Packing dirt around glaciers to slow climate change?

Dear Friends,

Bold Iowa’s effort to bird-dog presidential candidates on climate change is going well. What’s missing is more people doing it.

SIGN UP TO BIRD-DOG PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ON CLIMATE CHANGE!

We’re at 54 volunteers, which is a great start. But we’ll need at least 250 climate patriots across Iowa to maximize this tremendous opportunity to shape the national debate.

And “shaping the national debate” isn’t an overstatement. Not even close. In just three weeks, we’ve already seen results from this effort:

— Our questioning of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper about his support for fracking was picked up by the Denver Post. The video of that conversation received over 1,000 views, and four Colorado climate organizations wrote to thank us.

— Keith Puntenney and Vern Johnson, two farmers along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), met with US Senator Sherrod Brown and reported that the meeting seemed more like a photo op than a chance for genuine dialogue. Vern and Keith made the news in Ohio and two Iowa tv stations.

— Kathy Byrnes and I talked with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who, despite his excellent film on climate change, told us he supports DAPL and fracking. Such a disconnect. Go figure.

Bold Iowans speak with Marianne Williamson in Des Moines, Iowa

— In addition to bird-dogging Marianne Williamson at two of her events, Bold Iowa organized a forum for her attended by over thirty people. Click here for a highlights video. We’re eager to organize similar forums for other presidential candidates.

— This weekend, bird-doggers plan to attend five candidate events with Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Tulsi Gabbard.

— Finally, at a cafe last week, Kathy and I questioned Andrew Yang on climate change. Indicative of the disconnect that many politicians and candidates exhibit, Yang spoke forcefully about climate change, calling it “existential threat 1A.” Good, but then he went on to propose solutions that were, to put it mildly, off the wall.

Here’s the video of our conversation with Yang, in which he offers three specific proposals to address climate change:

Andrew Yang speaks in Johnston, Iowa

1. Give every American $1,000 per month, which would move poor people beyond “a mindset of scarcity.” The poor would then begin to care about climate change and the future. Kathy and I found this idea embarrassingly out of touch and, well, demeaning.

2. Pack dirt around glaciers to slow the rate of melt. For real. He said that. Check out the video at minute mark 1:58.

3. Since money in politics is partially to blame for America’s inaction on climate change (we agree), Yang wants to give every American $100 to donate to the political candidate of their choice. I’d love to see the bureaucracy needed to enforce such a bizarre scheme.

We’re just getting started on this, folks. Bold Iowa needs your help! America needs your help! Earth needs your help! SIGN UP HERE TO HELP! Humanity’s time is short to come up with a comprehensive, historic response to the climate crisis. For the next twelve months, Iowans have a huge megaphone — the Iowa Caucuses — which we will use to change the debate on climate change.

Even if you can’t help bird-dog, please help with a contribution. All donations are appreciated. Click here to donate $5, $10, $25, $100 or whatever you can. Thanks! – Ed

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Join the BIRDS!

Dear Friends,

WANTED: Climate patriots to join BIRDS.

Yup, BIRDS. That stands for Bold Iowa Relentless Dog Squad. We’re assembling a squad of supporters to persistently “bird-dog” presidential candidates about Bold Iowa’s agenda. Voters have a right to know if candidates will:

German Wirehaired Pointer (Bold Iowan) with Ringneck Pheasant (Presidential Candidate). Ok, that’s going too far. (Photo: Steve Oehlenschlager)

— Mobilize for an all-out assault on climate change;

— Oppose the expansion of oil pipelines, fracking, and other destructive fossil-fuel projects;

— Stand with Indigenous communities to defend their sovereignty, land, and water;

— Stop the abuse of eminent domain;

— Push for non-industrial, distributed generation of renewable energy, and

— Support legislation like the Green New Deal, and Carbon Fee and Dividend. (Thanks to The Climate Mobilization, Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion, and Citizens’ Climate Lobby for their national leadership on these initiatives.)

SIGN UP TO JOIN BIRDS TODAY!

Bernie Sanders

I’ve bird-dogged presidential candidates since 1987. It works! Back then, a coalition of Iowa peace groups convinced five of six Democratic candidates to support a nuclear test ban and oppose the dangerous Trident missile system.

