Our Hero of the Week: Bernadette Demientieff, ED of the Gwich’in Steering Committee

Bernadette Demientieff, Gwich’in Steering Committee

This week there was a momentous piece of good news for conservation — one of the largest and most powerful and influential U.S. banks, Goldman Sachs, said it will not fund projects that drill for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  This is huge — between 2016 and 2018, Goldman Sachs invested $59 billion in fossil fuels, the industry’s 12th biggest banker.  The Gwich’in Tribe has been working on changing minds about drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge since 2018 — Bernadette and other leaders met with officials from JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, UBS, and Citi to explain the risks financing oil and gas exploration there would pose.   And this week Goldman Sachs sided with the Tribe.

She also took her arguments straight into the heart of the fossil fuel industry.  In an op/ed in the Houston Chronicle last summer she wrote:

“The Arctic Refuge is not just a piece of land with oil underneath. It’s the heart of my people and our food security, our way of life, and our very survival depends on its protection. It’s time for ConocoPhillips to publicly affirm that they take the concerns of the Gwich’in Nation and the millions of Americans who stand with us seriously and that they will not drill on our sacred lands.”

Sierra Club and the Rainforest Action Network supported the Tribe’s efforts, but when it came to leading the charge, Bernadette led the way and gave voice to the rights of her people, and indigenous people everywhere.  And for that, she is our hero.

Up Next

Climate Protesters Held Marches All Over France on Sunday

It’s spring in Paris, they are still struggling with COVID, and yet thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Paris and numerous other French cities to protest climate change.  The French legislature is considering a law to impose tougher measures to combat climate change, but many believe the proposals are not sufficient and so they staged marches in Nancy, Toulouse, Rennes, Lyon, Grenoble, as seen in social media posts.

Why This Matters:  Because of the Paris Agreement, France is associated with climate change progress.

Continue Reading 424 words
California to Nestlé: Stop Draining Our Water

California to Nestlé: Stop Draining Our Water

As California’s drought conditions are worsening, Nestle is pumping millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino forest. State water officials have drafted a cease-and-desist order to force the company to stop overpumping from Strawberry Creek, which provides drinking water for about 750,000 people. 

Why This Matters: It’s not the first time other states have also tried to reign in Nestle for its water grabs.

Continue Reading 377 words
Climate Report Card: Biden’s First 100 Days

Climate Report Card: Biden’s First 100 Days

by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer In the Biden administration’s first 100 days, the climate crisis and environmental issues have been at the forefront of the administration’s agenda. As Environment America writes in their progress report, “despite the need to rebuild many federal agencies and tackle the COVID-19 crisis, the Biden administration has already taken […]

Continue Reading 364 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.