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Today, April 22, 2021 SAGE Development Authority commemorates Earth Day. This year’s theme, “Restore our Earth,” aligns heavily with SAGE’s core values as an Indigenous-led organization devoted to fighting the climate crisis by serving as agents of climate justice

Human activity is the leading cause of climate change. 

Because of the consistent increase in greenhouse gas emissions, 2011-2020 was the warmest decade ever recorded, with global average temperatures rising steadily. Increasing temperatures cause devastating environmental catastrophes like floods, wildfires, droughts, winter storms, and hurricanes – which affect the health and safety of every single community around the world. 

The industries that are responsible for these destructive effects on the natural environment are also responsible for devastating effects on Indigenous, black, brown, and impoverished communities, whose opportunities to live within a healthy natural environment have been systemically stripped away. This is what we call Fossil Fuel Racism

According to Greenpeace, across the U.S., 17.6 million people live within one mile of an active oil or gas well, and more than 6.1 million people live within three miles of an oil and gas refinery. Living in the vicinity of this type of industry is associated with negative health consequences like cancer, asthma, etc. in addition to potential threats to a clean water supply and decent air quality. 

And, as many friends and members of the Standing Rock community are all too familiar with, extractive activity in the United States often takes place on the ancestral lands of Indigenous peoples, making the fossil fuel industry complicit beneficiaries of the forced removal and genocide of Indigenous peoples. 

For SAGE Development Authority, climate action, in part – begins with Anpetu Wi: the utility-scale wind farm that we are building on our Native land at Standing Rock. Our renewable energy model allows the Standing Rock community to project its traditional, Indigenous cultural values by prioritizing people, land, and nature over profit; an enlightened response to the fossil fuel industry, which has proven to be harmful to our people and our planet for far too long. 

In the spirit of “Restore our Earth,” I encourage friends of Standing Rock to join me today in taking action – for a healthier, cleaner, safer, and more equitable world for our next generations. 

You may take action by joining SAGE Development Authority in building renewable energy, sharing information about climate change and climate justice with your own communities, volunteering with a climate action organization of your choice, or simply committing to making sustainable choices in your own daily life. 

When we put our heads together, we have the power to serve as our own agents of change. 

Pilamayaye (thank you), 

Joseph McNeil, Jr. 

General Manager

SAGE Development Authority

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