This beautiful river helps her people survive. Now it's threatened by an oil pipeline.

A leader from a First Nations people in Canada talks of the threat of an oil pipeline.

Alma Brooks is Wolastoqiyik, known as "the people of the beautiful river."

What her people call the Wolastoq but what is also known as the Saint John River runs from Maine into Canada's New Brunswick province. The Wolastoqiyik are a First Nations people with a long history in the area.

"We are the Wolastoq. The Wolastoq is us," she says. "We get our identity from there."


Photo of Alma Brooks by Robert van Waarden via this video from Ricochet.

The river could soon be threatened by spills from a proposed oil pipeline.

The Energy East pipeline, backed by the energy company TransCanada, would carry oil across Canada. The pipeline could also encroach on the traditional lands of the Wolastoqiyik.

Need a primer on where we're talking about? Here's a map of the Saint John River:

The course of the Saint John River, in dark blue. Image via Papayoung.

According to Alma, this land should still be protected by the Peace and Friendship Treaties, signed in the 1700s.

“Unlike later treaties signed in other parts of Canada, the Peace and Friendship Treaties did not involve First Nations surrendering rights to the lands and resources they had traditionally used and occupied.“
Government of Canada website

The Wolastoqiyik are protective of their land because, as Alma says in an article by Ricochet:

"We have original treaties that were signed by our ancestors. ... Nowhere in those treaties have we ever surrendered or ceded our land."

These treaties specifically protect the resources of this land to be used as a source of their livelihood. If a pipe leaks, what will become of the river?

The solution Alma proposes is to build jobs that "sustain life and not destroy."

The pipeline won't do that. As Alma says, "it's not if there is a leak. It is when there is a leak."

Hear her tell story in this video:

Keep that oil in the ground, and both the Wolastoq watershed and its people will be sustained.

Heroes
True
Natural Resources Defense Council
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular