Every day across America, we are learning more about the process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and what it means to our families and our communities. But too often these days, it seems that this information is blasting at us from million dollar ad campaigns on TV, the web and on the radio. We are presented with a rosy “snapshot” from the industry rather then the real picture from people who are living with and experiencing fracking in their own communities.
We hope you enjoy this “Blog Carnival,” curated as part of our contribution to the Global Frackdown, where we are honored to showcase stories from mothers, fathers, sons, aunts, uncles and daughters – from Ontario, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, California and points in between – who share with us how the process of hydraulic fracturing is impacting their families, our communities and our lives.
Once you hear these stories invite others to hear them as well. Don’t forget to include your extended family, friends and even your local politicians so they can learn more about the realities of fracking from the people who are directly impacted.
Fracking 101: What, Where, How and Why:
As we take you on this journey of education, discovery and understanding we wanted to begin our travels with Bill Huston, who has become not only an activist against fracking, but a detailed map maker and tracker of pipelines and compressor stations. Bill is now a “resident expert” on the topography of Pennsylvania and the surrounding states and how they are being changed forever by fracking. Bill shares with us an amazing map and “close up” of Bradford County, PA, where his mother was born, and where an incredible transformation has taken place in just the past 5 years - as well sites, pipelines and compressor stations dot the county.
Diane, at the Big Green Purse, with the assistance of Delaware River Keeper, Maya Van Rossum, helps us “deconstruct” the process of fracking, by breaking it down into “bite size pieces.” We learn more about what is involved, how it impacts a community and why we must NOT believe the ads or the “positive hype” about fracking, as in actuality, there isn’t any lasting positive benefits at all.
Lisa, from A Day in Our Shoes, who is also from Pennsylvania, shows us the pressures that many families find themselves faced with, when a drilling company “knocks on your door.” She helps us understand why it isn’t as easy, nor as “black and white” as we would want it to be, to simply and politely “close the door” and not invite them in.
Along these lines, our good friend and “Climate Mama hero” Beth Radow, a real estate and environmental lawyer from New York state, wanted to make sure we shared Sharon Wilson’s story in this Carnival, and what has become Sharon’s fulltime, passion, job and crusade against fracking in her home state of Texas. Suzanna Anderson has written a wonderful and detailed piece in the September issue of More Magazine about Sharon’s story, and the “strings attached” when you agree to lease your land for gas drilling. It also helps us understand why we can’t allow the health and environmental impacts of fracking to continue to be “swept under the rug.”
Lisa, at Retro Housewife Goes Green is a fighter and activist on many fronts in her home state of Oklahoma. In her post, Fracking and What it Really Means, she tackles some of the urban myths about fracking, including earthquakes, where the waste fluid from fracking really goes, and the big question “how much gas is really out there?”
Sandra, at Mama of Ma’at, highlights many of the known health and environmental risks we currently face from fracking. She shows us how legislation, like the ban on frackng that exists in her home state of Vermont, can serve as an important model and example for other states. But she also reminds us that a ban on fracking doesn’t do it all, it can’t keep the infrastucture that supports fracking, nor fracked gas, from coming into a state. Sandra shows us that each of us, through our personal and collective actions needs to continue to push for and promote a renewable energy future.
Climate Activist Maya van Rossum, THE Delaware River Keeper, minces “no words” in her post, Shale Gas You Can’t Make it Safe. Maya doesn’t sugar coat anything. She reminds us that: “The only truly safe path is to abandon the folly that is shale gas and fracking and instead to invest in truly protective and reliable energy options such as solar and other sustainable options.”
Lori, at Groovy Green Livin shares some great short, digestible videos about fracking that you can share with the kids in your life to help them understand what’s going on too. Lori’s post also reminds us we need to stay vigilant in our demands to ban fracking. She rightly points out that in 2011, in my home state of New Jersey our legislature passed a ban on fracking. But as of January 1, 2013 this ban expired, and the New Jersey legislature has yet to reinstate it, even though the original ban passed with strong bi-partisan support. Now, New Jersey has no ban, but industry has found new Shale deposits within our borders.
The Parent Perspective:
Sara, from the Green Moms Collective looks at fracking through the long lens of a parent. “My sense is that instead of modeling seeking solutions to problems we are finding bandaids. Rather than drilling and destroying, we should be harnessing and storing energy; exploring ways to make renewable energy sources doable,” Sara tells us. As the only Canadian voice in our carnival, Sara shares her concerns that in Canada, as we are finding in the US, the speed at which fracking is spreading and taking place before proper regulations to ensure that health and safety are considered, are very disturbing. One of her very real fears as well, is that fracking is pushing out investments as well as government and public support that might otherwise have gone towards renewable energy.
