No CO2 Pipelines in Iowa

Iowa Utilities Board (IUB)! See Our Power!

You can download a copy of this poster here.!Avb9bFhezZpPjNEeBqI19Hk2DVMAkw

Please join us July 12th, 8:30 am at the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) monthly board meeting. The board is preparing to handle permit requests for three hazardous carbon pipelines in Iowa.

There are many reasons why carbon pipelines should not be built, including:

  • these are unproven processes
  • even though the main argument for carbon pipelines is removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some of the captured carbon is actually used for more oil fracking
  • the abuse of eminent domain
  • and significant, long-term impacts on farmland.
  • In addition, these are hazardous material pipelines

When a carbon pipeline explodes, huge amounts of carbon dioxide escape into the air, replacing oxygen, and potentially killing people and animals. Such an explosion and some of those consequences actually happened in Satartia, Mississippi. See: CO2 Pipeline Dangers.

Here are some other posts I’ve written about carbon pipelines.

Carbon pipeline opposition
Eminent domain abuse again
Survivors of Carbon pipeline explosion tell their stories
Iowa carbon pipeline resistance

Join the Iowa Carbon Pipeline Resistance Coalition for a rally at the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) monthly board meeting. We won’t stand by as corporations endanger our land, our communities, and our climate by abusing eminent domain. CO2 pipelines pose a multitude of threats to all Iowans. From destroying farmland to the threat of asphyxiation if a pipeline leaks, Iowans are carrying all the risks, while Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry make off with the reward.

As the Iowa Utilities Board prepares to handle permit requests for three hazardous carbon pipelines, it’s crucial that they know 80% of Iowans oppose using eminent domain for carbon pipelines. It’s time Iowa’s decision-makers learn that we will not accept greedy corporate interests being put before their needs.

Let’s show the Iowa Utilities Board how powerful we are when we stand together!

Iowa Carbon Pipeline Resistance Coalition

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is not the answer to the climate emergency. CCS is unproven, dangerous and delays real solutions to the climate crisis such as energy conservation, regenerative agriculture and renewable energy.

Great Plains Action Society

Great Plains Action Society. An indigenous collective working to resist and indigenize colonial institutions, ideologies, and behaviors.

Buffalo Rebellion

Buffalo Rebellion is a coalition of Iowa grassroots organizations that are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice!

Formed in 2021, Buffalo Rebellion is comprised of seven Iowa organizations: Great Plains Action Society, DSM Black Liberation Movement, Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, Sierra Club Beyond Coal, Cedar Rapids Sunrise Movement, SEIU Local 199, and Iowa CCI

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
With thousands of members from all walks of life, we get things done on critical issues


Fear cannot withstand the light

I’ve resolved to not dwell so much on all the crisis we face. But it is hard to maintain hope with the escalating explosion of threats confronting us.

I’ve been reading CLIMATE SENSE: Changing the Way We Think & Feel About Our Climate in Crisis by Zhiwa Woodbury. He expresses these crises as unacknowledged fears. Fears that can paralyze us. And reminds us fear cannot withstand the light.

Our path to planetary rebirth is paved with fear. …These unacknowledged fears feed our depression, and if allowed to fester in our unconscious mind, they will eventually drown us in a sea of despair. But there is a great secret in all this that makes it a lot less intimidating. Like the darkness which is now consuming our world, fear cannot withstand the light. In this case, the bright light shines forth in the form of simple awareness. In politics, information is power. But when it comes to the climate crisis, awareness is where our power lies. Please do not underestimate it.

Consider that the only power fear has is in its unacknowledged state. As psychologists have appreciated for some time now, our actions are largely controlled by our shadow selves, and our shadow selves are shaped by our unacknowledged fears. By acknowledging, confronting, and processing these fears, through awareness we emerge from the self-imposed darkness, into the warm glow of that light, we human beings can do anything we put our minds to. Thus, in every emergency, there is the potential for emergence into some transformed state of being. That is the latent, unlimited power of awareness.

But paralyzed by fear, we will surely perish.

CLIMATE SENSE: Changing the Way We Think & Feel About Our Climate in Crisis by Zhiwa Woodbury

I look forward to worshiping with my Quaker meeting this morning. We speak of the Inner Light as the expression of the presence of the Spirit in our lives. Knowing this Spirit is in all things, human and nonhuman, helps us value everything. In our silent Quaker meetings, we seek to hear what this Spirit is telling us in the present moment. We have this awareness of the Spirit which can conquer our fears. “By acknowledging, confronting, and processing these fears, through awareness we emerge from the self-imposed darkness, into the warm glow of that light, we human beings can do anything we put our minds to.”

To practice hope is to face hard truths, harder truths than you can face without the practice of hope. You can’t navigate dark places without a light, and hope is that light for humanity’s dark places. 

Quinn Norton

Bear Creek Friends

Awaken and remember…

This is a continuation of yesterday’s blog post, A crisis of Spirit. As I quoted yesterday, Zhiwa Woodbury says our environmental crisis is a crisis of spirit.

As a Quaker, spirituality has been central to how I’ve lived my life.

It was a spiritual vision that set me on my lifelong path of environmental activism.

This is the photo that was and still is my spiritual vision, literally. I took this photo of Long’s Peak in the early 1970’s. I printed it in my darkroom and kept it near me, a reminder of the mountains. Looking forward to returning.

Long’s Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

When I moved to Indianapolis in 1971, I was just shocked by the clouds of noxious smog. That was before catalytic converters. I could not, and still cannot understand how people could continue to drive when they were destroying our environment. I kept seeing an image of my beloved mountains obscured by smog. I would look at the photo above and imagine not being able to see that in the future. That was incomprehensible and devastating and led me to refuse to have a car for the rest of my life.

September 13, 2015, I wrote “Cars as Weapons of Mass Destruction”, which was later published in the book, Explore Sustainable Indiana.

But I felt I had failed when I was unable to convince anyone else at all to give up their car. However, the strong spiritual force I felt throughout my life related to our environment never waned.

Now that I’m reading CLIMATE SENSE: Changing the Way We Think & Feel About Our Climate in Crisis, I’m getting a new perspective on this.

The book speaks of our lost connection with nature.

I was raised on farms. And the Quaker boarding high school I attended, Scattergood Friends School, is on the land of a working farm. Some of our daily work crews included working on the farm, raising pigs and pruning the apple trees in the orchard.

It was amazing that our family vacations were camping trips to National Parks. Our favorite was Rocky Mountain National Park, where the photo above was taken.

Not having a car meant I spent hours every day in nature. Walking to and from work. And running nearly every day. That walking took much longer than it would have otherwise because I carried my camera with me and would stop to take photos. Walking made me pay close attention to where I was (in nature) as I looked for images to capture. The more experience I had, the more variety and detail I was able to see and capture. Being out in all kinds of light and weather provided opportunities to learn to photograph in difficult situations.

All this meant I didn’t completely lose my connection with nature.

Again, Woodbury points out the importance of spirituality.

“If we have an appropriate spiritual container for processing this natural grief, then we will be transformed by the expression of our repressed grief. We will have greater joy. So…
Do not be afraid.”

The American Dream has become the natural world’s worst nightmare. We must rouse ourselves from this suicidal slumber…

Over the course of our lives, we have all repressed natural feelings of grief over our lost connection to nature herself, our true nature, and we all harbor deep fears as a result. When we get in touch with these feelings and fears, there is a tremendous release of tension, anxiety, and depression. If we have an appropriate spiritual container for processing this natural grief, then we will be transformed by the expression of our repressed grief. We will have greater joy. So…

Do not be afraid.

By acknowledging the losses we have experienced in relation to nature, by embracing our fears and seeing them as intelligent guides along our spiritual path, we have nothing more to lose, really, and everything in the world to gain.

Awaken and remember…

CLIMATE SENSE: Changing the Way We Think & Feel About Our Climate in Crisis by Zhiwa Woodbury

It is in the hearts and minds of human beings that the causes and cures of the ecocatastrope are to be found.

Ralph Metzner

While it would be lovely if we would all awaken together, the truth of the matter is that we can only do this one mind at a time. No one will lead us out of this crisis to some new promised land. We will only emerge from the climate crisis by taking responsibility for it upon ourselves–by assuming authority for our own psychological state of well being, and by reconnecting to this amazing planet through our very personal connections to the natural world-no matter where we live-and to our collective psyche, which will look different for each one of us.

CLIMATE SENSE: Changing the Way We Think & Feel About Our Climate in Crisis by Zhiwa Woodbury

A crisis of Spirit

Yesterday I wrote, “for millennia, people lived in sustainable ways. Life was often a struggle. But people did not use more resources than what could be replenished. They lived sustainably. What has been different over the past several generations has been the wealthy and powerful asserting their dominance not only over people, but over Mother Earth herself with disastrous consequences.”

The reason I wanted for so long to find connections with indigenous peoples was because of their sustainable lifestyles. And from what little I knew, how spirituality was the basis of their lives.

I am blessed to now have many indigenous friends. Most of those friendships began as we walked and camped together along the path of the Dakota Access pipeline for eight days in 2018 on the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March.

