Trashpocalypse Clarification by Linda Black Elk

I want to address the article going around that accuses the Water Protectors of creating some sort of trashpocalypse.

These articles don’t even mention the fact that, back in early December, we had an amazing infrastructure in place with daily trash pick up and removal. Remember…most folks thought the camp would always be there in some capacity. As winter came in full force, the folks in camp were literally abandoned and all of that infrastructure was removed. That didn’t stop us from creating amazing NEW, SUSTAINABLE infrastructure in a short period of time. But by then, a lot of garbage had built up. So…we regrouped and decided that we would clean up little by little until spring…at which time we would sort all remaining trash for recycling, environmentally friendly burning, and disposal. And then…another blizzard came. And another….and so on… and it became apparent that the camp would probably flood. So we had to move the timeline up considerably and start digging out trash, structures, and vehicles from 16 foot snow drifts while it was -25F. (Please note the “-“.)

Let’s also not forget the fact that THOUSANDS of people left their tents and belongings with every intention of returning…until they were asked to not return (a lot of folks took that to heart and didn’t even come collect their stuff). I think a lot of these folks “donated” their items to people who were still at camp, but a lot of it just froze under the snow.

We also had some dumb people with no ears who didn’t believe us when we told them about the weather, so after the first blizzard, they were like “screw this!” and headed out, leaving all their frozen, buried crap behind. In their defense, a lot of them left on busses and in packed cars and didn’t have room for their stuff.

(No, horse poop isn’t polluting the river, lol. No, we aren’t shitting on the ground or in the river. Jeeeze you guys!)

Finally, there were a lot of people at camp who had no experience with living minimally. They were super sick of living their lives as a rapist of Mother Earth, but they had no idea how to reduce their consumption. I mean, I met a woman who thought that sustainability meant buying her Cheezits, RedBull, and Twizzlers in bulk! I’m not kidding.

But…this is a place for compassion, patience, and education. We help each other to be better people.

All things considered, we kick considerable ass and we are cleaning up as best as we can in these conditions.

-Linda Black Elk, Standing Rock