Rocking & Talking for a Just Transition
"Music is a great way to inspire people to save the earth," says Sierra Club organizer Andy Bessler (above, at microphone), who works with the Club's Tribal Partnerships Program. Bessler recently teamed up with the Honor the Earth Foundation, Black Mesa Water Coalition, and others to organize two concert events featuring the Indigo Girls and Native American activist/author Winona LaDuke to benefit renewable energy in Native American communities. A May 21 show in Shiprock, New Mexico, centered on the Desert Rock power plant proposed in that community, while the next night's concert in Flagstaff, Arizona, was a benefit for Just Transition, a coalition of environmental, tribal, and labor groups (see list of coalition partners below). More than 1,000 people attended the Flagstaff show, and 250 of them signed postcards asking Southern California Edison to invest in Just Transition instead of re-opening the Mohave coal-fired power plant. Before the postcards were even mailed, the utility announced it was discontinuing its efforts to re-open Mohave. Check out a video clip of the Flagstaff show.
Pictured above, backstage in Flagstaff: (front row) Steve LaRance, Hopi artist; Indigo Girls Emily Saliers and Amy Ray; Enai Begaye, Black Mesa Water Coalition; Bessler; (back row) Winona LaDuke, Native American author/activist; Kristen Cardin, attorney with Grand Canyon Trust; Nakota LaRance, Steve's son and Hopi hoop dancer; Wahleah Johns, Black Mesa Water Coalition. Also pictured onstage with Bessler in top photo are Kim Smith of the Black Mesa Water Coalition and Kelvin Long of ECHOES (Educating Communities While Healing and Offerin Emotional Support). Photos by Dana Powell.
The Just Transition Alliance is comprised of the Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Trust, Black Mesa Water Coalition, Indigenous Environmental Network, Honor the Earth Foundation, Apollo Alliance, Native Movement, To' Nizhoni Ani and other Navajo and Hopi leaders.