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Entries in inspiration and observations (83)


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?


Announcing the Mni Wiconi Blogathon - #DeFundDAPL

UPDATE: Mni Wiconi Blogathon is Extended until JANUARY 7th!On a number of occasions I've written about the ways movies help us further understand the role we play as a society when addressing complex topics including water pollution, climate change, poverty, clean water, human rights and the power of people working together to make a positive difference.

In response to one of these writings, Michele Truhlik hailed the importance of documentary filmmakers because they "bring light to subjects and incidents that would otherwise go unnoticed." Lucian Read, whose 8-minute short film Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock highlights the struggle for clean water and Native sovereignty, is one such documentarian.

After watching Read's film, it bothers me that many of the same banks that brought us the 2008 financial crash are destroying the earth and bankrolling genocide and it seems like no one is talking about it. 

Together with Shannon at The Warrior Muse and Misha at The Five Year Project, we invite YOU to stop the censorship and corporate media whiteout of the #NoDAPL movement, by participating in the Mni Wiconi Blogathon.


How To Participate:

1. Write an open letter to a bank of your choosing, in response to the film Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock and publish it on your blog between Dec. 27 - Jan. 7. (e.g. Dear Wells Fargo, Why Are You Funding Water Contamination? or Dear Chase Bank, You Can't Drink Oil)

  • You can watch the film at the bottom of this blog post.
  • A $1.4 billion loan is on hold while the Army Corps permit for drilling under the Missouri River is suspended. This means there's still time for the banks involved in this loan to cut their line of credit.
  • Only submit NEW posts. Previously published posts will not be eligible for the Giveaway (see details below). If you do not have a blog, consider doing a guest post for another blogger or posting your entry on Medium.

2. Add the blogathon badge to your post

3. Send us your post by filling out the form below:

One entry per person, not per blog.

Must be received by Monday January 2 Saturday January 7, 2017 12:59pm EST

4. Promote your post on social media using the hashtags #WaterisLife #Blogathon #DefundDAPL #BankExit


I will post a list roundup of the participating blogs here, as they are received and compiled, throughout the week and share the lists on social media.


*courtesy of @MadlabPost & Do1Thing

On Tuesday January 3rd Monday January 9th, I'll randomly select five participants who will receive a 2017 Do1Thing wall calendar and an emergency swag bag filled with a water bottle, first aid kit, KIND granola, flashlights and related goodies. The first gift recipient who responds to my notification will also receive a Star Wars themed surprise.

Let's demand the banks to #DefundDAPL because Water is Life!

December is a global month of action in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as indigenous led communities unite to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), also known as the Bakken Pipeline from crossing the Missouri River. So today I'm closing my account with HSBC -- one of the 38 banks funding (and profiting off) a project that violates sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and threatens the air and water supply for millions of people.


Nate’s Storytime: Rosie Runs into Rugrats at the Multiplex

Vinyl hijackers calling themselves the Popcorn Snobs are catching up on their theme, ‘The Taking of April A-Z,’ while they run this blog for the next 9 (or so) days.

Hello, its Nate here…returning to tell you a story about one of the most absurd movie theater experiences ever shared on this blog.

Once upon a time, around the late 90s, there was a teenage girl named Rosie who went to the movies with her boyfriend. Let’s call him D.

After picking up snacks at the concessions counter, Rosie and D quickly made themselves comfortable in a row where an unidentified woman and her small tribe of children were also seated.

Sometime during the feature presentation, one of these kids asked Rosie for some popcorn. She obliged, sharing a portion of her popcorn with the child. Moments later, this kid’s mother told Rosie that the rest of the children should have popcorn too; it’s only fair. Despite the woman’s seemingly ridiculous request and D’s protest on the matter, Rosie gave each child some of her popcorn. Everyone ended up enjoying the movie -- at D and Rosie’s expense.

How different would this scenario turn out if YOU were in Rosie’s shoes?