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Stop the pipeline on tribal lands in North Dakota … Duh – climate change has coastal waters rising …more sewage spills in Charlotte …

The North Dakota pipeline should not cross sacred Indian lands

When I was a kid, my brother and I used to spend parts of our summers with our grandmother on our dad’s side, Mary, in Martin, South Dakota.

Martin literally was a spot along the road not many miles north of the South Dakota – Nebraska border. What I remember most, other than climbing tall pine trees (kids aren’t allowed such dare-devilish and adventurous freedoms today), were the few times my grandfather, Ed, drove my brother and me to the Indian lands just west of Martin.

I don’t know why he did that. He would pull directly into what appeared to be Indian ceremonies or large gatherings in either Pine Ridge or Wounded Knee. I don’t know if we were on reservation land or not and I’m not sure what he wanted us to see. To be sure, there were lots of teepees and lots of Sioux (he did call them “Injuns”). Even at a young age, it was evident from the looks we got from Native Americans that us white people not welcome there. For one of the first times in my life, the surroundings made me uncomfortable. (It’s hard to believe that in the 1950s there were Sioux still alive who ostensibly could remember their rout of Gen. Custer, the wholesale loss of their lands and the final, horrible years of their subjugation.)

In hindsight, I wish I’d paid more attention to those furtive trips. What those short rides in Ed’s black car have done, though, is make me more mindful of how Native Americans were abysmally mistreated.

And we’re putting it to them again today, at this very moment.

Up in North Dakota, Native Americans are fighting to stop an energy pipeline – really, a detoured reincarnation of the Keystone Pipeline – that will be built atop what they deem to be sacred lands, including burial grounds.

I’ve seen commentary from those who doubt the sincerity of Indians and their supporters, many of them who are famous and white. How is it, the doubters say, that Indians can claim virtual entire swaths of the route as sacred ground when it is already farmed or ranched or owned by others?

This amounts to Americans not fathoming how other cultures operate sans fixed borders, land ownership and burial practices. Who are we to pre-judge those who existed here long before our invasion and especially when we’ve made no conscious effort to understand where and how they lived? We ran roughshod over their ancestral plains and divvied up their land according to our needs. From everything that I know, Native Americans tried to live off the land and in harmony with it. Us, not so much.

So now comes a pipeline – owned by companies who tacitly approve of thug tactics by pipeline worker/goons to disperse protestors – that bisects, and ignores, Indian lands.

Note: Late today, Sept. 9, a judge in Washington denied protestor and tribal legal attempts to seek an injunction against construction of the pipeline through North and South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

If it had been me on the bench, here’s what I would’ve decree after pounding the courtroom gavel: “I find in favor of Native Americans. There will be no pipeline across their ancestral lands.”


How’s global warming working for you, Tybee Island and Ft. Lauderdale?

The sole stretch of two lane road connecting Savannah eastward to Tybee Island is more frequently under sea water caused by tidal flooding – thanks to rising seas that are the byproduct of global warming. Same down in Florida where Ft. Lauderdale wrestles with tidal flooding that ruins roads and forces the city to send trucks to suck sea water off streets.

Scientists call these tidal occurrences “sunny day flooding” and, according to a story in the New York Times, “… warnings (of sea level rise) are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun.”

Those closest to the increasing calamity are sounding local alarms. “I’m a Republican, but I also realize, by any objective analysis, the sea level is rising” said Jason Bueltermann, the mayor of Tybee Island.

Still, other Republican climate change deniers have their heads lodged squarely in the sand. Even as the military takes steps to protect low-lying bases from salt water flooding, some Congressmen, including Ken Buck of Colorado, called one military proposal to take action part of the “radical climate change agenda.”

Perhaps the naive Congressman has his head stuck elsewhere.


Hey Charlotteans: What’s that smell?

This small item in the Charlotte Observer: There’s an uptick in local sewage spills.

Charlotte Water reports 224 spills in the fiscal year that ended in June; that’s up from 177 the prior year.

The spills accounted for 207,000 gallons of sewage. The Observer article said “the rolling five-year average of spills continue to decline as older sewage pipes are cleaned, relined or replaced.

Seems to me 200,000-plus gallons is a lot of putrid, unhealthful, yucky stuff.


Retrieving plastic from Harris YMCA and local Harris Teeter parking lots

The hunt for plastic isn’t limited to my daily walks.

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My YMCA retrieval is on the left, the Harris Teeter find on the right.

When offending material is spotted, it’s retrieved and dumped into the recycle bin. This includes regular pick ups of water bottles (and other plastics) found on the parking lots of the always-busy Harris YMCA and the Harris Teeter grocery store closest to me.

Seems slobbery knows no boundaries.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that my kids, Ellen and Reid, gave me WeatherTech floor mats for my car so I can toss junk on the floor with impunity – and not make a real mess.

About Dave Bradley (260 Articles)
I'm the one behind two totally unrelated blogs; one on 15 years of writing a weekly letter to my kids (plus other recipients), the other on my localized environmental responsibility. I'm a writer by trade and both endeavors are accepted practice for me. As for the letters, my adult children Ellen and Reid may have seen letters as corny at one point, but it's accepted practice for them, too, to find something in their mailbox other than bills and junk mail. Email and texting don't do a lot for me for a lot of different reasons. Snail mail has its place in the communicative world so as long as they keep selling stamps, I'm buying. As for 'Pick Up Your Path' and the environment, I advocate what citizens can do themselves to take a direct hand in their neighborhood environment. But Pick Up Your Path is also a general environmental blog. It may be largely about litter and trash, but both of those are just one element of the total environmental picture.

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