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Articles by: Sarah van Gelder

90 Companies Helped Cause the Climate Crisis—They Should Pay For It

90 Companies Helped Cause the Climate Crisis—They Should Pay For It

Pacific Northwest forests are on fire. Several blazes are out of control, threatening rural towns, jumping rivers and highways, and covering Portland, Oregon, Seattle, and other cities in smoke and falling ash. Temperatures this summer are an average of 3.6 degrees higher than the last half of the 20th century, according to the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group analysis published in[Read More…]

Two young men at a demonstration organized to protest against racism and Islamophobia in Amsterdam. Photo by Cloud-Mine-Amsterdam / iStock.

The Dutch City That Offered Refugees A Permanent Home

It was an odd sight for residents of Zaandam, a quaint Dutch town 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam. A public park in a village known for 18th-century windmills and wooden clogs had suddenly filled with rows of white tents. Five hundred refugees, mainly from Syria and Iraq, mostly men, had arrived by bus in October 2015. Most left behind[Read More…]

Photo by Teknorat

Changing Hearts And Opening Minds—It Happens When We Listen

One after another, the executive orders roll down from the top office of the land—orders that dismantle health coverage and launch the building of a wall while demolishing efforts at climate protection and access to birth control. And then a new set—excluding from the United States desperate refugee families from seven Muslim countries. That was just in week one. Each[Read More…]

Photo by MarioGuti / iStock.

It Wasn’t All Bad: 5 Signs Of Positive Change In 2016

It was a year blown up by the election results. There are now two very different 2016s—the one before and the one after we learned that Donald Trump would become president of the United States. Before Nov. 8, most assumed that Hillary Clinton would be elected and would lead the nation more or less in the footsteps of Barack Obama.[Read More…]

Photo by whiteson / iStock.

How To Face A Trump Presidency: Resist, Reconnect, Renew

It’s the solstice, the darkest time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. I awaken in the dark and check for news about Standing Rock and about the Trump transition team. It’s almost an epic pairing: the Native Americans, withstanding water cannons and pepper spray, camped out in below-zero blizzards, holding as sacred the water, land, and well-being of the children—and[Read More…]

The events at Standing Rock have been transformative, and these victories are not ones that Energy Transfer Partners or even President-elect Trump can take away. (Photo: Oceti Sakowin/flickr/cc)

How Standing Rock Has Changed Us

At the Oceti Sakowin camp there were celebrations into the night when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision was announced. Fireworks lit up the sky, which is normally dominated by police searchlights, and there were songs, prayers, and dance. And tears. The decision to halt work on the Dakota Access pipeline may be the victory that the Standing Rock[Read More…]

Photo by Lori Panico.

The Many Ways to Help Standing Rock

Even if you can’t show up at the wintry encampments, you can join water protectors in other ways: from calling the North Dakota governor to breaking up with your bank. The timing couldn’t have been more awful. The day after Thanksgiving, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Standing Rock Sioux tribe that people camped at the Oceti Sakowin[Read More…]

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"Our elders," said Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, "told us to focus on praying for the federal agencies and the US government and North Dakota to hear what we were doing and saying: we have to protect the sacredness of the water.” (Photo: Sarah van Gelder)

Turning Point At Standing Rock? Resistance And Renewed Hope Against Dakota Access

Is this the turning point for the Dakota Access Pipeline? Word spread through the camp on Friday of a discussion between the Army Corps of Engineers and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that could mean a breakthrough. “This proves that our prayers are really strong from the Oceti Sakowin camp,” Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network told[Read More…]

Report From Standing Rock—Fierce Resilience As The Black Snake Approaches The River

Report From Standing Rock—Fierce Resilience As The Black Snake Approaches The River

The camp is a hive of activity, people splitting firewood, erecting a giant geodesic dome, patrolling on horseback, cooking food over wood heated stoves. At the same time, the camp is struggling to recover from trauma resulting from last Thursday’s action by a multi-state armored police force. Elders who went out to pray were hit with rubber bullets, bean bag[Read More…]

Frybread making with Osh Johnson from Black Mesa, Navajo Nation. Photo by Desiree Kane.

At Standing Rock, A Sense Of Purpose: “This Is How We Should Be Living”

Drive from Bismarck, North Dakota, to the Standing Rock encampment, and the sign that something unusual is happening is abrupt: a checkpoint staffed by the National Guard. Continue south, past rolling grasslands with an occasional farmhouse, until there is nothing but open space. Catch a glimpse of the Missouri River meandering back and forth, and a flock of white pelicans[Read More…]

'The best part of the work we do is that it’s not what we’re fighting against but what we’re fighting for.' (Photo:  Indigenous Environmental Network/Facebook)

The Big Difference At Standing Rock Is Native Leadership All Around

This year’s massive buildup of resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline follows closely on the heels of the victory over Keystone XL pipeline, something often credited to feverish organizing by 350.org. But years before 350’s involvement, there was the Indigenous Environmental Network, which launched that movement and its “Keep It In the Ground” messaging. This time, with nearly 200 tribes[Read More…]

In Photos: Northwest Canoe Tribes Arrive At Historic Gathering At Standing Rock

In Photos: Northwest Canoe Tribes Arrive At Historic Gathering At Standing Rock

At Cannonball, North Dakota, the people keep coming. The occupation to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline has become the largest gathering of the nation’s tribes in more than 100 years. It’s the first time all seven bands of the Sioux Nation have come together since the Battle of Little Bighorn. On Thursday, dozens of tribal families from throughout[Read More…]

March for Clean Energy in Philadelphia. Photo by Paul and Cathy / Flickr.

Why Say No To The TPP? Corporations Already Have Too Much Power

 It took two days for 60 members of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance to plant the heirloom seeds by hand. It was the spring of 2014, and there were prayers, burning of sage and sweetgrass, and, one by one, volunteers pressed the red corn seeds into the earth of Art and Helen Tanderup’s farm in Neligh, Nebraska. There, along the[Read More…]

The Radical Work Of Healing: Fania And Angela Davis On A New Kind Of Civil Rights Activism

The Radical Work Of Healing: Fania And Angela Davis On A New Kind Of Civil Rights Activism

Angela and Fania Davis. YES! Photo by Kristin Little. Angela Davis and her sister Fania Davis were working for social justice before many of today’s activists were born. From their childhood in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, where their friends were victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, to their association with the Black Panther Party and the Communist Party, to[Read More…]

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