I really wanted to learn about the spirituality of my indigenous friends, but I didn’t know how to bridge the barriers between us, because of the Quaker involvement in the Indian boarding/residential schools. The Spirit led me to speak to some of these friends about the Quaker involvement in forced assimilation. I won’t say more than that, in fear of others doing something similar without first having deep relationships, and Spiritual guidance to do so.

I will say this has resulted in opportunities for further Spiritual sharing. Recently one friend said she was glad to hear Quakers grieved for Friend’s participation in forced assimilation. Among other things, this made it possible for her to ask me if Quakers might support a video documentary being made about the residential school of her nation. Which we did.

I don’t like to use a lot of quotes. but yesterday I was led to re-read from the book CLIMATE SENSE: Changing the Way We Think & Feel About Our Climate in Crisis by Zhiwa Woodbury. Which expresses what I’ve been trying to write about Spirituality, and our environmental crisis.

Zhiwa Woodbury is an Earth Protector. Wildlife Advocate. Doctor of Natural Law(yer), Ecopsychologist, Long-time devoted dharma practitioner and hospice volunteer. Motivated by compassion. View all posts by ecopsi2day

The climate crisis we face is not an environmental problem, and there is no environmental solution. It is not a political issue, and there will be no timely political solutions forthcoming. It is certainly a moral issue, as recognized by Pope Francis and every religion should treat this as such. But given the deep psychological roots of our behavior, moralizing about climate change is also not the solution. No, this is a crisis of spirit, a crisis in relationship, raising the question who we humans really are. We can think of it as a kind of collective identity crisis-one that will only be resolved when a critical mass of human beings heal the split between our Psyche, or collective soul, and nature, the soul of the world.

In gaining mastery over nature, asserting unimaginable control over the very forces of creation and destruction, we seem to have severed our connection to nature at its very root, objectifying the earth and each other, commodifying our lives, designing artificial living environments called suburbs, and creating an entirely new, virtual reality to soothe our aching souls. In the process, we unintentionally isolated ourselves from our own true nature as earthlings – creatures of the earth. We created a social and cultural matrix of isolation, and then we proceeded to act out this story of separation, objectification, modification, and alienation in increasingly harmful ways, until now we are unraveling the very fabric of life and assaulting the global ecosystem that has nourished and supported us, and all beings since beginningless time.

That locomotive force of ignorance and greed rolled right over and through the ancient inhabitants of this new world, and quickly laid waste to the natural abundance that they had been caretakers of for millennia. Certainly, it would be difficult to imagine a more traumatic war against nature than the genocide that Europeans visited on the Earth-based cultures of the indigenous tribes of Turtle Island, or a more heart-breaking ecocide than reducing the dominant species here when we landed, the majestic and socially developed American Buffalo, bison bison, from 60 million to fewer than 6000 today-a thousand-fold reduction via slaughter.

While we see the result in the extreme polarization of society, this split is not irreparable, we humans are not irredeemable, and the truth and reconciliation process that needs to happen is not all that complicated. To become whole again, to restore the natural part of “human nature,” requires only that we hear the deafening call of the natural world, and recognize that something is terribly amiss within, as well as reflected without. Only then can we actively engage in a concerted, conscientious effort to heal the psychic wound we can all still feel in our hearts whenever we stop numbing ourselves to the dreadful pain inherent in our present predicament.

CLIMATE SENSE: Changing the Way We Think & Feel About Our Climate in Crisis by Zhiwa Woodbury

“In our prophecies they say we are now at the crossroads: we either unite spiritually as a global nation, or face chaos, disasters, sickness and tears from our relatives’ eyes.”

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, from the Standing Rock Tribe of Lakota Nation

Advocating for climate sanity

I recently discovered papers written by Zhiwa Woodbury, so I don’t yet know how much I will agree with him as I read more. But I agree with the following excerpt. This paragraph strikes a chord in me now, as I am trying to make sense of what is going on in the world today. I recently returned to the concept of sensemaking in Where are we now?

We have a stark choice between our own eventual extermination or a near term transformation. Such a transformation of human culture and the global economy will not come about without a simultaneous shift in collective consciousness. Trauma always raises questions of identity, whether considered at the scale of the individual, a culture, or now with the climate crisis, at the scale of an entire species. The choices we humans are making now – and will continue to make – in response to this spiritual emergency will determine whether we engender spiritual emergence, the messy rebirth of our species, or instead we repeat the kind of Great Dying that once wiped out 95% of all life on the planet, and took 10 million years for the biosphere to recover. My purpose in writing this book is to offer guidance and succor to all who those natural healers and existential professionals in the world, all those who hear the cries of the Earth, and all those advocating for climate sanity in every arena of life, so that we may attend Gaia’s bedside and serve as her spiritual midwives in planetary hospice. Whether Gaia is now dying, just ill, or about to give birth is largely dependent on how we, as a species, respond to her signals and attend to her needs

Climate Trauma, Reconciliation and Recovery by Zhiwa Woodbury

I do believe we are in a spiritual emergency and need a shift in collective consciousness. I often write about spiritual poverty. We spoke about this, too, last night during our weekly (Quaker) Spiritual Sharing Small Group.

We need to be advocating for climate sanity in every arena of life.

I always hesitate to bring this up, but I think we need to speak from our own experience. When I moved to Indianapolis in 1971, I was so horrified by the clouds of smog (before catalytic converters) I decided to live without a car. I know others have done so. But the point is, that was one way of advocating for climate sanity. It is heart wrenching to think of what a different world we would be living in today if fifty years ago we had decided to prioritize mass transit systems. And worked to build our cities and towns as walkable communities.

That was then. What do we do, advocate for, now? Our society clearly continues to refuse to think, let alone do anything about our deepening environmental catastrophe.

Rather than close coal burning plants, more are being built. Rather than stop further fossil fuel pipelines and other infrastructure, more is being built. Crazy schemes like carbon capture are being built. Some of what is captured is used to frack more oil from the ground.

Militaries are the worst polluters. The war in Ukraine and military operations globally need to be stopped immediately. The war in Ukraine is war against Mother Earth.

CLIMATEWIRE | Greenhouse gases trapped 49 percent more heat in 2021 than in 1990, as emissions continued to rise rapidly, according to NOAA.

“Our data show that global emissions continue to move in the wrong direction at a rapid pace,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad.

NOAA found that carbon dioxide, the most plentiful and long-lived gas, expanded at the most rapid rate over the last 10 years. But the most potent global warmer also broke records: methane increased more than it has since at least the early 1980s, when NOAA began its current measuring record. The methane emitted in 2021 was 15 percent greater than in the 1984-2006 period, and 162 percent greater than preindustrial levels, NOAA found.”

Record Methane Spike Boosts Heat Trapped by Greenhouse Gases. NOAA’s Annual Greenhouse Gas Index finds that greenhouse gases trapped nearly 50 percent more head last year than they did in 1990 by John Fialka, Scientific American, June 1, 2022

We have a stark choice between our own eventual extermination or a near term transformation. Such a transformation of human culture and the global economy will not come about without a simultaneous shift in collective consciousness.”

We are continuing to make this choice now and it’s for our eventual extermination.

What will it take to make the other choice, for a near term transformation? What would this shift in collective consciousness to transform human culture and the global economy be?

This shift in collective consciousness requires a response to our spiritual emergency. Returning to Indigenous ways, the idea of LANDBACK, would be part of a response. For Quakers, fortifying our Spiritual awareness, and acting on what that reveals, could be part of a response. The radical reimagining of our lives, our culture by the concepts of Mutual Aid could also be part of a response.

I was a little surprised when I wrote:

The reason I have been led to experiences with Native people and my Mutual Aid community is because the stories, the value structures I find there are closer to my values than those of White people in general in this country.

And most radical is to change, or return to how we look for and interpret our stories. To embrace spirituality in ourselves and our communities.

Although we rarely speak of it, our shared spirituality is what I have found to be the deepest connection with my Native American and Mutual Aid friends.

Where are we now?


It is a juxtaposition to see the rapidly accelerating, multiple effects of environmental devastation and chaos versus the struggles of Indigenous peoples trying to protect their pristine lands and waters. Such as the work of the Wet’suwet’en peoples in British Columbia.

I use the word pristine (in its original condition; unspoiled) when I think and write about the Wet’suwet’en because I am so moved by the beauty I see there. It makes me ill to think of the desecration of those lands and waters that would occur, is occurring there by pipeline construction.

I’ve often written about this photo I took and developed (in a darkroom) of Long’s Peak, in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. When this farm boy from Iowa moved to Indianapolis in 1970, I was horrified by the filthy air (this being before catalytic converters hid the damage). I was devastated by the thought of my beautiful mountains obscured by smog. This led me to live without a car.

Long’s Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park

To save a wilderness, or to be a writer or a cab driver or a homemaker — to live one’s life — one must reach deep into one’s heart and find what is there, then speak it plainly and without shame.

Because It Is So Beautiful: Unraveling the Mystique of the American West by Robert Reid

This video, INVASION, shows many things. Most significantly for me are the images of the beautiful lands and waters. As soon as I saw it, I was drawn to the Wet’suwet’en struggles as if by a powerful magnet. And have done what I could in support since.

Also shown are the violent, militarized invasions (multiple) by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police). And testimony at the United Nations permanent forum on Indigenous issues.

