OCT 31, 2016 9:23 AM PDT

Standing Rock Sioux receives solar panels to continue the fight against DAPL

This past week actor Mark Ruffalo and Native Renewables founder Wahleah Johns presented Standing Rock Sioux tribal elders with mobile solar panels on trailers, bringing clean power to the protest encampment where the largest gathering of Native Americans in modern history is taking a stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
 
Ruffalo with tribal leaders. Photo: Jon Wank, The Solutions Project
 
“This pipeline is a black snake that traverses four states and 200 waterways with fracked Bakken oil,” said Ruffalo, co-founder of The Solutions Project, a venture that works to transition society to clean and renewable energy. “We know from experience that pipelines leak, explode, pollute and poison land and water. But it doesn’t have to be that way.”

The solar trailers will allow for medical tents and numerous other critical facilities to be powered with clean energy, and represent exactly the healthy/abundant future of energy for which the Standing Rock Sioux are currently fighting.

“Water is life,” said Johns, a Navajo leader. “By leading a transition to energy that is powered by the sun, the wind and water, we ensure a better future for all of our people and for future generations.”

According to a report by EcoWatch: Johns’ company, Native Renewables, promotes low-cost clean energy solutions for Native American families throughout the U.S., with an emphasis on job creation and on benefiting the community as a whole. The trailers were built by members of the Navajo nation and were financed by Empowered by Light and Give Power.

Research led by Stanford Prof. Mark Jacobson, another Solutions Project co-founder, shows that it would be technically possible and economically beneficial to transition to 100 percent clean renewable energy in each and every state across the country. In North Dakota, for example, wind and solar energy would be the primary sources of clean power and transitioning to 100 percent renewables would create 30,000 jobs.

Actor Mark Ruffalo talked about protesting with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to fight the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
 

"Around the world, more than 80 percent of the forests and lands with protected waterways and rich biodiversity are held by indigenous tribes. This is no coincidence," Ruffalo said. "As so many of us suffer from polluted water, air and land in our rural and urban communities, the water defenders at Standing Rock are showing us another way."

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe says it was not sufficiently consulted when the Dakota Access Pipeline was in the planning stages. The pipeline endangers the tribe's water supply—and the water supply of millions of other people, as well, given the pipeline's planned crossing under the Missouri River. The pipeline's construction has already marred sacred lands, including burial sites. The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies—including indigenous people from across the U.S. and around the world—see it as a clear threat to both the tribe's cultural heritage and the basic human right to clean water.

Sources: EcoWatch, Powwows, The Free Thought Project
About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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