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Entries in Documentaries (18)

Wednesday
Jan252017

When did Water become so political?

You know you can't drink oil. Like, really. It's not a good idea. The villain who fought James Bond in Quantum of Solace already tried and things didn't turn out so well for him.

That's why it's hard for me to fathom why so many people choose to look the other way as corporations privatize, commodify and endanger a natural resource that the earth provides for free -- water.

Of course, it costs money to maintain the infrastructure that large portions of the population depend on to make water suitable for drinking, cooking and cleaning. However, there is usually no need for the average American to purchase water that is bottled up and sold on store shelves for your everyday needs and yet, the bottled variety has become the only source of clean water for many communities across the country.

While this is the result of corporate greed and our government's negligence regarding infrastructure, as well as the nation's excessive use of fossil fuels, most of us are also at fault because we're too careless to demand answers, justice and protection for our country's water supply.

If you understand how important clean water is and agree that it's a basic human right, you can imagine my surprise at the type of response received during the Mini Wiconi Blogathon, hosted with Shannon at The Warrior Muse and Misha at The Five Year Project. They connected with people via social networks, writing groups and visiting blogs.

Prior to and during this time, I reached out to nearly two dozen bloggers in addition to folks at a few organizations (all whom had previously participated in activities concerning human rights issues) about spreading awareness regarding the film Mini Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock directed by Lucian Read and calling on banks to withdraw their lines of credit from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Read's film delivers an overview of the Indigenous led struggle to protect the water in Lake Oahe from being contaminated by DAPL, a hazardous construction project that is proposed to carry fracked oil from the Bakken fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa, into Illinois. Owned by Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics, the pipeline was originally slated to be built near the city of Bismarck in North Dakota but later rerouted due to concerns about a potential oil leak.

Following conversations with a number of people who were encouraged to participate in the Mni Wiconi blogathon, I noticed a common thread that kept popping up -- some people were reluctant to get involved in what they deemed a "political" issue.

Associating a community's right to clean water with politics was, and remains, a trend that gives me pause because I never considered what's happening at Standing Rock to be a political matter. What I understood it to be is an oil company brazenly encroaching on Native American land, putting the water in danger, and buying off the local government and law enforcement to carry out atrocities on the company's behalf.

To make matters worse, no one in the mainstream media is giving this multifaceted struggle at Standing Rock the attention it deserves which means, as we found out during the Mni Wiconi blogathon, there are still people in the country who don't know about what's going on in North Dakota. How can that happen in the modern age of 400+ cable television channels, satellite radio, and local news feeds that are updated around the clock?!

Anyway, I guess what began as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's battle to protect the Missouri River ended up becoming political in nature somewhere along the line.

Hopefully, we can get back to the real issue at hand....

Our Native brothers and sisters on this planet just want, among other things, to ensure that we can all pass on a healthy environment to the next generation.

Moving forward, because the small sample of participation left little room for a random drawing, our Do1Thing GIVEAWAY Winners include the first participating blogger as well as Shannon and Misha's favorite comments. Of the two remaining gift packs I've designated for my wonderful Co-Hosts (you ladies rock!), one is up for grabs so I've offered it to a local radio station. If they take me up on it, the gift pack will go to a station listener.

Congratulations to these bloggers who will receive an emergency preparedness kit with first aid items, water bottle, KIND breakfast, etc. and a 2017 Do1Thing Calendar with step-by-step Water emergency plans:

As we wrap up this blogathon, I'd like to thank Co-Hosts Shannon at The Warrior Muse and Misha at The Five Year Project for helping people in other parts of the country learn more about the struggle at Standing Rock. I would also like to thank the hard working staff members at Do1Thing for creating a 12-month program that gives citizens the information and tools necessary for getting a head start on being prepared for a water crisis and other emergencies.

"We don't want the world to end up like Flint Michigan or Corpus Christi Texas."

- Prolific TheRapper, Rosebud Sioux Tribe member

Oil or Water, where do YOU stand?

