Mark Ruffalo is one the movie industry’s most outspoken advocates on environmental issues. In addition to confronting Monsanto’s CEO and declaring that the biotech company is poisoning people, the activist co-founded The Solutions Project, which promotes clean and renewable energy.
After arriving in North Dakota on Tuesday to support the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s opposition to the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline, Ruffalo immediately began bringing more attention to the issue with his celebrity. Not only did he donate a pair of Navajo-made solar trailers which will help power the encampments established to protest the pipeline, he shared live feed from the Standing Rock Panel which has so far garnered almost 270,000 views.
He continues to raise awareness about the pipeline which the Standing Rock Sioux, other tribes and environmental groups say could threaten water supplies for millions, as it runs through the Missouri River. The Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners says the pipeline has numerous safeguards, but thousands disagree and are protesting its construction because the project is likely to endanger the land as well as cause harm to sacred sites and artifacts.
After 127 activists were arrested last weekend, the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline said that protestors who have camped are trespassing and that ‘‘lawless behavior will not be tolerated.’’ On Monday, the company responsible for the DAPL’s construction announced that it wants all protestors to vacate the land immediately. The statement said:
“Alternatively and in coordination with local law enforcement and county/state officials, all trespassers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and removed from the land.”
Activists have no intent of leaving, however. In fact, advocates for the environment and indigenous rights continue to pour into North Dakota. Already, 200 tribes have gathered to support the Standing Sioux Tribe. Until the 1,172-mile long pipeline is scrapped, they say, no one is budging. As The Boston Globe points out, tribal leaders maintain that they never ceded the land which was sold by a rancher to Energy Transfer Partners. They say it rightfully belongs to Native Americans under a more than century-old treaty.
Thanks to the efforts of Shailene Woodley, Mark Ruffalo, and countless others, the cause is finally beginning to receive the attention it deserves. According to Ruffalo, Leonardo DiCaprio is likely to arrive sometime this week in North Dakota, as well. The presence of these A-list celebrities will undoubtedly help draw more attention to the issue.