When the British East India Company controlled India they pillaged its resources and contributed to mass famines. Just as The United Fruit Company directed the Banana Massacre with help from the U.S. and Colombian governments, using paramilitary assets to murder over 2000 striking workers. Even today Texaco lobbied the Obama administration to suppress an Ecuadorian court ruling to pay $8 billion for environmental damages caused by their oil development.
All of this proves one thing, history has long been dominated by the rich and powerful whose only motivation is profit. The environment and the interests of the people are often ignored. However recent events suggest the tide is finally turning in favor of the people.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is now engaged in a fierce battle to stop the Dakota Access oil pipeline project that they claim has damaged graves and burial artifacts and will contaminate their water source, the Missouri River.
This incident is a prime example of how capitalist expansion is still harming people and the environment.
The larger narrative shows that the demand for more renewable energy, social media activism, global movements against oppression and the evolving political attitudes towards the environment is changing our society.
Outrage over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and others, the ongoing debate surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline, and the ratification of the Paris Agreement to address global climate changes, provoked and reflects our hope to expedite the transition from fossil fuels to renewable resources like solar, wind, and water. Political interest are beginning to abandon more self-serving financial interests as it sees their destructive consequences.
At a Dakota Pipeline protest earlier this month Sen. Bernie Sanders said, “The future of energy in this country is not more oil, it is not more pipeline, it is not more carbon emission. It is the transformation of our energy system away from more oil, pipeline and carbon emission.”
While renewable energy production is still far less than fossil fuel, we are seeing emerging renewable energy industries all over the globe. Whether it’s developing countries looking for more affordable and sustainable resources or developed countries equipped with the technology to harvest previously untapped resources, the world has an interest to continue investing in renewable energy.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has created a social activist organization, Rezpect Our Water, utilizing the internet to alert millions to their cause.
Their protest has been plagued by dog attacks from private security and arrests by local law enforcement. An arrest warrant was issued for journalist Amy Goodman for simply reporting on the issue and exposing the abuse.
However, traditional means of activist suppression have proven to be ineffective in today’s interconnected world. People from all over the world have stood in solidarity with the Sioux people to protect themselves from the furthered destruction of the world’s shared land and shared future. The Native American people are experiencing never before seen support in a country that successfully suppressed its culture.
The internet has helped to brew a global movement against economic oppression. From the American political revolution lead by Bernie Sanders to the Arab Spring revolutions, citizens all over the world are organizing in a fierce struggle against the global plutocracy.
Thanks to the recent re-ignition of the progressive movement by the Sanders campaign, climate change and its causes is no longer a myth. President Barack Obama, Sanders and Green party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein have publicly supported the welfare of the Sioux people, with Obama blocking construction of the pipeline until further environmental investigations can take place.
Chase Iron Eyes, a Standing Rock Sioux who’s currently running for congress said in an interview with Russia Today, “It’s significant for the Obama administration to have Standing Rock’s back, but the halt only prevents the construction under the Missouri River, but that’s all it prevented. The entire pipeline is almost as large as the Keystone XL pipeline. The fight is definitely not over.”
While there is much more to be done in the fight for the health of this planet, the natural tide of progress is beginning to flow towards a more environmentally friendly future. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe stands in the forefront of a global solidarity movement against the consequences of uncontrolled capitalism. The must decide what kind of future it wants to create.