On Tuesday afternoon the Minnesota State University, Mankato Women’s Center and American Indian Affairs sponsored a virtual visit from Winona LaDuke to celebrate Earth Day. Over 30 students and staff joined LaDuke over Zoom to learn about ways to improve our homeland.
LaDuke, author of several books, is a rural development economist who has spent her life working on food and energy issues.
“I try to think that every day is Earth Day,” said LaDuke. “What I mean by that is it’s important to think about where we want to be 50 years from now. Where is the water we are drinking coming from? Or where is our food coming from? Where is the energy we are consuming coming from? How does our relationship with other countries affect how our Earth is treated? These are the questions I ask myself each day.”
The growth of gardening and the halt of unneeded merchandise helped with environmental issues and economic issues during COVID-19.
LaDuke dove deeper about her experiences with COVID and her food supply during the pandemic.
“It was a really unique situation we were in with this pandemic,” LaDuke said. “With all our merchandise being shipped in from around the world being halted, we saw our access to various amounts of goods be taken away. Many people found new ways to make ends meet. For example, I created and utilized a large garden and lived within my means.”
Another important environmental topic in today’s society is oil pipelines. LaDuke has fought against the creation of more pipelines within the U.S., especially on Indigenous people’s land. So much so that she has been charged multiple times while fighting against these pipelines in Minnesota and the Dakotas.
“I think most of you know about the proposed pipeline that they’re putting in northern Minnesota,” LaDuke said of the pipeline project by Enbridge, a Canadian multinational energy company. “No presidential declaration alone can stop the keystone pipeline, or any of these other pipelines. We have to use our voices to help keep our planet and our lands safe.”
In her closing remarks LaDuke remarked, “You have a voice to make a difference. Use your voice and make a change and exemplify those changes in your daily life. You are investing in your future generations, make it count.”