Friday
Jan062017

If Movie Lovers Do One Thing this Weekend to Protect the Water at Standing Rock....

Let it be writing an open letter urging one of the 38 banks providing capital for entities building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), to withdraw their funding out of this unlawful project that, if completed, will contaminate the water source for 18 million people including Indigenous communities in North Dakota!

"It's hard to keep in mind something as simple as water, but it's important," reads the 2017 wall calendar published by Do1Thing, a non-profit organization on a mission to build more disaster resilient communities. As a U.S. citizen, you have the privilege of knowing that water -- an area of focus in Do1Thing's twelve-step emergency preparedness program -- is always there; for your drinking, cleaning and cooking needs….but what if you wake up one day and find out that the water stopped flowing, or it wasn't clean. What would you do?

This is a question Native Americans living on the Sioux Reservation in North Dakota are praying they won't have to answer, as they struggle to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from being built under Lake Oahe on the Missouri River.

Since Spring 2016, the Indigenous led #NoDAPL movement has been working tirelessly to resist the pipeline on many levels including spiritually, legally, financially (#DefundDAPL) and through peaceful direct actions, some of which is chronicled in the short documentary film Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock directed by Lucian Read.

Not only do I encourage movie lovers to watch this 8-minute film because it may help you get a better understanding of what's at stake for Native Americans and the earth we all share as human beings, it is the main point of reference for the Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) Blogathon hosted by yours truly with Shannon at The Warrior Muse and Misha Gericke at The Five Year Project, running now through Saturday January 7th.

In addition to gathering Do1Thing for calendars friends and family during the holiday season, I set a few aside for a GIVEAWAY following this Blogathon.

That means five lucky Mni Wiconi Blogathon participants will Win a 2017 Do1Thing Calendar with step-by-step water emergency plans and a swag bag filled with all sorts of goodies that can get you started on building your emergency supply kit!

A STAR WARS surprise is to be included in one of these packages as well. More details can be found in the Mni Wiconi Blogathon Announcement post.

What are YOU doing to prevent a water crisis at Standing Rock?

Have YOU watched the Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock' film yet?

Is YOUR money is funding the genocide of Indigenous peoples?

Friday
Dec302016

A Farewell Letter to HSBC - Bankrolling Human Rights Violations at Standing Rock is Unacceptable

Dear Group Chief Stuart Gullive and fellow HSBC Executives,
 
As a longtime customer of HSBC, I am appalled that your bank is providing $189 million in revolving credit to Energy Transfer Equity and its subsidiary, Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Not only has the construction of DAPL desecrated burial grounds and related sacred sites on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, it also endangers the drinking water for 18 million people living downstream on the Missouri River. 
 
While these actions alone are enough to give me pause about doing business with HSBC, the civil liberty violations that Energy Transfer Partners have made are among the issues I find most disturbing.
 
 
Private DAPL security and militarized police have used excessive force including unleashing dogs, pepper spray, water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas to attack Native American tribe members and their allies who have united in prayer and peaceful direct actions to halt construction of this unjust, hazardous pipeline. These attacks on water protectors in North Dakota have continued to escalate to the point of severely injuring Indigenous and non-Native women.
 
In the film Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock, Cody Hall, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe asks "what is your spirit telling you to do?" Mine leads me to take action on a number of fronts including severing ties with any bank that prioritizes investments in oil pipelines such as DAPL over the safety of people. Today I'm writing this to inform you that I'm closing my account with HSBC and moving my money to a financial institution that is not bankrolling brutality against people, particularly Native Americans, who are exercising their rights to protect the earth and its natural, finite resources. 
 
Until your bank pulls out of its deal with Energy Transfer Equity and Energy Transfer Partners, terminate its contract with them and halt all further funds from being dispersed to these companies, I will encourage other HSBC customers to withdraw their money and close their accounts as well. You and fellow decision makers have an opportunity to demonstrate that you all have a soul. If like me, you believe crimes against humanity is unacceptable, the time for HSBC to rise as the world's ethical bank is now.