Leigh, at Green4U, shows us how, whether you live in a state that has fracking or not, the practices affect all of us, from the pipeline infrastructure to fracking waste and the dangers of using fracked gas. Leigh wears many hats, and in one of them, she is a founding member of The Mothers Project New Jersey, where she is actively fighting a compressor station near her home town which is being built in close proximity to a school, a senior center and an environmental center!
The Role of Business and Industry:
Mary, from In Women We Trust, shares her thoughts and “obsessions” about her new favorite TV Show, Continuum. In the “future” on Continuum, businesses and government are “one.” Mary points to our current reality where in some industries, like fossil fuel production and extraction, government and industry’s relationship also seems much too close. But Mary reminds us and gives us hope, as she points to the thousands of “B” corporations whose “bottom line” melds People, Planet and Profit.
Beth, from California and My Plastic Free Life, a true “warrior” and one of our heroes, shows us how deep and connected the ties are between fracking, methane production and many, many of the plastic products we buy and use everyday. Beth’s post, How Fracking is Driving the Plastics Industry reminds us that while we may be “with one hand” vocal activists against fracking, we need to also consider what the “other hand is doing” i.e. what we buy and use. Our consumption practices could ultimately be our “undoing” if we continue to create a strong and persistent market for products made from natural gas.
United we are strong:
Paige, at Spit that Out, from Pennsylvania, shows us how together as a community, we are strong and CAN change the crash course we are on with our environment. Paige lists many of the concrete steps that have been taken, through community support, to stop and slow down fracking around the world. When we juxtapose this with all the amazing accomplishments happening to promote and embed clean energy into our energy mix, the future looks brighter for us all.
At ClimateMama, in a post this past summer, we examined the grassroots efforts in the State of New Jersey (which we have been an active participant of) to put in place a ban on fracking waste. The waste from fracking is a huge, underreported “elephant in the room.” While the efforts to get a bi-partisan ban in New Jersey were successful, in the end they were thwarted by a veto by the Governor.
As you continue to educate yourself and your family on the facts about fracking, make sure to “meet” and familiarize yourself with one of our “fracking mentors” and a “Climate Mama, extraordinaire,” Angela Monti Fox, Founder of the Mothers Project, and mom of Josh Fox. Josh has been one of the driving forces in galvanizing and uniting the anti-fracking movement, through his powerful films, Gasland and Gasland 2.
One of our “Climate Papa Heroes” and someone who has taught us so much about the fracking process and all it entails, is Jim Walsh, the Eastern Regional Director of Food and Water Watch. Jim really knows his facts and understands intimately the dangers we are facing from fracking. Take a few minutes, and watch Jim in this recent exchange with lobbyists from the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity. Jim helps us see, how many, many people, and specifically those who are working to promote and advance fracking and other forms of extreme energy extraction, choose to blatantly ignore the facts, and/or just don’t want to hear about the dangers and the realities we all face. Do you think they would change their “tune” if they really listened and clearly grasped what is at stake?
Finally, we wanted to leave you with this video that shows us the “downstream” impacts of fracking, in this case compressor stations, and how they are changing peoples lives, and not for the better. Some of our dear friends and “warrior Climate Mamas and Papas” – Thomas, Asha and Pramilla– are living with a compressor station in their community of Minisink, and have been documenting their odyssey, to help others who are currently or may be in the future, going through these same issues. Our friends at The Environment TV have put together this wonderful video that helps us “see” the emissions that are coming out of the compressor near our friends homes and farms.
If Global Frackdown events on Saturday, October 19th have you wanting to learn and do more, and if you happen to be in the neighborhood on October 26th, join us in New York City at the Minisink and Black Dirt event to learn more about how fracking is impacting the food we eat, the air we breath and how our quality of life can be changed forever, even with no wells in site.
We hope that all these amazing individuals have inspired you, empowered you and helped you separate fact from fiction in the fracking debate. Our unshakable hope for our children’s future and our own is at the forefront of what drives us, at ClimateMama to fight for and demand a clean, renewable energy future. Where ever you may be in the world, find a Global Frackdown event near you. Share your experience and pictures on the Global Frackdown Facebook page.