(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) — In this interview, famed celebrity actress and activist Daryl Hannah was interviewed alongside renowned Native American activist, former Green Party vice presidential candidate and economist Winona LaDuke by EnviroNews USA Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry.
The dynamic duo attended the Cowboy and Indian Alliance “Reject and Protect” protest in Washington, D.C. with a crew of high profile activists that included Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician Neil Young and HBO’s Josh Fox, writer and director of “GasLand.” The event was geared to pressure President Barack Obama to shoot down the proposed completion of the fourth and final leg of the hotly contested Keystone XL Pipeline. The transcript is as follows:
Emerson Urry: We’re here on Environews with the amazing Daryl Hannah and also Winona LaDuke. Thank you guys for joining us.
Daryl Hannah: Thank you for being here as well.
Winona LaDuke: Aaniin (Greetings – Ojibwe)
Urry: So Daryl, you’ve been arrested many times. What is it that keeps motivating you to come out to these events putting your freedom on the line? What is it that drives you?
Hannah: I don’t want to have to come out and get arrested or have to keep coming out about this. We want this pipeline to be shut down; we don’t want it to be delayed. We don’t want this export pipeline to be a conduit to further expansion of the tar sands. We don’t want it going through lands where it can contaminate and desecrate the soil and the uncontaminated water. We don’t need this pipeline. We can produce energy in ways that are clean, that are safe, and we need to start moving in that direction with a concerted effort, and we are coming back again and again, and now here we are in solidarity with a Cowboy and Indian Alliance with people coming together from all walks of life saying that we are drawing a line in the sand; this is it; we need this pipeline to be rejected once and for all.
Urry: And Winona, we were just discussing how we’re essentially swimming in a sea of never-ending environmental calamity at this point in time. What is it that makes this particular issue so important?
LaDuke: Well, we got to an era of extreme extraction. We all pretty much slid through this fossil fuel era, and now we’ve kind of run out of stuff that is easy to get, so now we’re in this place where we’re blowing the top of mountain tops, like 500 of them. We’re drilling 20,000 feet under the ocean. We’re fracking every place we can possibly think about fracking, and we’re peeling back an area the size of Florida up in a pristine area of the Athabascan River Basin. That’s extreme, and we’re doing that because we’re addicted, and the reality is that addicts need to deal with their addiction, and addicts need to find a way out of their addiction because this is not good for our Mother Earth, and it’s not good for any of us over the long haul. Being an addict doesn’t help you.
Urry: Now speaking of this swath of pristine wilderness that they’ve taken out that now resembles, what I say, the likes of Mordor from Middle Earth up in Canada…
LaDuke: They call it “Mordor”. Yeah.
Urry: Right, we’re looking at a situation in Utah with one to three trillion barrels of tar sand and shale oil. The first commercial strip mine has been approved. They’ve taken out a few acres out there, and we’re looking potentially at our own Athabasca here in the lower 48 states. Are you guys engaged on this issue? Are you going to be engaged more in the future? And if so, what’s the plan there?
Hannah: Yeah, absolutely. All of these extreme extraction processes that Winona was just mentioning need to come to an end. This why we are talking about moving beyond the fossil fuel age, you know like, really creating a concerted effort to produce energy and food in a way that is not destructive to us and to all life. I mean we already have those tools at our disposal, we just aren’t employing them.
Urry: One question I wanted to ask you today is about, we see it as a related subject although it may seem unrelated, which is the Fukushima crisis in Japan. It’s spewing plutonium and other deadly isotopes into the ocean on a daily basis. Why are there not more stars and celebrities talking about this, more prominent personalities? What can be done to mobilize more forces around that issue?
Hannah: Yeah, I mean, it’s funny how quite often nuclear power is represented as a clean form of energy, but it’s also a fossil fuel and unfortunately, has this horrible byproduct of this radioactive waste, and of course, the radiation is now spilling into the sea, that’s going to affect our fish supplies and all the creatures in the oceans, which are the foundation of life you know the base of the food chain, so once again, you know, it’s just not wise practices, you know. It sounded good at one point, but now we know better, and now it’s time to move to a different paradigm.
Urry: Your thoughts on that?
LaDuke: Yeah, I mean, I think we’re calling on people of conscience to say something. This happens to be the place we all live, and you know, if you think you can live in a bubble and you can have either ecological amnesia or historical amnesia and pretend that these things aren’t happening, then you’re wrong. You know we’re all going to be having to drink this water. We all drink this water. It’s the only place we have. You know, we look at the choices that are out there that are ahead of us. The fact is that this system is so inefficient – 57 percent of the energy is wasted between point of origin and point of consumption. We ship our food all around the world, and 25 percent of our fossil fuels are used in our food industry. Relocalize your food; relocalize your energy; get efficient and transition. Let’s do this gracefully ‘cause we have the ability, we have the technology to do it. What we needed to do is be above the process of doing it. Instead of spending $7 billion on a pipeline to nowhere for some corporations, we need to spend $7 billion on infrastructure in this country – water, power, electricity, things that are going to make us healthy over the long term, not profits for a few.
Hannah: And self-sufficient as well.
LaDuke: And self-sufficient, yeah.
Urry: The amazing and committed Winona Laduke and Daryl Hannah, thank you so much for being on the show with us today.
Hannah: Thank you.
LaDuke: Thank you. Thanks for having us.