Shailene Woodley: ‘My Arrest Serves a Greater Cause’
Actress Shailene Woodley is glad her recent arrest has helped shed light on the urgent need to protect natural resources.
The 24-year-old Divergent star was taken into custody by police after peacefully protesting against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Sioux tribal land in North Dakota on October 10, which happened to be Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day.
“I was in North Dakota, standing in solidarity, side-by-side with a group of over 200 water protectors, people who are fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline,” she writes in a powerful TIME essay published on Thursday. “People who carry a rainbow of colors on their skin. People who gathered together because they realize that if we don’t begin taking genuine steps to protect our precious resources – our soil, our water, our essential elements – we will not have a healthy or thriving planet to pass on to future generations.”
Woodley is concerned about the environmental impact the Dakota Access Pipeline would have, citing Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster as a reason for all Americans to pay attention to what is going on in North Dakota.
“The Dakota Access Pipeline, my friends, is not another time to ignore, mistreat and turn a blind eye to Native Americans,” she states, before calling attention to the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (AIM Pipeline), which was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in March, 2015.
The AIM Pipeline, which is scheduled to begin servicing the tri-state area within weeks, is a gas conduit that would run under the Hudson River from Rockland County to Westchester County in New York – within 100 yards of the Indian Point Energy Center nuclear power plant facilities, and Woodley thinks it could have catastrophic consequences.
“It is time to guarantee the safety of Manhattan – despite the soon-to-be-fueled gas pipeline called AIM,” she writes. ”
(For all of you in the tri-state area, this is being built under a failing nuclear plant. Fukushima only happened five years ago. This plant is just about as far from Manhattan as the distance U.S. government told Americans to keep from Fukushima to protect them from a worst-case scenario. Look it up and do something about it.)
“We have the technology for renewable energy, and it’s up to us to begin utilizing.”
On Wednesday, Woodley pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass and engaging in a riot, and the actress admits she does not fear her fate when the case goes to trial on Monday, as she believes all the headaches surrounding her arrest are worth it.
“I am not scared,” the defiant actress adds. “I am not afraid. I am grateful, and I am amazed to be standing by the sides of so many peaceful warriors. Simply feeding off the hype of a celebrity’s arrest ain’t going to save the world. But, standing together will. Please stand in solidarity with the Sioux people of Standing Rock Reservation to ensure that we still have rivers to swim in, springs to drink from and lakes to float on. Will you join us?”