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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Wanted: Bold Iowans

Dear Friends,

I’m writing with an urgent appeal. Since March of 2016, Bold Iowa has been a key leader on climate change and eminent domain. In fact, our work is recognized not just in Iowa but across the country.

Yet for Bold Iowa to continue, we need your help NOW!

Bold Iowa’s march earlier this year built new bridges in challenging conditions.

We’ve built a powerful rural-urban network of environmentalists, farmers, Indigenous communities, landowners, and property-rights advocates. But our funding is perilously tight, and we truly need your support NOW! If even 10% of those receiving this message contribute $25, that would cover 20% of our annual budget. So, please TAKE A COUPLE MINUTES TO DONATE!

Our mission to build a broad coalition to fight climate change, protect land and water, and stand up for property rights against the abuse of eminent domain keeps our awesome team busy. Beyond the importance of your financial support, if you’re feeling really bold and would like to discuss joining our team, contact me at ed@boldiowa.com.

Much of our work has focused on stopping the Dakota Access pipeline. We’re deeply saddened that oil is now running under Iowa’s precious soil and water. But this fight is far from over. The lawsuit filed by nine Iowa landowners and the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club is before the Iowa Supreme Court. This is a landmark case that could potentially put the brakes on the erosion of private property rights! (Read my recent blog here, and stay tuned for updates.)

Here are a few of Bold Iowa’s 2017 accomplishments:

January: We followed-up on the December, 2016 rally and march in support of the Landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit, continuing to build awareness of that lawsuit and the other pipeline fighter cases going to trial. Also, Ed and five landowners were interviewed by Eric Byler with The Young Turks in extensive national coverage of Iowa landowners’ resistance to the pipeline.

The march after the landowners’ hearing at the Polk County Courthouse, December, 2016.

February: We coordinated a statewide day of action to push back against Dakota Access, with meetings and non-violent direct action at 12 locations across Iowa, receiving extensive press coverage and resulting in four arrests during a sit-in at the Governor’s office.

March: We helped Little Creek Camp with promotion and fundraising. Also, part of Bold Iowa’s effectiveness includes plenty of “earned” media, including an appearance on WHO TV 13’s The Insiders.

April: We organized and led the eight-day, 85-mile Climate Justice Unity March to build bridges between urban and rural constituencies on climate, water and eminent domain. A national documentary crew is producing a video about the March.

Kids in Searsboro ham it up during the Climate Justice Unity March’s visit.

May: We organized the press conference for pipeline-fighter Heather Pearson’s trial in Rockwell City, which was covered by three media outlets.

June: Bold Iowa and several of our leaders are mentioned extensively in the TigerSwan memos released in detailed investigative reports published by The Intercept. The memos confirm the effectiveness of Bold Iowa’s “Bold Action Teams,” a strategy that slowed down pipeline construction considerably.

July: Working with Indigenous Iowa, we organized a rally and concert to demand pipeline accountability from Iowa’s elected leaders. The event featured renowned Native classical guitarist Gabriel Ayala.

Regina Tsosie opens the July 1 rally with song and prayer.

August: Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace, Bold Iowa and other organizations claiming damages of $1 billion. Our multi-layered strategy — education, protest, marches, civil disobedience, divestment, and political action — has had a clear and profound impact. Bold Iowa is honored to be tagged in this lawsuit, the second time in the past year ETP has come after us in the courts.

September: We discovered and publicized language in the Iowa Code showing that Gov. Branstad’s latest appointment to the Iowa Utilities Board, Richard Lozier, is unfit to serve because of “gross partiality” due to his work as an attorney representing the Dakota Access pipeline.

October: We began the process of contacting candidates for Governor and US Congress, with plans to endorse candidates who are strong on climate action, committed to fighting to protect our environment, and advocate for reining in the abuse of eminent domain. We also continue to stand in court with pipeline fighters Emma Schmit, Mahmud Fitil, and Kriss Wells who, along with Heather Pearson, were arrested last year and brought their cases to trial.

Heather Pearson testifies at her trial in Rockwell City.

Finally, we’re planning a “Picnic on the Pipeline” for October 29 — stay tuned for more detail on that — and we’re launching a series of house parties on solar energy.

Wow, right?! We’ve done a heckuva lot for a small, grassroots organization! Help build on this success by stepping forward:

Thanks! Together, let’s be bold and fight for an Iowa that puts our traditional values of community, hard work, and respect for the land and water ahead of the narrow, self-serving interests of bought-and-paid-for politicians and corporate bigwigs who are trying to run roughshod over our rights and our lives.

Ed Fallon

 

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Sinking the Santa Maria

Dear Friends,

[Please come to the trial for Emma Schmit and Mahmud Fitil, pipeline fighters arrested last fall for blocking construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline during Bold Iowa‘s Farmers Defense Camp. For more detail, check out this excellent video by Rodger Routh. We’ve been asked not to wear pipeline shirts in the courtroom.]

I’ve never understood why Christopher Columbus was given a holiday. [Listen to Donnielle Wanatee on this week’s Forum.] I get why we celebrate the impressive lives of men (yeah, they’re all men, but let’s change that) like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. These men actually accomplished great things.

Statue of Columbus splattered with “blood.”

But a holiday for a guy who “discovered” America? I mean, really, you sail west from Spain and how could you miss it?

Columbus didn’t “discover” America. He pillaged it and opened the door to one of the most despicable genocides in human history. Such an “accomplishment” doesn’t warrant a national holiday. It warrants a national apology to the descendants of the Indigenous people Columbus and other European invaders slaughtered.

So I’m all kinds of excited about the movement to declare the first Monday of October “Indigenous Peoples Day,” which already has been approved in 55 cities.

Let’s keep that going. My prediction is by the middle of the next decade, Columbus Day will no longer be a national holiday and we’ll celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day in its place. But in the interest of reconciliation, I suggest we give Columbus Day an honorable, merciful death by sending a flaming replica of Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria, down the Potomac River and out to sea. Leif Erikson would be proud.

And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of Groundhog Day. America’s most overrated rodent is wrong half the time anyhow.

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