Water Is Life
Water Ruined by DAPL Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_River#/media/File:Mississippiriver-new-01.png
Today is the sixth anniversary of when Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord sealing the fate of living in our current world of climate change, catastrophe, and covfefe. We should have seen it coming when it was not even enough of a repercussion for the US to lose Germany as their ally, the USA continued to behave roguishly, acting as a bad neighbor to the rest of the world.
Even before this there were signs we did not value the commons we shared of clean water or air. In 2016, First Nations people of Standing Rock joined by what grew to be thousands of Indigenous people and allies from across the world came together to protest the Dakota Access pipeline. After the military attacked the civilians, they pushed the pipeline through without a proper environmental review. This would be a hallmark of the Trump administration, doing away with environmental reviews so we could not even be prepared for the disaster to come. The Dakota Access Pipeline would be built under the Missouri River, which later connects to the Mississippi river, together they make the third largest river system in the world. Trump called for “open season” for the oil and gas industry in America, unleashing the consequences we struggle with today. One of the worst was in North Dakota, after the Sioux people tried to warn us when they put their bodies on the line at Standing Rock. The Bakken oil fields that were getting fracked in North Dakota caused small earthquakes, affecting the river bed in Missouri cracking the Dakota Access pipeline, which laid underground. It was a slow leak and it flowed underground to the Missipissi river and the many tributaries connected to the Missouri river, poisoning Middle America’s water supply. This left 17 million people without water. The Mid West, the area of America largely responsible for electing Trump, so afraid of letting refugees in, were made refugees in their own country. Massive displacement and unemployment ripped through the middle of America, as farmers could no longer keep up the bread belt of America, once its fresh source of water was compromised.
This could have been avoided, if we had listened to the indigenous people when they spoke the wisdom that “water is life” as they were attacked by dogs and shot with water cannons in freezing temperatures. In Trump’s speech explaining why he pulled out of the Paris Climate Treaty, he said he didn’t want to “disadvantage” Americans (ironically the most advantaged people in the world). So instead of “disadvantaging” Americans with clean air and water, he rubber-stamped the oil and gas projects that took away Americans clean water supply. On this day, we reflect on what could have been if we had listened at Standing Rock and held ourselves accountable to the Paris Climate Accord. Alas, we went the wrong way.