More recently, we witnessed the power of bird-dogging in the 2016 presidential election. In November of 2014, Charles Goldman and I asked Bernie Sanders where he stood on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Sanders hadn’t made up his mind. Over the next year, anti-DAPL Iowans bird-dogged him relentlessly. Not only did Sanders eventually come out against DAPL, he ran ads leading up to the Iowa Caucuses touting his opposition.

Trump supporters eye us as we plan a “Rosie the Riveter” action during our work with The Climate Mobilization in 2015. From left: Peter Clay, George McCloskey, Kristy Medo, Miriam Kashia, and Ed Fallon. (Not pictured: Barb Schlachter. Photo: Shari Hrdina)

Whether a candidate is a Democrat or a Republican, bird-dogging is effective. In 2015 at the State Fair, Shari Hrdina filmed my conversation with Mike Huckabee about DAPL and eminent domain. We had similar conversations with Rand Paul and Chris Christy and landed some excellent coverage.

Our most memorable bird-dogging experience in 2015 was when five of us got tossed from a Trump rally in Waterloo after challenging then-candidate Trump to promise to fight climate change.

The 2020 campaign is noteworthy because of the sheer volume of Democratic candidates running or likely to run for president. Iowans who understand the urgency of the climate crisis not only have an opportunity but an obligation to plug into the Caucuses and make our voices heard. There is probably no other forum where our bang-for-the-buck is greater.

So, tell me you’re ready to join BIRDS, and that you’re willing to work with other Bold Iowa supporters in your community to make sure every candidate for president hears from us at every stop they make. Soon, we’ll be offering trainings to get folks up to speed on bird-dog style and content.

Polls show that Bold Iowa’s agenda resonates with a clear majority of Iowans. Let’s make sure the presidential candidates know that, too.

Ed Fallon, director, Bold Iowa

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Plant a fall garden in the New Climate Era

Dear Friends,

Some of the more undesirable features of life on Earth have already gotten worse in the New Climate Era: stronger storms, hungrier mosquitoes, more virulent ticks, a historically embarrassing president.

Our fall bed of lettuce, arugula, and radishes has been going strong since late August.

Ok, we can’t blame the ascendency of Donald Trump on climate change. But he is exacerbating the problem with such moves as deleting references to climate change from the White House website, withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, and supporting fossil fuel expansion with the Dakota Access pipeline, the Keystone XL pipeline, and fracking.

As climate change progresses (read “worsens”), the list of undesirable creatures and features is only going to grow.

Our heirloom tomatoes look determined to produce through early November. This variety — Siciliana Rosa — is still going strong.

I have, however, noticed a few positives to climate change — most notably an extended fall garden season. As both carbon and methane emissions further concentrate in Earth’s atmosphere, growing some (or much) of one’s own food is likely to become not merely a pastime but an essential element of life. So, with an eye toward both great dining today and survival in the future, I’d like to recommend to you the virtues of a robust fall garden.

Sweet Garden Sunshine peppers promise an abundant fall harvest.

 

 

 

 

And I’d like to remind you that you’re welcome to come tour our urban farm during the event Kathy and I are hosting for Rob Sand and Deidre DeJear this Saturday, September 29, 8:00-10:00 a.m. at 735 19th Street in Des Moines. We’ll serve a light breakfast (much of it from our garden), and US Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) will be here. Merkley’s on the list of Dems potentially interested in running for President in 2020.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the urban farm collage below, or check out the guided video tour on my Facebook page.

There ain’t no stopping these greens: Swiss chard, kale (two varieties), and collards.

Squmpkin! This accidental cross has proven hardy and resistant to pests and powdery mildew.

We don’t have a lot of land to work with. But the sky’s the limit (sort of), so we rigged this vertical sweet potato spider trellis.

Our second planting of green beans (in the raised bed where we grew cauliflower this spring) has done really well.

Our two hot pepper plants are nearly seven feet tall! I’m not a huge fan of scorching my palate, but when a crop does this well, you learn to love it.

We left these pods of okra to ripen to have seed for next year. Seed saving in the New Climate Era is likely to become a standard household activity.

Leeks are another crop that keep on giving — and they’re so hardy they’ll likely continue to produce into November.

We’ve still got some eggplant, though the plants are fading fast. Gotta figure out to control the flea beetles next year.

We won’t harvest these young carrots til November. Behind them, fall zucchini is a new experiment. No flowers yet, but we’re hoping.

Turnip bulbs are starting to flesh out. We planted more turnips than normal people should be allowed to plant. Enough said.

Our adopted gnome Trumpski guards the herb bed.

