Breaking news: It was revealed this week that 350.org was targeted by a private security company during the Standing Rock resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline in 2016. The pipeline, which runs from the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota to southern Illinois, crosses beneath the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and under Lake Oahe, and is in close proximity to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
Tigerswan was the private security firm hired by the Dakota Access Pipeline’s parent company, Energy Transfer. The resistance led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was supported by a coalition of environmental and human rights organizations, with the Indigenous defenders uniting under the title of Water Protectors.
The resistance was backed by a diverse group of allies whose determination and connection to defending the sacred land and water was palpable. It went beyond just trying to stop DAPL – it was a frontier that harnessed the intersectional opposition to decades of colonial exploitation and extraction.
This is what they had to say about us.
“350 dot org’s ability to bring global attention to the dapL protest via their network of supporters and their media concerns represents a significant concern for Tigerswan and their client. 350 dot org’s ability to mobilize large groups of people is also of significant concern. They are unlikely to remove themselves from the protestors groups because their goals align perfectly with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. They have a track record of success and should only be engaged after significant preparation.”
“We need to always be very clear that the industry knows what a risk the climate movement is,” said May Boeve, the executive director of 350.org in response.
The surveillance and intimidation of environmental activists has been a concerning trend for some years now. Activists across the world, especially those in countries with shrinking democratic spaces to express opposition such as the Philippines, parts of Africa and Latin America, need to be protected.
The opposition of livelihood destroying, human rights infringing, water polluting, land robbing and carbon expelling pipelines, coal plants, mining and fracking sites is crucial work. Beyond frontline activists, the journalists, campaigners, communities, and organizations who support them make up an invaluable component of our human fight for life, dignity, and justice.
While we fight for a liveable world, the fossil fuel industry and its government allies and lobbyists have billions of dollars at their disposal to try to dampen our fire for their own short-term profits and vested interests. But they will not stop us. We will continue to stand in solidarity with protectors, communities, and defenders all over the world, and we will continue to fight for a better future.
Environmental defenders who face the most risk of abuse from authorities and private antagonists include women, farmers, and Indigenous peoples. We have zero tolerance for such abuses of power and injustice: it is the responsibility of environmental defenders to also defend the rights of those we fight alongside.
We are at a crucial juncture in time wherein to preserve a liveable world below 1.5 degrees, we must act now. We must pressure our governments, financial institutions, and international bodies to implement a just transition to a renewable energy-powered world. With solutions on hand and solidarity at our backs, we are closer than ever before to realizing the irresistible world at our fingertips.