Everybody needs to stand up, not just Indigenous people. Everybody needs to stand up the political powers that be that they need to change. And quit making legislation and policies to make us look like criminals when we’re just trying to protect what is ours. It’s not just this little court house, the whole world is watching what Canada is doing. What the province of BC is doing. They haven’t done their job. They’re skirting the responsibility over to industry. I know I’m doing the right thing.

It’s inspiring to see the support world wide that we have and it’s not just our Indigenous people that are standing up. It’s people all around the world are concerned about the environment. And concerned because they know it impacts them no matter where they live.

(The United Nations) The fifth meeting of the 18th session of the permanent forum on Indigenous issues is called to order.

I am Freda Huson of the Unis’ot’en Wet’suwet’en people of Canada. I am here today to express concerns for human rights violations happening to my people. This year a pipeline company forced a court injunction on us. And if we stop them from entering our territory because they don’t have consent we face arrests.

They are trying to erase us from our own land. All these acts that continue are the acts of genocide. I am here today to make UN aware of our continuous genocide happening in Canada. And to demand that our Indigenous rights and laws are respected.

We’re wondering why our own people weren’t standing up besides us and the more and more we realize that a lot of my family that are standing up, all the females in my family. We’ve done a lot of healings in our lives, we’ve gone through the same trauma as everybody us in our reservations. That’s the reason why we’re able to stand up and stand up against what we know is wrong. So that’s what we identified, that other people aren’t able to stand up, because they’re still stuck in their trauma and oppression. And everything that comes with being oppressed and living in a system that discriminates against you.

Partial transcript from the video INVASION.

The struggles continue. This Thursday there will be an emergency Wet’suwet’en solidarity call out event.

Emergency Wet’suwet’en solidarity call out event, featuring Sleydo’
Thursday, May 26, 4pm PT / 7pm ET
Drilling underneath the sacred waters of the Wedzin Kwa could begin any day on Wet’suwet’en territory. On Thursday May 26, join us for “Sound the Alarm for Wet’suwet’en ” a live zoom meeting at 4pm PT / 7pm ET. 
With Sleydo’ Molly Wickham of Gidimt’en Checkpoint, together we’ll understand the situation on the ground and strategize together about how to #KillTheDrill. 


Building the Future We Want

I wrote about the Rally for Reproductive Justice at the Iowa Women of Achievement bridge in downtown Des Moines last Friday. The event was a case study of how I hope and pray we find our way toward the goal of Beloved community. This is urgent now as the systems we have depended on continue to collapse around us.

White Christian problem

I’m always uncomfortable talking about myself but being asked to take photos at this event represents one principle of how we can work together. White males represent/perpetuate the systems of dominance that we must get rid of. Being a white male, I work to avoid those attributes in what I do.

White people need to wait to be invited into this work. So, I was honored that one of my friends, Sikowis Nobiss, of the Great Plains Action Society asked me to take photos at the rally. It takes a long time for this trust to develop. I’ve been working with the Great Plains Action Society for five years.

Sikowis Nobiss

There were several signs at the gathering like the one below that say “end the white Christian problem and keep abortions legal”. White supremacy is at the root of systems of dominance and oppression. White Christians should work to liberate themselves from their systems of dominance and oppression. In the process, helping liberate those oppressed by those systems.

I’m going to try to explain how the principles of the Red/Green New Deal in the diagram above were represented at the Reproductive Justice event. The Green New Deal (GND) represents the idea of modeling bold initiatives to address environmental disaster on the New Deal of the 1930’s.


The Red New Deal stands for Indigenous led Green New Deal. This is represented in the diagram above as LANDBACK.

The Reproductive Justice rally was supported by the many justice organizations in Iowa listed in this graphic. My friend Sikowis Nobiss of the Great Plains Action Society was one of the main organizers (and who asked me to take photos). Other Indigenous friends included Mahmud Fitil who took video via a drone, Donnielle Wanatee, who gave prayers, and Ronnie James of Des Moines Mutual Aid who setup the Wells Fargo Kills Communities banner. Our gathering was just across the street from the Wells Fargo Arena.

NOTE: I have another blog which is about LANDBACK titled LANDBACK Friends.

It is the reclamation of everything stolen from the original Peoples.

  • Land
  • Language
  • Ceremony
  • Medicines
  • Kinship

It is a relationship with Mother Earth that is symbiotic and just, where we have reclaimed stewardship. 
It is bringing our People with us as we move towards liberation and embodied sovereignty through an organizing, political and narrative framework. 
It is a catalyst for current generation organizers and centers the voices of those who represent our future. 
It is recognizing that our struggle is interconnected with the struggles of all oppressed Peoples.
It is a future where Black reparations and Indigenous LANDBACK co-exist. Where BIPOC collective liberation is at the core. 
It is acknowledging that only when Mother Earth is well, can we, her children, be well. 
It is our belonging to the land – because – we are the land. 