One hive failed, but the other just gave us over two gallons of honey!

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Politico calls Rob Sand a “young Robert Mueller”

Dear Friends,

The excitement around November 6 is above and beyond what we normally experience leading up to an off-year election. Coast to coast, young, progressive candidates are fueling that excitement — as is growing discontent over President Trump’s reign of error. Even conservative voters are pulling away from the Tweeter in Chief over his:

Rob Sand

— Escalating trade war with China,
— Support for pipelines and fracking,
— Belief that “eminent domain is a wonderful thing,” and
— Lack of a moral compass.

In Iowa, two candidates firing up voters are Rob Sand, running for State Auditor, and Deidre DeJear, running for Secretary of State. Check out the great story about Rob and Deidre in Politico this week — and the entertaining comparison of Rob to Robert Mueller.

Deidre DeJear

Better yet, come meet Rob and Deidre in person at a fundraiser Kathy and I are throwing:

Saturday, September 29, 8:00-10:00 a.m. at 735 19th Street in Des Moines

Our co-hosts are Rachel Scholten, Jon Krieg, Charles Goldman, Carla McIntire, Cheslea Lepley, and Cyndy Coppola. Kathy’s making an egg dish (from our hens and garden of course) and baked French toast. We’ll have tea and coffee. Sorry, no mimosas.

Also, US Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) will join us! Jeff is a key national leader on many important battles, and we’re honored to welcome him at this event.

US Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon)

By any reasonable measure, Democrats at the state and federal level should do well in the mid-term election. The stars are so firmly aligned in Democrats’ favor that only a series of Himalayan blunders could lead to an electoral outcome where Republicans prevail.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: Don’t underestimate the Democratic Party’s ability to unleash an avalanche of Himalayan blunders. Justified skepticism aside, it’s almost certain that Democrats will, on balance, gain seats up and down the ballot. The prospects for that are enhanced when each of us invests time, effort, and money in candidates and causes that inspire and empower us. Above all else — vote!

But one election cycle doesn’t mean Democrats are on the cusp of a lasting political transformation. Looking ahead to the 2020 presidential election and beyond, if the Democratic Party is to avoid permanent minority party status, Democrats have to talk truth on tough issues while rising above the tired old politics of partisan division. It’s important to call out Democrats who don’t get this.

Congressman Dave Loebsack

Case in point: Twice at the Progress Iowa Corn Feed this week, Congressman Dave Loebsack demonstrated why he should serve as the poster child for much of what’s wrong with the Democratic Party. When I approached Dave politely to ask a couple questions about the Dakota Access Pipeline and climate change, he walked away and said he wasn’t talking to the press. I immediately thought, “Hmm, that reminds me of Donald Trump.”

When Dave had his five minutes at the mic, he used nearly the entire time to say, in so many words, “Republicans bad, Democrats good.” Sorry, but voters are sick and tired of partisan blather and vacuous generalizations about “the other side.” We want genuine conversation about real issues. And we want civility and unity — something Loebsack’s Republican predecessor, Congressman Jim Leach, understood and practiced.

Make no mistake: In recent years, Republican officials at both the state and federal level have carved a wide swathe of policy carnage favoring big corporations and the fantastically wealthy over average Americans and our planet. So, why doesn’t Congressman Loebsack focus on the initiatives that distinguish Democrats from Republicans instead of throwing out trivial sound bytes that turn off voters?

Great question. Too bad the Congressman wouldn’t let me ask it.

Ed

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First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March: Day 1

Dear Friends,

Regina Tsosie starts the IUB press conference with a song. (Photo by Fintan Mason)

After a stormy night, marchers carpooled to the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) for a press conference to announce the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March. Though the IUB was closed, we know board members are paying attention. It’s important for them to hear that they made the wrong decision when granting the authority to use eminent domain to build the Dakota Access Pipeline. Most Iowans agree. Iowa law agrees. Soon, we’ll see whether the Iowa Supreme Court agrees.

Manape LaMere (in red) embraces Ako Abdul-Samad (in blue) after both offer a blessing to send off marchers. (Photo by Jeff Kisling)

Blessings by Ako Abdul-Samad and Manape LaMere sent marchers off along the Des Moines River. Given last night’s storms — and a forecast for continued rain and cloud cover today — I wouldn’t have guessed that our biggest challenge today would be heat and humidity.

