Last year, the Estria Foundation proposed to bring the 10th in a series of 12 global murals about water misuse to Arizona. At the time there were heated debates going on regarding antiquated energy policies and water mismanagement in the Arizona deserts.
In order to develop their city, the early Arizona settlers dammed up the Verde River and Salt River which once sustained the huge agricultural farms of the Pima-Maricopa people in the Phoenix valley. For centuries, the ancestors of Pima, the Hohokam thrived via canals and irrigation systems they engineered and built. They established a tremendous trade hub in this valley for Indigenous people from as far as the lower Americas and Northwest coast to trade. The Hohokam farmed, fished, traded and utilized the hundreds of miles of their canal system and established a sustainable life. When white settlers during the pre-1900s dammed the rivers, it obliterated the Pima-Maricopa’s once flourishing farms and its culture.
Present day, using the very same tactics, local energy companies have acquired more water from two more tribes to make a desert previously drained back into a farming oasis. Now, these energy corporations pull coal resources from the Navajo and Hopi tribes to provide cheap electricity and their ice-aged, pristine Navajo Aquifer is used for mining and slurry activities. This electricity also lifts and pushes the Colorado River through the 336-mile Central Arizona Project canal. These activities subsidize the state’s population explosion and energy companies enrich themselves despite the known health hazards their energy policies have on the surrounding indigenous population.
In spite of being a vast desert, Maricopa County has the most golf courses per capita in the US destructively toying with two finite resources, water and coal. This backward thinking is brought to you by the owners of the Navajo Generating Station: SRP, APS, LADWP, Nevada Power, Tucson Electric, and the US Bureau of Reclamation. Their coal-fired plant poisons the Navajo and Hopi communities discharging deadly air pollution that causes asthma, respiratory diseases, emphysema and Alzheimer’s.
In collusion, these energy companies contaminate local indigenous communities using an archaic energy model and refute solar power strictly for profit. It is their greed and stream-lined propaganda that has Valley residents believing fossil-fuel-generated energy is their only alternative. However, the sun, an unlimited free energy resource goes untapped and its potential is left unacknowledged.
This mural is strategically located under the dorm windows of downtown ASU and is a key factor in transforming the perception of students and future generations. We chose to strike at these energy corporations here, in the belly of the beast, under their massive glass and steel structures that sever the Arizona sky displaying their logos of death.
This mural puts them on notice that their energy policies, water mismanagement and the subsequent health effects suffered by local tribal communities for profits, must change or come to an end.
Client: Indigenous Tribes Of Arizona
Tags: Environmental, Human Rights, Murals