Quantcast

Veterans at Standing Rock Heading to Flint Next

Energy

Hundreds of U.S. veterans that joined the historic uprising at Standing Rock at a pivotal moment ahead of a key victory are turning attention to their next act of solidarity, this time to stand with communities suffering from the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

One of the main organizers who brought together more than 2,000 veterans to form a human shield around water protectors at Standing Rock in the face of an anticipated violent crackdown, U.S. Army veteran Wesley Clark Jr., said that while details of the trip to Flint aren't finalized, the move is on the agenda.

"We don't know when we are going to be there," Clark, who is the son of retired U.S. Army General and former Democratic presidential nomination hopeful Wesley Clark Sr., told the Flint Journal, "but we will be heading to Flint."

"This problem is all over the country," he added. "It's got to be more than veterans. People have been treated wrong in this county for a long time."

Local residents told the Flint Journal that they hope a visit from the veterans could help bring much-needed media attention to the water crisis, which has fallen out of the news spotlight in recent months even though thousands of homes left with contaminated pipes still don't have guaranteed access to safe drinking water.

Both the struggle against the US$3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline and the Flint water crisis have been described as emblematic cases of environmental racism.

The months-long struggle spearheaded by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota—met with brutal repression including the use of dogs, pepper spray, rubber bullets, water cannons in freezing temperatures and other military equipment—scored a victory Sunday when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a final permit for developers to tunnel under Lake Oahe to complete the pipeline on its current path. Although Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II has encouraged water protectors to head home for the winter after the win, many have decided to stay at the resistance camps, bracing for more battles against the contentious project, which could be re-approved on an alternate route.

The 1,172-mile pipeline was already rerouted once from its original path near the majority-white town of Bismarck, North Dakota, to pass instead through treatied Native land and sacred Indigenous burial sites near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

In Flint, the water crisis was sparked in April 2014 when an unelected emergency manager switched the city's water source from Lake Huron to the long-contaminated and corrosive Flint River. Complaints about water quality surfaced within months, but it wasn't until October 2015 that Flint's water was switched back, leaving a massive infrastructure problem of heavily corroded pipes and lead contamination. According to local media, an estimated 550 homes have had their lead-contaminated pipes swapped for new ones in the town of nearly 100,000 people.

Some have drawn parallels between the racial dimensions of the threat the Dakota Access Pipeline poses to the Standing Rock Sioux' water supply and the water contamination impacting mostly Black residents in Flint. In both cases, authorities have been slow to take the concerns of the affected racialized communities seriously and act on their demands.

"These are people who have been just as oppressed and in some other forms more oppressed than Black folks," Flint resident and veteran George F. Grundy told the Flint Journal in reference to the struggle at Standing Rock, adding that shows of solidarity have made him believe that "the human spirit is larger than any corporate entity."

Before the veterans head to Flint, Clark and a group of his fellow veterans offered a powerful show of historical reckoning with Native Americans in North Dakota on Monday.

In front of Indigenous leaders, some of the veterans recognized the history of genocide against Native Americans and asked for forgiveness for the military's role in war crimes and violent attempted extermination that targeted tribes. Sioux tribe spokesperson Leksi Leonard Crow Dog accepted the apology.

The fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline has brought together some 200 Native American tribes in support of the water protectors and garnered solidarity from hundreds more environmental, human rights and Indigenous groups.

Reposted with permission from our media associate teleSUR.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Europe is bracing for a second heat wave in less than a month. TropicalTidbits.com

Europe is gearing up for another extreme heat wave that could set all-time records for several European countries.

Read More Show Less
Modern agricultural greenhouses in the Netherlands use LED lights to support plant growth. GAPS / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Kevin M. Folta

A nighttime arrival at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport flies you over the bright pink glow of vegetable production greenhouses. Growing crops under artificial light is gaining momentum, particularly in regions where produce prices can be high during seasons when sunlight is sparse.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
On Oct. 4, 2017, the Senate EPW Committee held a hearing on Wehrum's nomination. EPA / YouTube screenshot

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) former head of the Office of Air and Radiation who was instrumental in drafting policies that eased climate protection rules and pollution standards is under investigation by a federal watchdog for his dealings with the fossil fuel industry he was supposed to be regulating, according to the New York Times.

Read More Show Less

It's no secret that the Trump administration has championed fossil fuels and scoffed at renewable energy. But the Trump administration is trying to keep something secret: the climate crisis. That's according to a new analysis from the watchdog group Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) who found that more than a quarter of the references to climate change on .gov websites vanished.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

New York is officially the first state in the union to ban cat declawing.

Read More Show Less
People walk in the Shaw neighborhood on July 20 in Washington, DC, where an excessive heat warning was in effect according to the NWS. Alex Wroblewski / Getty Images

By Adrienne Hollis

Climate change is a threat multiplier. This is a fact I know to be true. I also know that our most vulnerable populations, particularly environmental justice communities — people of color and/or low socioeconomic status — are suffering and will continue to suffer first and worst from the adverse effects of climate change. Case in point? Extreme heat.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Anne Danahy, MS, RDN

Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera).

Read More Show Less