Halfway through the March, the day warmed considerably, with the heat index hovering around 90 degrees. One young marcher felt faint and had to sit in the shade before being rescued by one of our support vehicles. The conditions hit several older marchers hard, too, requiring extra breaks in the shade.

A welcome respite came at Sue and Tom Broadbooks home in Ankeny, where the family invited us in to cool off and enjoy home-made cookies. This was the first exceptional act of kindness and hospitality in a week that would see many gestures of goodwill toward us.

Our campsite at the Griffieon farm north of Ankeny. (Photo by Jeff Kisling)

Marchers made it through a difficult 13.2-mile day to enjoy a wonderful evening of food and conversation at the Griffieon farm. Half the marchers accepted the family’s generous offer to sleep in their machine shed. The rest of us braved a second night of severe weather in our tents.

Four-mile creek, near the Griffieon farm, looked more like a river today. (Photo by Jeff Kisling)

I’m a veteran tent-dweller, yet have never seen my tent pummeled so mercilessly by the driving rain that hit us in the middle of the night. It was as if buckets of water were being hurled against the sides of the tent. I worried that the nearby ditch between our tents and the road would fill with water and wash over the field where we were camped. That didn’t happen, but if our first night’s rainfall had been as bad as some storms that Iowa has seen in recent years, that field could have indeed been swamped. We were lucky — and reminded that, in the New Climate Era, the most marginalized populations are often the most at risk.

Ed Fallon

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Why march?

Dear Friends,

Truly, it is not possible to overstate the importance of the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit! Oral arguments will be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court on September 12 at 9:00 a.m. If the plaintiffs win, not only could we stop the oil from flowing through Iowa but we could change the conversation on whether the rule of law has fallen victim to the fossil-fuel giants’ use of eminent domain to expand their private infrastructure.

It’s also not possible to overstate the importance of the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March in raising awareness about the lawsuit. Long marches that demand sacrifice and commitment from the participants galvanize public interest in a way that press releases and forums sometimes can’t.

Shari Hrdina tracing the logo onto our solar shower / ecocommode trailer.

Thirty-five people have committed to joining the March each day. We have capacity for another fifteen. An action such as this is not something everyone can do — and many of you are already doing important work to address climate change and related issues. But if you’re at all able, this March is a solid opportunity to make a difference in the life-and-death struggle to secure a viable future for all.

So, here are the top 10 reasons why you should join the March, if not for the entire week, then for a day or more:

1. As Bill McKibben said regarding climate action, “Very few people on earth ever get to say: ‘I am doing, right now, the most important thing I could possibly be doing.’ If you’ll join this fight that’s what you’ll get to say.”

2. Because of the excellent partnership between Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa, many Native leaders have agreed to participate in the March. These leaders bring deep wisdom to the conversation about land, water and climate. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to meet and learn from them on the March.

3. All the folks who’ve signed up to march are truly remarkable individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. Visit Bold Iowa’s Marcher Profile page to learn a bit about them — then come meet them in real life on the March.

4. Walking is great therapy. In these troubled and troubling times, the simple, primal activity of walking can be invigorating and healing.

5. Camping is a blast — and even more fun when you’re doing it with a cool group of people committed to working together for a better world. That said, bring comfortable gear and a set of ear plugs.

Lyssa Wade with Veggie Thumper will be doing the cooking on the March.

6. The food will be awesome. Lyssa Wade’s Veggie Thumper bus is our mobile kitchen. If you haven’t thumped Lyssa’s yummables, you’ll be in for a treat. A lot of the produce will come from the Meskwaki Settlement’s Red Earth Farm and other local farmers.

7. Each evening after dinner, we’ll host an informal conversation facilitated by a Native leader and an Iowa farmer. Besides raising awareness about the lawsuit, the March can be a catalyst for discovering common ground between farmers, Indigenous people, and environmentalists. These forums are a good opportunity to do that.

8. Beyond the importance of influencing the public dialogue on climate, water, and land, this March is an opportunity for spiritual growth. Each day will begin with a prayer and blessing, sometimes led by Native drummers, sometimes by others who bring their spiritual perspective to bear on the important work we are called to embrace.

9. After the day’s work is accomplished, there will be music. Well, I’m bringing my guitar, at least. I know of one other marcher bringing an instrument, and I feel fairly confident there’ll be other instruments and musicians who want to round out the day with an informal “jam.”

