Actor Mark Ruffalo is using his notoriety to support the Native Americans who are protesting the Dakota Access pipeline. Ruffalo co-founded The Solutions Project, a company that promotes renewable energy for all. On its website, its mission statement says, “Together we can build a stronger economy, healthier families, and a more secure future. 100% clean is 100% possible. Join us.”
“This pipeline is a black snake that traverses four states and 200 waterways with fracked Bakken oil,” says Ruffalo. “We know from experience that pipelines leak, explode, pollute and poison land and water. But it doesn’t have to be that way.” Ruffalo has arranged for several solar energy arrays mounted to tractor-trailer trucks to help power the encampments the indigenous Sioux people plan to inhabit during the winter as they continue their protest against the Dakota Access pipeline.
The solar trailers will provide clean energy to power medical tents and other critical facilities for Native American protesters and their allies at the encampment. The trailers symbolize a healthy, equitable, prosperous energy future made possible by clean, renewable energy. The trailers were built by members of the Navajo nation and were financed by Empowered by Light and Give Power.
“Water is life,” said Wahleah Johns, a Navajo leader and founder of Native Renewables. “By leading a transition to energy that is powered by the sun, the wind and water, we ensure a better future for all of our people and for future generations.” Johns’ company promotes low-cost clean energy solutions for Native American families throughout the US with an emphasis on job creation and on benefiting the community as a whole.
Research led by Stanford Prof. Mark Jacobson, another Solutions Project co-founder, shows that it would be technically possible and economically beneficial to transition to 100% clean renewable energy in each and every state across the country (and 139 nations). In North Dakota, for example, wind and solar energy would be the primary sources of clean power and transitioning to 100% renewables would create 30,000 jobs.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe says it was not sufficiently consulted when the Dakota Access Pipeline was in the planning stages. The pipeline endangers the tribe’s water supply — and the water supply of millions of other people, given the pipeline’s planned crossing under the Missouri River. The pipeline’s construction has already marred sacred lands, including burial sites. The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies — including indigenous people from across the US and around the world — see it as a clear threat to both the tribe’s cultural heritage and the basic human right to clean water.
“Around the world, more than 80% of the forests and lands with protected waterways and rich biodiversity are held by indigenous tribes. This is no coincidence,” Ruffalo said. “As so many of us suffer from polluted water, air and land in our rural and urban communities, the water defenders at Standing Rock are showing us another way.”