethical oil" advertising campaign.

Video Entry #25: Oglala Lakota Matriarch to Obama: "Stop This Pipeline."

Ron Seifert hears Oglala Lakota matriarch Debra White Plume talk about her responsibility as a mother and grandmother to defend our water for future generations. She urges all human beings to tell President Obama he must defend the land, water and people of this country against TransCanada and their tar sands pipeline.

Video Entry #26: Oglala Elder to TransCanada: "I Fear Nothing."

Renewable Rider Tom Weis hears Oglala Lakota Buffalo Chief Floyd Hand talk about uniting with ranchers and farmers peacefully to fight Keystone XL. As an Oglala Sioux warrior, Floyd says he fears nothing: "I will lay down my life for my children."

Video Entry #27: Wyoming Rancher: "Mother Earth Needs You"

Renewable Rider Tom Weis hears Wyoming rancher Eric Ringsby talk about why he joined the Keystone XL "Tour of Resistance" on horseback with Lakota tribal leaders & Daryl Hannah. Eric urges Americans to heed the call: "Mother Earth needs you to wake up, start thinking for yourself and make a difference."

Video Entry #28: Lakota Matriarch on Keystone XL: "This is a Fight for Survival."

Renewable Rider Tom Weis hears Oglala Lakota matriarch Regina Brave describe her people's treaty stand (Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868) against Keystone XL. Regina warns that contaminating the Ogallala Aquifer will destroy the future of our children and grandchildren. Calling this "a time to show unity as Americans against this pipeline," she says, "Money can pass through your hands like water, but the land is forever."

Video Entry #29: Lakota Elder Shares Native Wisdom with Daryl Hannah

Ron Seifert listens to Oglala Lakota elder Alex White Plume share with Daryl Hannah how TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would threaten the spiritual healing of the Lakota people by violating a sacred death trail the Lakota travel to deal with historical grief and trauma. Alex translates the meaning of Lakota for Daryl: La ("love and compassion") Ko ("to include everybody") Ta ("toward the ancient ways").

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

Michael Schade / Twitter

At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.

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