10. Beyond the many, many people who’ve helped pull this March together, our core organizing team of Christine Nobiss, Shari Hrdina, Sarah Spain, and I have worked our tails off to make this a powerful and successful experience. You really don’t want all that well-harnessed energy to be squandered without being part of it, do you?

We’re just over a week from the start of the March. It’s not too late to sign up. Read on for more detail about things you need to know. We hope you’ll participate!

APPLICATION
If you’re marching and haven’t sent in an application, please take five minutes to do so. We’ve made it simple and straight forward. Our cooks need to know your food preferences, and there’s lots of other important info in there. Click here to fill it out.

CAMPSITES
Aug 31 – Birdland Park, 2100 Saylor Rd, Des Moines
Sept 1 – Griffieon Farm, 11655 NE 6th St, Ankeny
Sept 2 – Memorial Park, 114 S. Main Ave, Huxley
Sept 3 – City Church of Ames-Des Moines, 2400 Oakwood Rd, Ames
Sept 4 – Boone County Fairgrounds, 1601 Industrial Park Rd, Boone
Sept 5 – Pilot Mound Community Center
Sept 6 – Oak Park Golf and Rec Center, 105 Oak Park Rd, Dayton
Sept 7 – Maria and Don Nelson’s acreage, 2271 290th Street, Fort Dodge

FUNDRAISING
We’ve received several grants, support from five non-profit organizations, and a number of individual donations. But we need more folks to step forward to finish pulling together the financial pieces necessary for a successful event.

Take a little time to reach out to friends, family, and others. Ask them to sponsor a marcher for $20 a day — or $160 for the entire March. Check out the Marcher Profile page for details.

GEAR
Marchers, you’ll need to cram all your gear into two large bags, plus a day pack or satchel. For guidance on what you’ll need and how to pack, check out our packing list and video.

All marchers will have a designated spot for their bags on the gear truck. If there’s a piece of equipment you don’t own, can’t afford, and would like to borrow (e.g., tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, etc.), let us know ASAP and we’ll try to track something down for you.

MARCHER PROFILE
These are an essential part of how we’ve been able to encourage people to join the March and support it financially. So, if you haven’t yet, send us:

  • Your photo,
  • A few sentences about why you’re marching,
  • A little bit about who you are and where you’re from, and
  • How people can follow your experience on the March.

MEDIA OUTREACH
We’re eager to let folks along the route know that we’re good people and have our collective best interest in mind. Please share the short promotional video, produced by Fintan Mason.

Also, view the film Ralph King put together, called “Crossing the Divide,” from last year’s Climate Justice Unity March, to see what we’re eager to avoid this year.

Take 5 seconds to click “going” on the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March Facebook Event.

SEPTEMBER 1: START OF THE MARCH
We’re arranging car pools to bring marchers from our campsite at Water Works Park to the Iowa Utilities Board, 1375 E. Court Ave, Des Moines, for a press conference at 9:00 a.m. After that, we’ll car pool to Birdland Marina where we’ll begin the March following the Des Moines River for the first couple miles of a 13.2-mile day. Click here for Facebook event.

SEPTEMBER 8: RALLY IN FORT DODGE
At the end of our final day’s march, we’ll hold a celebratory rally at City Square Park, 424 Central Ave in downtown Fort Dodge from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. Native drummers will welcome marchers as we arrive. Food will be available from the Veggie Thumper bus, and a popular local band, Brutal Republic, will perform. We’ll have a few speeches from marchers, too. This connects with the International “Rise for Climate” mobilization, and we hope folks from across the state will join us in Fort Dodge. Click here for Facebook event.

VEHICLES
Consistent with our commitment to minimizing our carbon footprint, we’re trying to keep the number of vehicles on the March to a minimum.

Here’s our fleet:

  • A 26’ gear truck
  • Our Commode/Shower trailer (which is 3,000+ pounds and comes with a 2” ball hitch)
  • The pickup truck needed to haul the Commode/Shower trailer
  • A 2000 Ford Ranger — our Logistics-Mobile — which will pull our solar collector
  • The Veggie Thumper food bus
  • A sag wagon (perhaps a full-size sedan) to pick up marchers when needed
  • A back-up sag wagon

Most of our vehicle needs are coming together. But we still need:

  1. The sag wagon,
  2. A full-size pickup truck to haul the commode/shower trailer, and
  3. A driver for that pickup truck.

If you’re planning to bring a vehicle to Des Moines at the start of the March, let us know ASAP if you’ll need a place to park it. And if you do, let us know what type of vehicle you have so we can figure out how large a parking spot will be needed.