LANDBACK Manifesto

Black Liberation

BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. White supremacy is the attempt of White people to dominate those who are not white, i.e. BIOPC people. Much of what I’ve been writing about regarding Indigenous peoples applies to black and other people of color. The obvious differences relate to the history of enslavement and continued injustices related to skin color.

From the LANDBACK Manifesto (above): “It is a future where Black reparations and Indigenous LANDBACK co-exist. Where BIPOC collective liberation is at the core.” This is represented by Black Liberation in the diagram above.

One of the main organizations involved in the Rally for Reproductive Justice was Des Moines Black Liberation. The concept of black liberation represents moving beyond the concept of Black Lives Matter.


Today abolition commonly refers to abolition of police and prisons. The public lynching of so many unarmed Black and other people of color appear relentlessly because of news and bystander videos. There are incredible inequities of prison populations and long sentences of BIPOC people compared to white people. Prisons are abused to keep BIPOC people off the streets.

There are numerous examples of the success of dispatching mental health personnel instead of police where appropriate.

Mutual Aid

Mutual Aid has been my focus for justice work for the past several years. While Des Moines Mutual Aid is not listed in the organizations supporting the Rally for Reproductive Justice, several of us were at the Rally. One thing they did while I was taking photos was set up this banner calling attention to missing and murdered Indigenous relatives (MMIR).

The Rally for Reproductive Justice was in solidarity with the annual day of awareness about MMIR that is observed at this time. The Wells Fargo banner calls attention to the bank’s financing fossil fuel projects. Pipelines are often intentionally built near native communities. Violence against native peoples occurs from the men in the camps at the construction sites. The Wells Fargo Arena is just across the street from where the rally was held.

The color red is associated with MMIR. Many in the crowd at the rally wore red, and the Women of Achievement bridge was lit in red for the same reason.

Bridge lit in red in support of missing and murdered Indigenous relatives

As shown in the graphic above, Mutual Aid is about getting rid of vertical hierarchies, which is fundamental for building Beloved communities. There won’t be power structures of superiority, dominance, and oppression if we commit to the framework of Mutual Aid.


For healing for Mother Earth to occur, it is essential to dramatically reduce extraction and consumption of resources. We must act in a manner that will be best for the next seven generations.

Spirituality (Religious socialism)

My friend Donnielle Wanatee offered prayers during the Rally.

Donnielle Wanatee

That briefly covers what is included in the graphic above (Red/Green New Deal).

I wanted to mention there were people at the rally to sign for those with hearing impairments.

One of the other organizations supporting the Rally was Iowa CCI (Citizens for Community Improvement) that I’ve just begun to become involved with. One of my friends is Jake Grobe, who is the Climate Justice Organizer for Iowa CCI. Jake and I often see each other at the Des Moines Mutual Aid food giveaway each Saturday morning.

Jake and Sikowis are two of the people who did a great deal of work creating a new coalition, the Buffalo Rebellion. This coalition will do much to help us build the future we want. The Buffalo Rebellion recently held an intense Climate Summit that I was blessed to attend, to build a network of climate and justice advocates.

Sikowis Nobiss and Jake Grobe

As my Mutual Aid friends and I left the Rally we said, “I’ll see you in the morning” where we’ll be at our food giveaway.

Building a coalition

I’m reflecting and praying about what happened this past weekend during the Climate Summit of the newly formed Buffalo Rebellion, a new coalition of Iowa organizations that are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice.

Buffalo Rebellion is a new coalition of Iowa organizations that are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice. The Earth Day Rally will be an afternoon of honoring Mother Earth through sharing stories and visions for climate justice and taking action together for a world that puts people and the planet before profits for a few.

Following the Earth Day Rally, Buffalo Rebellion will be holding two days of immersive training to develop 100 grassroots leaders who will build local teams to take on climate justice issues in their community and come together to create a thriving state-wide movement.

Formed in 2021, Buffalo Rebellion is comprised of seven Iowa organizations: Great Plains Action Society, DSM Black Liberation Movement, Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, Sierra Club Beyond Coal, Cedar Rapids Sunrise Movement, SEIU Local 199, and Iowa CCI.

Buffalo Rebellion

Extremely thankful for this community we built this weekend. Looking forward to fighting for the future alongside all of you.
Thank you to the organizers, and big love to the participants.
Keep an eye out for Buffalo Rebellions next move.

