Well, a few days ago, the Army Corp of Engineers blocked the last little bit of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Congratulations to the First Nations effort at Standing Rock to stop the construction of a pipeline on their land, and to draw attention to the risks to our water.
We won a secondary battle. But do we really know what war we are fighting? Are we prepared to win it?
It was a good win. The tribes came together. The American people backed the tribes. These are two things that haven’t happened before in anything like the manner that they did with Standing Rock. We built a coalition that can accomplish great things.
Believe it or not, the battle that was won was not a strategic win. It was a small win. It was an important win. But it was not a strategic win.
The DAPL was designed to pump oil a long distance across country… oil that had already been pumped out of the ground. Once the oil is out of the ground, IT HAS TO MOVE. It cannot be left in tanks on top of the ground (that’s not better from an environmental standpoint). If we don’t put it in a pipeline to move it, how do we move it? Oil Train? Tanker Truck? Riverboat? All of these alternatives are WORSE than a pipeline! All are more likely to leak. All are more dirty to water and land and air.
The solution is to step back and look at the whole problem. It is to ask WHY are we pumping oil out of the ground?
If we love the planet enough to let our children live on it, we have to decide, right now, that stopping oil from moving is fighting the wrong war. A much bigger win is to stop anyone from pumping more carbon out of the ground.
If we don’t pump it out, we don’t have to move it.
There are thousands of oil pipelines in the United States, and tens of thousands more around the world. All of them pollute. LET’S DRY THEM UP. Stop pumping new oil. This is more than stopping a pipeline, or even many pipelines. This is more than stopping the drilling. This is stopping the pumping.
That’s the actual goal. The one we need to focus on. It’s great that we recognized the rights of native people. It’s great that we care about the Earth. But let’s put our money where our mouth is. Let’s leave the oil in the ground.
And then, let’s capture the carbon from the atmosphere and PUMP IT BACK into the ground. But that’s step two. More on that in another post.