In a brief conversation with activist/humanitarian/actor Patricia Arquette spoke about her experience at Standing Rock and the partnership between Protectors Alliance and GiveLove.
Patricia Arquette and Rosetta Millington-Getty founded GiveLove after the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Patricia and Rosetta wanted to help provide some measure of immediate assistance to earthquake survivors, but also saw the opportunity to address the urgent need for low-cost transitional shelters and basic sanitation to reduce child mortality and serous infectious disease. The founders formed a team of technical advisors and skilled volunteers to test simple designs for shipping container homes, and to pilot eco-toilets and environmentally sustainable sanitation systems.
Partnership between GiveLove and the Protectors Alliance
On December 14, Protectors Alliance posted the following on their official Facebook page: Protectors Alliance and GiveLove Standing Rock Compost Toilet Update – PROJECT COMPLETE!
After four weeks of planning, consulting and preproduction, and two weeks of installation onsite – there are now up to 52 compost toilets at the One Nation Camp (formerly Oceti Sakowin) and up to 10 at Rosebud Camp, at Standing Rock. They are housed in floored, walled, insulated army tent facilities that are heated with wood stoves. Camp volunteers have now been trained to manage the system throughout the winter – sustainable sanitation is now in effect at Standing Rock throughout the winter.
This project is a partnership between Protectors Alliance (www.protectorsalliance.org) (a platform I created as an alliance of festivals organizations/individuals wanting to apply village building solutions and other assistance in aid situations) and GiveLove (www.givelove.org) (Patricia Arquette’s charity focusing on sustainable sanitation globally), in conjunction with Standing Rock Tribal Leadership.
Before We Rock Standing Rock benefit took place on December 18 at the Fonda Theater, theartofla.com caught with Patricia Arquette to discuss her organization, GiveLove, and its partnership with Protectors Alliance, and their essential and humanitarian joint work at Standing Point to build compost toilets and the critical health issues that affect developing countries worldwide and how proper sanitation plays a key role.
How did you get involved in Standing Rock?
I was approached by Bobby Romano from Native Children’s Survival who had been there since the beginning. Bobby is a longtime Native American activist and ecologist that has worked around the world with indigenous people. He is an indigenous person himself and he asked us to come in and we meet with the chairman. He told us he wanted us to do this project and we met with the camp leaders. That is how we got started. Because the port-a-potties were going to be frozen solid.
GiveLove is already an organization that has already existed and you got involved in Standing Rock?
Right. So we partnered up with Protectors Alliance and they are builders. They work in the movie business and music festivals. They came out and built out the actual toilet modules. I went down and GiveLove built the actual little toilets. Protectors Alliance built the toilet tents that are basically the toilet blocks. They have multiple stalls in them.
Now we are working with Native youth leadership who we have trained on the ground. There are a lot of people and reservations that want this because they don’t have adequate sanitation on their own reservations.
So we with GiveLove.org, we go all over the world. They had just come back from Africa a few days before. They did seven schools there. A prison. We work in Haiti. We have worked in Kenya and Uganda. In India. And, now in America.
We do waterless toilet systems. Most people don’t realize more people have cellphones in the world than toilets. If everyone had a flush toilet like we do here in America, there wouldn’t be a drop of water left to drink on earth. More children die from diarrheal diseases from water-born disease than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined. The number one pollutant to water is sanitation. So if we want to address public health in the developing world, we must first deal with sanitation. It’s also part of the U.N. Global Millennial Goals that it recognized as a human right. It has declared that sanitation is one of the basic human rights.
How long were you at Standing Rock?
We were there five weeks and our team just got back.
What were your impressions of Standing Rock and did anything surprise you?
We were just working so hard really. It’s an astronomically big job. We literally carried seven tons with our own hands: sawdust and carbon material. It was a gigantic undertaking.
How did We Rock Standing Rock come about?
Seven McDonald is a great organizer and activist. She also worked with Wes Clark Jr. and the veterans when they came to Standing Rock. We have known each other for a long time.
Image: Michael Friberg Contour Getty Images