When our robotics team picked the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (‘DAPL’) for their research this year, they never imagined a solution to the standoff would come days before they presented it.
Yet the insight they bring is even more powerful. But how does an oil pipeline relate to this year’s theme, Animal Allies?
A quick thumbnail: The controversy began over a 1,170-mile underground oil pipeline crossing 4 states (N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Iowa and Illinois). It had been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but as Native American opposition gathered momentum (with activists from several tribes, including a group from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Reservation) president Obama stepped in, and the pipeline was stopped.
As for the robotics project: It is on the impact of the ‘dirty pipeline’ on animal life. They will present a case for how water and the land are sacred to the Native American people. And how it could adversely impact animal life.
The ‘problem’ may have a political solution. But their project board looks at deeper issues than that, as you could see in their brainstorming session earlier in October.