Teachable moment

Yesterday I wrote why decolonization and Indigenous liberation is the only way to mitigate the damages done from unrestrained fossil fuel extraction and burning. From a lifetime’s experience I know just saying something like that doesn’t register for most people. Stories or events that impact a person’s life directly are what we learn from.

I should not have been surprised by the following story in the Des Moines Register, Company wants to build a carbon sequestration pipeline in 30 Iowa counties, but I was. It was predictable that unrealistic ideas would be put forth as the reality of deepening environmental chaos can no longer be ignored. As just today we are seeing the devastation of the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

I hope the news about this pipeline might provide a teachable moment to illustrate why we need Indigenous leadership now. There are all kinds of reasons why a carbon capture pipeline should not be built. There is a matter of scale, ie what percentage of all the carbon emitted would be captured? How much energy is consumed by the capture process and to move the liquid through the pipeline? Can the liquid be safely stored for hundreds of years? How much more fertile farm ground will be destroyed by the pipeline construction? How much water is used? How many more relatives will be missing or murdered? How much profit will be generated, and for who?

I think this provides a clear example of why Indigenous liberation is the only hope for Mother Earth. Carbon capture pipelines are typical projects funded by banks, fossil fuel companies and white legislators and businessmen. Even though it is clear that continuing fossil fuel driven capitalism will only lead to increasingly dire environmental chaos. An existential threat. Our only hope is to stop spewing tons of fossil fuel emissions into the air.

Indigenous communities would not be interested in carbon capture.

In my short time at the camp (Red Lake Treaty Camp), I watched people make incredible personal sacrifices for this fight. The water protectors risking and experiencing arrests, many in their late teens and 20s, are not criminals — they’re not rebels without a cause.

They’re scared and fighting for their rights and their future: for clean water, and for the lives of their ancestors. It’s 2021, and we’re holding everyone accountable: from the banks financing tarsands expansion projects, to the insurers underwriting them, we’ll continue to hold pressure for change.

Line 3 is cultural genocide at the hands of Enbridge, police and big banks By Evelyn Austin, National Observer, August 30th 2021

Summit Carbon Solutions, the Alden company owned by Bruce Rastetter’s Summit Agricultural Group, proposes building a 710-mile underground pipeline that would extend into or through 30 of the state’s 99 counties.

Summit plans to capture the carbon dioxide emissions from ethanol and other industrial agricultural plants before they’re released into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. The company will compress the emissions into a liquid so it can be transported to North Dakota, where it will be injected in underground rock formations for permanent storage.

Company wants to build a carbon sequestration pipeline in 30 Iowa counties. Find out where by Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register, Aug 26, 2021

The map below shows the approximate planned route for a proposed carbon capture pipeline in Iowa. The pipeline would enter Iowa in the west from Lyon and Woodbury counties and extend east to Chickasaw County. It would have extensions north through Dickinson County, and south to Fremont, Greene and Story counties.

Source: Summit Carbon Solutions  Created with Datawrapper

Recognition that there is no way out of this crisis without far-reaching, social upheaval animates the proposals put forward in The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save Our EarthThe short book was authored by activists from The Red Nation, a coalition devoted to Indigenous liberation and made up of Native and non-native revolutionaries based mainly in North America.

The authors make clear that they believe the campaign to halt climate change and repair ecological destruction is bound up with the fate of the world’s Indigenous peoples. They say bluntly that “there is no hope for restoring the planet’s fragile and dying ecosystems without Indigenous liberation” and that “it’s decolonization or extinction.”

No Hope for Earth without Indigenous Liberation by Simon Butler, originally published by Climate and Capitalism
August 27, 2021


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