Water is central to life and connected to all living things.
People of faith trust in its power to purify and baptize. We believe it is a gift from our Creator, God, YHVH, Allah.
In Midrash Rabbah we are taught, “Three things are of equal importance: earth, humans, and rain…each word [in Hebrew] has three letters to teach us that without earth, there is no rain, and without rain, the earth cannot endure, and without either, humanity cannot exist.” B’reshit (Genesis) Rabbah 13:3
From the Psalms we hear sung, “You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills, giving drink to every wild animal; the wild asses quench their thirst. By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches. From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth.” Psalm 104:10-14 (New Revised Standard Version)
In the Qur’an, we are told, “He created the heavens without any pillars that ye can see; He set on the earth mountains standing firm lest it should shake with you; and He scattered through it beasts of all kinds. We send down rain from the sky and produce on the earth every kind of noble creature in pairs.” Qur’an 31:10 (Yusuf Ali translation)
Water is essential to life. We depend on it for drinking, food production, and jobs. Water continuously flows from place to place as it changes form through the water cycle. This cycle is part of the earth’s climate system, and changes in climate affect the cycle. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Earth Observatory is studying these effects. Already they are seeing the potential for more frequent and intense precipitation events, precipitation shifts from snowfall to rainfall, and an increased incidence and severity of drought.
At Colorado IPL, we support and fundraise for defense of the Standing Rock Defenders, through the Lakota People’s Law Project, as part of our effort to support communities worldwide where the peaceful actions against the fossil fuel and related industries are happening, to stand up to protect water for the benefit of present and future generations.
Here is an update on the Chase Iron Eyes/Standing Rock case on inciting riot, trespassing, etc., that we’re fundraising for, and how it fits into the rest of the cases. Chase Iron Eyes and and HolyElk’s cases, are unique in that no other water protectors have been granted the right to pursue this scope of evidence, take sworn depositions from TigerSwan, police and law enforcement out beyond a particular date on which an arrest took place, to shine a light on the illegal collusion of industry, law enforcement, and TigerSwan.
The former judge had withdrawn due to pneumonia. The new judge demanded to know why the prosecutors had not turned over the information that had been requested, all this time. He asked to know who handled the audio/radio traffic and videographer of that day. After a year of delay, the judge gave the prosecutor 10 minutes to find the sheriff and get this info (provided in one minute) after he arrived. But it turns out it has been deleted. The judge asked if it would not have been deleted if they had turned it over when requested and they admitted that. Other information was required to be turned over in 24 hours, 7 days, or one month.
In status conference this spring, ruling on several important issues in court, Judge Lee Christofferson admonished prosecutors for withholding key evidence, set deadlines for them to furnish that evidence to the legal team, reaffirmed their right to collect additional evidence from militarized DAPL security firm TigerSwan, and extended the timeline of the trial to November 5, 2018. This action will make available a large body of evidence and documents available to the public and for cross-examination. They are hoping to hire private investigators for this next stage and getting sworn depositions, travel for that, etc. The state prosecutor and sheriff will have to sign assurances by May 1, 2018t that they have done whatever is necessary to ensure access to the information.
If you watch the video update, the lawyer on the left is Danny Sheehan, who worked on the Pentagon Papers, Silkwood, Greensboro 5, and Iran-Contra – a constitutional lawyer, who has been working with the Lakota People’s Law Project from its inception. https://youtu.be/_3sf8eb_PbQ end includes depositions et al. they are trying to take next and travel required for that, fundraising. The attorneys are providing the legal services themselves but need to cover some of these expenses over the next 4 months they were just given to finally access this range of information.
They will also be arguing a necessity defense. Other cases are being handled by the Water Protectors Legal Collective, 800+ in all, 100 of these cases folks have not agreed to come to trial, 740 have been dealt with. They are trying to ascertain how many of the 75 or so left, including Chase Iron Eyes are having cases dismissed against them. State prosecutor is trying to get them to agree they were on private land and that they were engaged in developing a camp that ended up being a riot. Religious ceremony attacked by state police, they were attempting to stop finalization of construction of DAPL, operation of that threat to water, to stop the full and final effectuation of an anti-civil rights conspiracy motivated by racial prejudice against the native people, moving the pipeline from a 92% white community to the sole water source of an 82% Native American Community is a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title 6, will be heard on August 23rd, will file briefs for this on July 20th. It’s an important trial. Likely to be the premier case of the water protectors and it’s important to successfully use and establish a precedent for the necessity defense to stop these pipelines.
Larry Sinkin notes there were 800 Standing Rock water defender cases. About 100 cases remain. The cases to date were dismissed with very limited presentation of evidence. The upcoming case will have a much more in-depth approach to the defenses that can be made and now the team can do the discovery necessary to make the case about what was really done at Standing Rock. There is a State Board that governs private security, state is pretty vigorously prosecuting TigerSwan for operating without a license, evidence from that is going to be useful as well. It’s important to counter this attempt on part of petroleum industry to hire military and retired special forces, deployed against Americans and invoking terrorism statutes to fight against , show type of tactics they are engaged in, infiltration and surveillance, cell phones and internet, inserting agents provocateur, public diplomacy campaigns, private PR firms, trying to sell Iraq war and then this, invoking same procedures against indigenous people. Need to develop a counter-strategy and prevent this alliance.
1) Education of community groups about the effects of pollution and oil/gas/coal extraction activities that negatively impact water sources.
2) Education of community groups on corrective actions to protect water sources and human rights including organization of groups for effective actions, public awareness protection activities, and how to address government agencies. In addition, educate groups on civil disobedience and current laws per individual rights on state or locale basis.
3) Educate communities on how various environmental activities are associated and create networks of support between the varied interests for greater collective leverage.
We in the Western world often forget that water is a God-given gift, not a convenient miracle of municipal government and indoor plumbing. Without water, we, and the rest of Creation would not have life.
Conserving water is an act of stewardship. Water is a precious gift that is not available to all people equally. We should seek to use only what we need so that there would be enough for all.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth
- Install low-flow shower heads and toilets
- Shorten the length of your shower
- Fix leaky toilets and faucets
- Use rain barrels to capture runoff from your roof and use them to water your garden.