Video: Protecting the Sacred – Water, the Environment, and Climate Change

This 30 minute CBS News video includes some of our best leaders on water, climate change, and watershed discipleship.

Christiana Zenner Peppard is a professor of theology, science, and ethics at Fordham University. She wrote in Come Ye to the Waters (If You Can Afford It) in Sept-Oct 2017 Sojourners and is author of Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and the Global Water Crisis.

Tara Houska, Ojibwe, is a tribal-rights attorney and the national campaigns director for the indigenous-led environmental-justice organization Honor the Earth. She has served as adviser on Native American issues for Bernie Sanders’s campaign, cofounded Not Your Mascots to fight the appropriation of indigenous culture, and protested the Dakota Access pipeline at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Katharine Hayhoe is a climate scientist at Texas Tech University. She wrote Climate Scientist, Christian on Climate Change and Wildfires for Sojourners, as well as the book A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions and contributed to the June 2017 Global Climate Report.

Melinda Harnish Clutterbuck (pastor at Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster) and Mark Clutterbuck are cofounders of Lancaster Against Pipelines. Sister Sara Dwyer, ASC, is peace, justice, and integrity of creation coordinators for the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. I wrote about their courageous witness in Developers Are Trying to Build a Pipeline Through a Watershed. These Nuns Built A Chapel In Its Path.

This week, Oct 1-6, Lancaster Against Pipelines and the Adorers will be defending their land and waterways through blocking Transco-Williams’ bulldozers. Please pray and contribute to the collection for these saints.

Surveiling Dakota Land Defenders Has Biblical Resonance

Two recent articles (see below) document what land defenders fighting the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines have been reporting anecdotally: they are being aggressively surveiled and treated like enemy combatants, not Americans. As Sojourners publisher Joe Roos said during the Reagan era, “The real goal of most domestic surveillance is political control. The suppression of domestic political dissent and the containment of social change movements lie more at the heart of our government’s intentions.” And Bill Wylie-Kellermann reminds us that “In truth, [surveillance] is an ancient tactic of the powers, one with which Jesus contended and coped.”

Wylie-Kellermann continues, “An eye for surveillance material in the New Testament is a little like paranoia; it begins to stare back at you from every page. In a recent re-reading of the four gospels, I counted easily more than 40 instances where Jesus or his followers are being watched, watched for, or sought. Add to that some 25 or more references to plottings against him and his friends, and you begin to get the creeps. At the point in John where Jesus himself is accused of being “paranoid” (7:20), we can take sympathy. He has good reason to be. In general, the gospel of John (so often revered as the least political) appears to have the most abundant material on surveillance. There we are granted a dramatic view most privy to the counsel of the authorities, and there the actions of Jesus in response are most versatile and conscious. Of the synoptics Luke is the most explicit about the plots: “So they watched him, and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might take hold of what he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor” (Luke 20:20). These agents do deliver. At the trial those political charges are brought, with a host of witnesses to back them up.”

There is nothing new under the sun and our authentic witness for the integrity of creation continues to provoke responses in the Powers That Be. So, beloved, be “wise as serpents, and gentle as doves.”–RMB

Paramilitary security tracked and targeted DAPL opponents as “jihadists,” docs show by Antonia Juhasz for Grist

“As people nationwide rallied last year to support the Standing Rock Sioux’s attempts to block the Dakota Access Pipeline, a private security firm with experience fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan launched an intrusive military-style surveillance and counterintelligence campaign against the activists and their allies, according to internal company documents.

Its surveillance targets included everyone from Native American demonstrators to the actress Shailene Woodley, along with organizations including Black Lives Matter, 350.org, Veterans for Peace, the Catholic Worker Movement, and Food and Water Watch. The records label the protestors “jihadists” and seek to justify escalating action against them.

The activities of the company spanned, but were not limited to, the four states through which the pipeline passes: South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. The documents also show that its surveillance efforts continued after the breakup of the Standing Rock camps this winter, including at ongoing pipeline protests in southeastern Pennsylvania, Iowa, and South Dakota.

The internal documents from the firm, called TigerSwan, take the form of situation reports, or “sitreps,” prepared between September and April for its employer, Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners. The records detail a range of tactics that experts from the American Civil Liberties Union, National Lawyers Guild, and Electronic Frontier Foundation say would likely be illegal if conducted by law enforcement. …” Read more here.

Leaked Documents Reveal Counterterrorism Tactics used at Standing Rock to ‘Defeat Pipeline Insurgencies’ by Alleen Brown, Will Parrish, Alice Speri at The Intercept

“… The situation reports also suggest that TigerSwan attempted a counterinformation campaign by creating and distributing content critical of the protests on social media.

The Intercept is publishing a first set of TigerSwan’s situation reports from September 2016, which describe the company’s initial operations. We are also publishing two additional situation reports dated October 16 and November 5, along with PowerPoint presentations shared with law enforcement that correspond to the same dates. The names of private individuals whose actions are not already in the public record, or whose authorization we did not obtain, have been redacted to protect their privacy. The Intercept will publish the remaining situation reports in the coming weeks.

In addition, The Intercept is publishing a selection of communications, obtained by public records requests, detailing coordination between a wide range of local, state, and federal agencies, which confirm that the FBI participated in core Dakota Access-related law enforcement operations starting soon after protests began last summer. Finally, we are publishing two additional documents, also in the public record, that detail TigerSwan’s role spearheading Energy Transfer Partner’s multipronged security operation. …” Read more here.

Video: Prophet Isaiah Speaks at Standing Rock

Todd Wynward, author of Rewilding the Way, speaks a Christian interpretation of what has happened in Standing Rock in the last weeks.

Using Isaiah 62:1-4, Todd interprets the good news that came with the government’s overturning of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and joins in the Lord’s delight of the people, energy, and all who have opposed the DAPL.

Let the people say: Amen!