If you need a place to park in Des Moines, if you have a vehicle that would serve as our sag wagon or trailer hauler, or if you’d be willing to help with driving, get back to Sarah Spain ASAP at sarah@climatemarch.org or (530) 289-6683.

Thanks from Christine, Ed, Sarah and Shari — the Bold Iowa/Indigenous Iowa March Team!

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Fort Dodge in the spotlight on September 8

Dear Friends,

Can you help get this press release out? There’s nothing like a call from a local person to their newspaper, tv station, radio station, or key social media contact to generate interest in a story. And if landowners and the Iowa Sierra Club win their lawsuit against DAPL and stop the flow of oil, this will indeed be a story heard ’round the world!

The First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March can play a key role in helping build public interest in the lawsuit. But Bold Iowa and Indigenous Iowa NEED YOUR HELP!

We’ve still got capacity for more people to join the March. If you’re interested in marching for a day, two days, or (best of all!) the entire week, sign up right away. Here’s the link to the application.

If you can’t march but would like to donate to support the march (or a specific marcher), visit our donation page.

And here’s some big news: September 8 has been designated an international day of action called Rise for Climate. Our planned arrival and rally in Fort Dodge at 2:00 p.m. that day is generating interest across the country!

So, please plan to join us in Fort Dodge on September 8. The day’s march will be around 12 miles. Our closing rally at 2:00 p.m. will feature food, music, and inspiring words from some of the marchers. Come for one or both — and if you’re heading to Des Moines and you’ve got room in your vehicle for a tired marcher or two, we could use some carpooling options.

Back to that press release. Whatever you can do to get it into the hands of anyone and everyone who can help spread the word would be appreciated. Thanks! – Ed

*******

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 8, 2018, 9:00 a.m. CT

Contact: Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 or ed@boldiowa.com
Contact: Christine Nobiss at (319) 499-8039 or cnobiss@gmail.com

Groups announce First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March
Natives, farmers, environmentalists to walk 90 miles following DAPL route

Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa today announced that thirty opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline will march ninety miles from Des Moines to Fort Dodge to raise awareness about the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit, which will be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court on September 12.

The March kicks off on Saturday, September 1 at 9:00 a.m. with a press conference at the Iowa Utilities Board (1375 E. Court Ave, Des Moines). Marchers will then trek thirteen miles to camp at the Griffieon Family Farm (11655 NE 6th St, Ankeny). The March will finish in Fort Dodge on Saturday, September 8 with a rally and celebration at City Square Park, 424 Central Ave, at 2:00 p.m.

“The First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March was initiated to support the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit against the Dakota Access Pipeline,” said Bold Iowa director, Ed Fallon. “Through this huge challenge of walking ninety miles, we hope to raise awareness about how this historic lawsuit potentially impacts all of us regarding our land, water, climate, and property rights. If landowners prevail, it could stop the oil from flowing through Iowa. If they lose, it could blow eminent domain wide open for all sorts of private purposes.”

The March will be a self-contained community, with participants camping on farms or in parks each night. The March has its own “bathroom trailer,” complete with environmentally-friendly commodes and solar showers. Marchers will use a solar collector for much of their power needs. The “Veggie Thumper” bus will provide food, much of it purchased from Red Earth Farms at the Meskwaki settlement. Each evening, there will be a community dialogue facilitated by a Native American leader and an Iowa farmer.

People interested in marching are encouraged to sign up on Bold Iowa’s website. The application, profiles of marchers, and more information can be found here.

Indigenous Iowa was founded by Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree-Salteaux from the Gordon First Nation. She is a decolonizer and also works with Seeding Sovereignty. One of the main goals of Indigenous Iowa is to raise awareness about the devastating effects that oil, gas, and coal have on the environment, particularly on Indigenous lands where government-backed corporate conglomerates practice predatory economics and exploit communities. Indigenous Iowa promotes the development and implementation of renewable energy through the worldview of Indigenous ideologies.

Bold Iowa builds rural-urban coalitions to fight climate change, prevent the abuse of eminent domain, promote non-industrial renewable energy, and protect Iowa’s soil, air and water.

# # #

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Raising awareness for effective action

Dear Friends,

I’m a big believer in pacing oneself. We’ve got to take time to smell the roses even in the midst of intense struggle. Yet sometimes — often, in all honesty — the demands of fighting for justice require some pretty exhausting days.

