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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- The sag wagon,
- A full-size pickup truck to haul the commode/shower trailer, and
- 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 email@example.com or (530) 289-6683.
Thanks from Christine, Ed, Sarah and Shari — the Bold Iowa/Indigenous Iowa March Team!