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  • Writer's pictureMadison Churchill

A Word from Orca Warrior London Fletcher

Hello there everyone. I hope you have all been staying safe and healthy during the chaos lately. I wanted to share with you a message I would have given at the rally to Breach the Snake River Dams, planned by my friends at Coexticion Film and my ohana PNW Protectors. Sadly, it was canceled due to our current circumstances which have inspired me to make some edits and share. Even now, we cannot stop fighting for the Southern Residents and the ecosystem they call home.

I come to you again today on behalf of the critically endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales of the Salish Sea, and the hundreds of thousands of people who have signed our petition to breach the lower four snake river dams, and the spokesperson of the generation who will inherit the problems stemming from the decisions we make today.

We are at an inflection point in the history of our species. The stakes of this issue are high. Nothing less than the balance of life as we know it hangs on precariously by a thread. We have heard the cries of mother mature and she is no longer negotiating for her survival.

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has illustrated the resilience of our Earth if given a chance to heal. Here in Washington, the majority of people are banding together to do what is required to end our current health crisis and similar efforts are required of us to heal the Columbia basin and our fisheries, where warm waters have allowed invasive species to spread like a virus. The Columbia River System and its tributaries are the lungs of our watershed, but we have blocked the trachea and bronchi. Our watershed is suffocating and will soon tire out if action is not taken now. We need to decommission, de-water, and remove these dams which stand as towering monuments of ethnocide and extinction.

The people in power are trying to convince us that we need these dams “For emergency situations.” We have officials and skeptics who lie and bully and cling to old technology for nostalgia’s sake, and fear of change.

Let’s speak the indisputable facts. Bonneville Power is in a financial downward spiral. We have special interests infecting our state like a virus. The BPA and old-world post-war idealists are trying to sow seeds of doubt and fear causing division between east and west, but we as Washingtonians have much more in common than what sets us apart. We no longer need to cling to the past. The honest hardworking people of eastern Washington are the backbone of our state and should not have to wonder how they will water their crops and sell their goods. There is a better way.

There isn’t one silver bullet to save the Southern Resident Killer Whales, but we do know what will get us there in the shortest amount of time. We must breach the lower four Snake River dams. The Columbia basin is crying for help as the extinction of wild salmon, steelhead and Southern Resident Killer Whales marches ever closer. We must all be steadfast in our resolve to reverse the wrongs of our past and set forth on a path that restores balance to our ecosystem. As Robert Kennedy said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

It’s time we stop spending our time and money on dead beat dams and a bit more on looking after this beautiful garden of a planet we call the earth, which is our home, and will be the home of our children, our grandchildren, and so forth. We need to look after this planet. It’s our responsibility as a species to do so. One of the many challenges is paying attention to what our Earth is telling us, and she has spoken loudly. Take care of her, or she will take care of us.

Thank you all for your tireless efforts. I hope to see you all again on the front lines soon.

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