Josie Ironshield

The First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March will be a string of such days. But the importance of this march — raising awareness about the historic lawsuit that could stop the flow of oil through the Dakota Access Pipeline — can’t be understated.

Last Tuesday’s investigative trip to Lyon County to dig into the recent tar sands oil spill was such a day. Well, two days actually, one of them involving numerous meetings and nine hours in a car. Check out the culmination of that trip with this excellent article in the N’West Iowa Review.

Regina Tsosie

Efforts by residents and advocacy groups to monitor the oil clean up will continue, regrettably, as the effort may take over a year. And in a new development that has residents near Iowa’s Great Lakes fuming, soil and plant debris contaminated with tar sands oil is being dumped in their county. Check out this article in the Dickinson County News.

ACTION ALERT: CALL GOV. REYNOLDS AT (515) 281-5211 AND ASK HER TO PUT A STOP TO DUMPING TAR SANDS OIL IN DICKINSON COUNTY.

Christine Nobiss and Dara Jefferson

Sunday was another long day. It started at 5:00 a.m. and landed Kathy and me back in Des Moines after 10:00 p.m. The highlight of the day was the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women rally in Rock Island, Illinois. Check out the livestream, which is both powerful and instructional. I’ve included with this blog a few photos of the inspiring Native leaders who spoke at the event.

Sunday’s trip concluded with a sunset tour of tornado damage in Marshalltown. I was blown away (yeah, bad pun, I know) at how severely the tornado had torn up that community. I’ve been in communication with Chief of Police Mike Tupper and State Rep. Mark Smith. Help will certainly be needed, especially for the low-income families hit hard in northeast Marshalltown. Stay tuned.

Dawson Davenport and Ed Fallon

In other news, a Des Moines Register article reminded us of the one-year anniversary of Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya announcing that they’d repeatedly vandalized equipment along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). I caught flack for my quote in the Register story, where I describe Jessica and Ruby’s action as “misguided” because “it alienated a lot of people who we need on our side. So while I respect and admire their passion, I don’t think it was a wise decision.”

Narcissa Trujillo-Nolen, Regina Tsosie, Larry Lockwood, and Dan Eads

For an injustice to end (and DAPL is unjust on so many levels), you have to continually build more and more popular opposition. Fact-finding, community forums, press releases, protests, nonviolent civil disobedience, lawsuits, speaking out at official meetings — all turned public opinion against DAPL. Torching bulldozers and vandalizing valves didn’t. In fact, it gave pro-pipeline forces an excuse to pass legislation this year classifying DAPL as “critical infrastructure” and creating criminal penalties that could scare people away from exercising their First Amendment rights in the future.

Some have cited Gandhi in defense of Jessica and Ruby’s action. But Gandhi never destroyed property and was always open about everything he did. Most significantly, Gandhi was about effective action. Even his symbolic acts were orchestrated with an eye toward moving Indian and global opinion toward supporting India’s independence from Britain.

Gandhi wasn’t just about civil disobedience, which constituted a very small portion of his work. Much of his effort was behind the scenes, creating new structures to replace failed models that only perpetuated injustice. Gandhi was also about political reform, remaking the Indian Congress Party and raising funds to assure that the Party could operate effectively year round, not just during a showy annual convention.

In the DAPL fight, our most effective action is yet to come: the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit over the misuse of eminent domain. That case will probably be decided by the Iowa Supreme Court in September or October. In the meantime, whatever we can do to continue to move public opinion our direction will be helpful. I’ve been dismayed, but not surprised, that the mainstream media have mostly ignored the lawsuit.

Let’s change that. Visit Bold Iowa’s Stop DAPL 2.0 page for ideas on how to get the word out through your local or regional newspaper. Thanks!

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Meet the Marchers

Dear Friends,

Climate March mobile “bathrooms” — complete with showers and commodes

Just like planet Earth, preparations for the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March are heating up. This past weekend, Sarah Spain and Chap Myers scouted the route between Des Moines and Fort Dodge. We’re now closing in on locating the seven campsites we’ll need for the September 1 – 8 march.

Also, Sarah and her brother, Sean, are working on improvements to our “Mobile Bathroom” unit — a trailer that hauls both environmentally friendly commodes and solar showers. Besides the trailer’s functional importance, it showcases the technologies that will lead us beyond climate chaos into a sustainable future.

