Environmental racism: Where environment and civil rights intersect
Saturday, April 18, 2009 - 16:21
I listened to Winona LaDuke speak on campus over a month ago. I would have posted on it then, but the Web site wasn't ready yet. Nonetheless, she had a lot of important things to say that I think you should hear. First, a little background on LaDuke: she graduated with a degree in rural economic development from Harvard and used this to help her people, the Anishinaabeg, buy back ancestral land promised to them in a treaty. She ran for vice president last year, and she has two Web sites: Honor the Earth and White Earth Land Recovery Project. A lot of accomplishment summed up in a couple sentences. But I wanted to focus on a few things she's doing for her community:
She has introduced a Farm to School Program at White Earth Reservation, allowing school children at Pine Point School in MN to eat healthier, natural food. Here's a quote from the White Earth Web site:
I don't think it takes a geneticist to realize that eating more natural and organic food is the healthy way to go. Not to mention that eating food grown locally reduces our carbon footprint. (Consider the gas it takes to ship food all across the world.) Plus, this group sets a good example of how a community can be independent from wealthy food suppliers. To start a Farm to School Program where you live, visit FoodRoutes.
But let's get back to LaDuke. She has helped the Anishinaabeg switch from coal to wind energy:
"Our reservation’s western region has a class four wind potential. As well, we sit on the cusp of the Great Plains, considered to be the Saudi Arabia of Wind Power by most energy analysts."
Hmm, sounds a lot like Nebraska.
"At White Earth, we are developing a local wind initiative, linking both with national models for tribal wind development and developing relationships and capacity with local tribal governments, municipalities, rural electrical cooperatives, utilities and farmers on the reservation and in the region. This integrated program includes a tribal initiative aimed at reducing tribal energy consumption through conservation, renewables and other strategies, development of individual wind and solar projects for the area and development of both regional and tribal wind capacity." (more)
Again, independence from big energy corporations and self-sustenance. So, while buying recycled jewelry is fun and good, it seems like LaDuke's approach really tackles global warming and conservation.
To invite LaDuke to your area, fill out this form.
Photo credit: Care_SMC/Flickr