I returned to Iowa in 2017 after spending my entire adult life in Indianapolis. First as a neonatal respiratory therapist, then thirty years doing research related to infant lung development and disease at Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Medical Center.
In Indianapolis I was fortunate to have been led to become involved with numerous environmental and social justice organizations, including the Kheprw Institute, a youth mentoring community, and efforts to stop the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. I made a lot of close friends. It was hard to leave them.
And I wondered what organizations and people I would find in Iowa. Ed Fallon and Bold Iowa were often mentioned as I looked for environmental groups in Iowa. We began to know each other via social media and email. But we didn’t meet until 7:00 am, February 3, 2018. Ed had organized a group to travel in a van to Minneapolis Super Bowl weekend to protest US Bank’s funding of the Dakota Access pipeline. US Bank’s headquarters are in downtown Minneapolis, and the Super Bowl was played in the US Bank stadium.
Ed, of Bold Iowa, and Christine Nobiss, of Indigenous Iowa, organized the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March, that I participated in. A small group of about a dozen native and a dozen non-native people walked and camped along the route of the Dakota Access pipeline from Des Moines to Ford Dodge, ninety four miles over eight days. See: https://firstnationfarmer.com/
The purpose of the march was for us to share our stories and get to know one another so we could work on things of common concern. That was hugely successful, and we have done many things together since.
Ed is familiar with my involvement with the Wet’suwet’en people’s struggles to keep the Coastal GasLink pipeline from being built through their beautiful lands. When he read my recent blog post, Wet’suwet’en emergency, he asked if I’d like to be interviewed about this on his weekly radio program, the Fallon Forum.
The Wet’suwet’en people of British Columbia have been fighting to stop Coastal GasLink from building a pipeline through their land. That effort takes on additional importance now as the company threatens to drill under a river central to the Wet’suwet’en’s existence. Advocate Jeff Kisling joins me for that discussion.