Photo by @karl.ajconrad
Buffalo Rebellion 4/24/2022

How do you build a coalition? You bring together organizations and people who have demonstrated they are effective at building community and organizing for change. And who are aligned in their purpose.

My experience is there are a small number of people and organizations who shoulder justice work in a city or geographical area. Which means they are acquainted with each other. A given individual often belongs to multiple organizations.

But these groups often don’t work together. Building a coalition is how to remedy that. The organizations listed above are growing a movement for climate action that centers racial and economic justice. That is our common purpose. Rapidly evolving environmental chaos is an existential threat that requires radical action now.

Centering on racial and economic justice is crucial for many reasons. Blatant environmental racism is seen over and over again by the location of hazardous infrastructure in Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) communities. Conversely, solar panels are not often seen there.

There are many aspects of economic injustice as well. Those economically disadvantaged also tend to live in areas of environmental hazards. And supply the labor for jobs such as coal, oil, and tar sands mining, while white capitalists receive (steal) the profits.

Building a coalition requires us to know and trust each other. And to learn about each other’s work. Tools that we can bring to our organizations. Or know who has expertise we can turn to for help.

This past weekend of Buffalo Rebellion meetings and action went a long way in beginning to accomplish these goals. It was important to have the action of marching to the offices of MidAmerican Energy. Demonstrating how direct actions work.

The many excellent presentations shared the tools and knowledge of experts in our coalition. The following table of presentations gives an idea of what was done.

Community Building & StorytellingCedar Rapids Sunrise
End-Stage Iowa, Indigenous Land Stewardship & the Green
(Red) New Deal
Great Plains Action Society (GPAS), Iowa Citizens Community Improvement (ICCI)
NoDAPL Reunion Panel
Fundamentals of Organizing (Starting an Issue Based Campaign
and Fundraising 101)
DSM Black Liberation, ICCI, Sierra Club Beyond Coal
Police, Prison, & Military Abolition for Climate JusticeDSM Black Liberation Movement
Lobbying: Get Your Local Green New Deal Passed into LawCedar Rapids Sunrise
Migration in Iowa and Big-AgIowa Migrant Movement for Justice
Art and ActivismSay Poetry, DSM Black Liberation Movement
Frontline Tactical Methods to Protect the Land: From Direct Actions and Resistance Camps
Landscapes: The Kinship of Climate, Wildness, and Community
Mutual Aid: Bail Funds, Court Solidarity, and Incarceration Support in Resistance MovementsGPAS, DSM Mutual Aid
Linking the Origins of Iowa’s Contemporary Environmental Problems to the Extractive Nature of White Settlement
Ending White Supremacy in Climate OrganizingCPAS, DSM Black Liberation Movement, Sierra Club Beyond Coal
Launching the Movement: Strategic Applications of Drones for Grassroots ActionsGPAS
Building Power with Public NarrativeCedar Rapids Sunrise, ICCI, DSM People’s Town Hall
Damn Lies and C02 pipelinesScience and Environmental Health Network
Deep Canvassing ICCI, DSM People’s Town Hall
Urban Farming and Community FridgesSweet Tooth Farms
Bird-Dogging 101Cedar Rapids Sunrise, ICCI, DSM Black Liberation Movement
Youth Caucus ReportSeventh Generation Youth Climate Caucus

You can see the videos of most of these presentations on the Buffalo Rebellion Facebook page.

For example, this is the presentation by my friend Ronnie James of Des Moines Mutual Aid and Great Plains Action Society.

Mutual Aid: Bail Funds, Court Solidarity, and Incarceration Support in Resistance Movements

– Ronnie James, DSM Mutual Aid & Great Plains Action Society

An introduction to the how and why of supporting frontliners that suffer arrest during Movement activities. Instruction will cover the reason for, creation of, and implementation of a Bail Fund. We will also touch on the main phases of the arrest and court process: Arrest, Pre-Trial, Trial, Post-Trial, Sentencing, and Incarceration, and some of the avenues of support the defendant will require during these phases. We will discuss the role of the Defense Committee, and how they compare and contrast with the Legal Defense Team. Finally, there will be a brief summary of how this works in Des Moines, Iowa in the present moment.

Click here to see video.

The goal of this weekend of immersive training was to develop grassroots leaders who will build local teams to take on climate justice issues in their community and come together to create a thriving state-wide movement. I think that was accomplished.

