Climate hero of the week
Climate hero of the week: The woman who walked from North Dakota to Washington D.C.
Here at OutwardOn we are dedicated to honoring those who create innovative solutions to our world’s biggest climate problems. This week in Climate hero of the week we’re introducing a woman who walked by foot from North Dakota to Washington D.C. to petition Obama to get more involved in preventing the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Charger is a representative of the National Indigenous Youth Council and a member of the Standing Rock Sioux. She’s spent a month walking all the way to D.C. to raise awareness about the consequences of the recently proposed pipeline. The pipeline would be 1,200 miles long and run between oil fields in North Dakota and Illinois. The Sioux tribe says the pipeline would contaminate its only water source and cross indigenous burial grounds, desecrating sacred land.
Two weeks ago the Justice Department asked the company in charge of the pipeline to voluntarily pause the project, but according to activists, the construction continued last week.
Since July, more than fifty people have been arrested protesting the pipeline, and early this month security dogs attacked many of the protesters. Despite these trials, the protesters have been relentless in fighting for their rights, and they will not give up—Charger being one of the bravest.
“What we are demanding of the Obama administration is to say no to the Dakota Access Pipeline—to shut it down completely. There’s no need to put millions of children’s lives at stake. We’re demanding Obama holds himself accountable,” Charger said.
While the rally that Charger made her way to had some pretty big-name speakers, like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Obama adviser Van Jones, the spotlight was on Charger and her tribe. They performed traditional dances, songs and drumming. When the speaking commenced, the people gathered at the White House fence chanting “We are the people. You can’t ignore us. We will not let you build this pipeline.”
Charger said, “What keeps me going is knowing that everything man-made breaks, and everything man-made leaks—including laws, and the government. It’s up to us, as citizens of the United States and of this land, to uphold our government and plug those leaks.”
This statement pretty much sums up why Charger was selected as our first climate hero of the week. She knows the challenge she faces, but she’s not willing to back down, and as a U.S. citizen, she’s devoted to upholding our government, plug those leaks, and protecting our climate, environment, and people.