We’re thrilled that Lyssa Wade — a.k.a., Veggie Thumper — will provide food for our hungry marchers and guests each night of the March. Lyssa needs someone to repair her bus’s refrigerator. If you’ve got expertise in that area, or know of someone who does, please get in touch with me.

Lyssa Wade and the “Veggie Thumper” bus

As if to underscore the urgency of the March, BNSF Railway recently spilled upwards of 230,000 gallons of tar sands oil (the worst of the worst) into the Little Rock River, just a few miles from where Bakken oil flows through the Dakota Access Pipeline in Lyon County, Iowa. Mahmud Fitil shot some excellent video of the oil spill. That inspired Krystle Craig to take water samples at seven locations — from just upstream of the spill to Omaha. Here’s video footage of Krystle’s work. From everything we’ve seen, the spill appears to be worse than railway officials are willing to admit. Stay tuned for more.

David Houston with Homes4MyPeeps

Back to the March. I’m excited about the commitment, passion, and diversity of those stepping forward to join the March. David Houston of Des Moines understands the connection between climate change, food, and the challenges facing low-income communities. He writes, “I’ve never done a march, but this seems like a good way to get connected. I run Homes4MyPeeps to restore homes for low-income people. Part of what I do involves growing and eating good, healthy food. People need to start thinking about what they eat, because when we eat better and put the right fuel into our systems, we feel better, too.”

Trisha Etringer

Trisha Etringer is a Hochunk woman from Cedar Falls. She writes, “I’m marching for Indigenous rights, landowner rights, and clean water for my children. They and other children deserve clean water and a healthy way of living. I’m majoring in psychology and minoring in mental health at UNI. My experience at Standing Rock was eye opening. My time there woke me up to the importance of fighting to protect Mother Earth. I had never done anything like that in my life and was pregnant at the time. If I’d not gone to Standing Rock I’m not sure where I’d be today.”

Fred Kirschenmann is a life-long farmer who’s joining the March for the first four days. He writes, “I grew up on a farm in North Dakota under the tutelage of a father who developed a passion, as a result of the dust bowl in the 1930s, about how important it was to ‘take care of land.’ He instilled that value in me, so it has also become a passion of mine. During my life-time its importance has only increased in me.”

Fred Kirschenmann

This March is important for so many reasons, especially with the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit coming before the Iowa Supreme Court in September. We can accommodate fifty marchers each day. If you’d like to join us, please visit the First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March where you’ll find an application, a FAQ sheet, our Code of Nonviolence, a link to the marcher profile page, and more.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

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Save the date to march with us

Dear Friends,

Often when there’s a crisis, people respond by traveling great distances on foot. Marches often transform the participants, and have changed my life, too. (Stay tuned for the upcoming release of my first book, Marcher, Walker, Pilgrim.)

Most important, marches change history. Consider:

  • The Women’s Suffrage March
  • Gandhi’s Salt March
  • The 1965 March for Voting Rights
  • The 1986 Great Peace March, which mobilized support for a nuclear test ban and citizen diplomacy between Americans and Russians

From September 1 – 8, fifty people will march from Des Moines to Fort Dodge, and one of them could be you! The First Nation – Farmer Climate Unity March unites Native, farmer, and other voices to build awareness of the historic landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit against the Iowa Utilities Board, contesting the use of eminent domain to build the Dakota Access Pipeline. That suit has the potential to stop the flow of crude oil across Iowa and three other states.

If you’re interested in learning more about the march, click here.

If you want to donate, click here.

The lawsuit will be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court this fall and it alleges that the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) illegally allowed the use of eminent domain to build the Dakota Access Pipeline. The case is strong and references Iowa’s 2006 eminent domain law that limits the use of eminent domain to public purposes. A privately owned crude-oil pipeline merely transporting oil through Iowa is not a public purpose. This is a strong case.

According to Wally Taylor, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, “The IUB can grant a permit to a pipeline company only if the service to be provided by the pipeline is necessary and benefits the public. The IUB failed in its duty in this case.”

Bold Iowa is again partnering with Indigenous Iowa to organize this eight-day, 90-mile march. We’ll track the pipeline through Story, Boone, and Webster counties, traveling 10-14 miles each day.  We’ll set up our mobile encampment at farms and parks — a self-contained community of tents and teepees with a kitchen, eco-commodes, solar showers, and a solar collector.

If you’re a good walker, care deeply about justice and our Earth, and are ready for a unique personal growth experience, please consider being part of this important event.

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