#IAClimateJustice #ClimateJustice @NoCCSIowa

@iowacci @iowammj @desmoinesblm @greatplainsactionsociety @sunrisemvmtcr
#climatecrisis #climatejustice #landback #racialjustice

Hazardous liquid carbon pipelines

There are many reasons why carbon, or CO2 pipelines, should not be built.
Some I’ve written:

My friend Mahmud Fitil maintains the Facebook group Iowa Carbon Pipeline Resistance Coalition @NoCCSIowa.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is not the answer to the climate emergency. CCS is unproven, dangerous and delays real solutions to the climate crisis such as energy conservation, regenerative agriculture and renewable energy

The Iowa Sierra Club, Science and Environmental Health Network, Iowa Food and Water Watch, and Great Plains Action Society are all a part of the Iowa Carbon Pipeline Resistance Coalition.

Iowa Carbon Pipeline Resistance Coalition

Mahmud gave an excellent presentation at the Buffalo Rebellion Climate Summit this past weekend, “Launching the Movement: Strategic Applications of Drones for Grassroots Actions” during which he discussed and showed drone videos that documented the damage from leaking pipelines, damaged oil rail cars and toxic ethanol plant waste.

The state requires the hazardous liquid pipeline permit because carbon dioxide in large concentrations can cause illness and asphyxiation.

Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register

The following article about carbon capture pipelines was published in the Des Moines Register today.

A company that wants to build a controversial carbon capture pipeline across Iowa should tell residents in its path how much danger they face in the event of a leak, the state’s consumer advocate says.

Summit Carbon Solutions should provide an analysis assessing the pipeline’s risk along with the company’s emergency response plan before regulators consider the company’s request for a hazardous liquid pipeline permit, Jennifer Easler, Iowa’s consumer advocate, wrote in a motion filed this month with the Iowa Utilities Board.

The state requires the hazardous liquid pipeline permit because carbon dioxide in large concentrations can cause illness and asphyxiation. 

“Iowa official asks Summit Carbon Solutions for more information about possible pipeline leaks, dangers” by Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register, April 26, 2022

Mahmud and Sikowis Nobiss organized a gathering at the offices of Summit Carbon Solutions in Ames. Following are some of the photos I took at that event.

I took these photos at last weekend’s Buffalo Rebellion Climate Summit.

#IAClimateJustice #ClimateJustice @NoCCSIowa

Dare we hope?

I was searching for a way to describe what WE experienced during OUR Buffalo Rebellion Climate Summit this weekend. A moment reminiscent of the times of the civil rights and anti-war movements which brought together thousands of people and created change. This weekend a coalition of people and organizations came together to rise to the challenges of rapidly evolving environmental devastation and collapse of the systems of capitalism and white supremacy.

As I wondered whether to write “what WE experienced” versus “what I experienced” I realized this was emblematic of what the Buffalo Rebellion is about. Dare WE hope? In its simplest expression, we need to change from “I” to “We” in all we do.

Those of us who have been working to protect Mother Earth are more aware than the general public of the breadth and depth of damage being done. More alarmed, more discouraged after years of work with little apparent progress.

The COVID pandemic made us more isolated and made it difficult to safely do our organizing work. Although our Des Moines Mutual Aid community never stopped distributing free food every week. We strictly enforced wearing masks and gloves and attempted to maintain social distancing by limiting the number of volunteers.

As an example of how long some of us have been working to protect our environment, fifty years ago I was led to refuse to own a car. I’m not aware of that changing other people’s lives.

In 2013 the Keystone XL pipeline struggles began to bring some people and organizations together. One group was known as the Cowboy-Indian Alliance.

What little I learned about native cultures showed peoples who lived with far more integrity than I was able to. When I first became engaged with fossil fuel and pipeline resistance in 2013, I began to hear stories of Indigenous peoples working to protect the water. The Cowboy-Indian Alliance came together to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. I was honored to be given this poster from the 2014 Harvest the Hope concert.
[See: The Cowboy and Indian Alliance.]

It was clear to me and others that nonnative folks needed not only to join with Indigenous peoples but be led by them. How to make that happen?

Indigenous Iowa and Bold Iowa organized the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March in 2018, with the intent of providing a small group of native and nonnative people the time to get to know each other, so we could begin to work on issues of common interest and concern. We walked and camped for eight days along the path of the Dakota Access pipeline from Des Moines to Fort Dodge, Iowa, ninety-four miles.
[see stories and photos from that sacred journey here: First Nation Famer Climate Unity March]

A number of us worked on various projects together since, strengthening our friendships. A number of those on that March are involved in the new coalition, the Buffalo Rebellion. That includes Sikowis Nobiss, Mahmud Fitil, Trisha Entringer, Donnielle Wanatee, Miriam Kashia, Peter Clay and me.

I plan to write a lot about the Buffalo Rebellion but wanted to begin with this introduction.

I believe the answer to the question posed by this post, Dare WE hope? is yes.

Buffalo Rebellion