This Thanksgiving, our grassroots movement has a lot to be thankful for. It’s been a particularly invigorating past few weeks, with Obama’s rejection of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline plan followed by the cancellation of the DRBC hearing this past Monday, November 21st. Obama’s “NO” speaks for itself, and since the Delaware River Basin Commission tends only to hold a vote when they feel certain they can pass it, the cancellation of this hearing is a big win for us right now.
Despite this high, the DRBC is only required to give a 10-day notice of a new date for the hearing. Now it’s been cancelled twice and while it seems likely that it won’t be rescheduled in the immediate future, there’s no telling. We need to be ready to mobilize, and we’re preparing for that — the cancellation of the hearing didn’t stop the non-violent direction action training that had been scheduled for the night of the 20th from moving forward. The energy harnessed in preparation for the hearing was transfused into educating folks about non-violent direction action. On top of that, a rally was still held the following day in Trenton, NJ, where the DRBC hearing would have taken place.
While I wasn’t able to make the rally, I attended the NVDA training, led by Joshua Kahn Russel. It was inspiring and informative. Given that the hearing had been cancelled, I found the number of people who showed up at the training in NYC Sunday evening impressive and exhilarating — and indicative of the trend in the movement right now: more people are becoming aware of what’s at stake, are caring about it, and are taking active steps to do something about it. But a lot of folks are still unaware that any of this is happening.
I think the progression of this movement centers around education. To many people, the four syllables in hydrofracking still mean nothing, even in states in which hydrofracking is taking place; before we can get people to show up at rallies or hearings, we need to get them to understand and care. We need to continue holding teach-ins and hosting movie screenings (Gasland, anyone?).
We need to not live in divided existences, keeping the activist self from that of the everyday. We need to bring these issues up in conversation, teaching and sharing our opinions with friends and acquaintances on a regular basis. Even having one conversation a week will make a difference with someone who’s not aware of hydrofracking and its costs, or of the tar sands oil and its consequences (who knows, a similar plan very well may be introduced) — particularly if you can get them to start talking to people too.
I find my most effective outlet to be poetry. After I learned about hydrofracking at Power Shift this past spring (I was shocked; how could I not have heard about it before then?), I wrote this poem, finding that people were more inclined to listen to me talk about hydrofracking if I explained it in poem form. And I did the same thing with the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Are you spending Thanksgiving weekend with some family members you haven’t seen in a while? Well, talk to them about hydrofracking. Talk to them about the recent rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline plan. The Green Umbrella: New York Youth for a Just and Sustainable Future has launched an action today getting families to take two group photos: one holding up a sign thanking President Obama for blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline, the other thanking Vice President Biden for his role in helping us stop the DRBC vote. After you’ve taken the photos, e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org – we’ll be posting them up on the Green Umbrella Blog.
Want a few ideas for tangible steps you can take in the new few weeks to fight hydrofracking and move forward from the Tar Sands Action?
- As a next step for the Tar Sands Action, participate in or host a movement strategy session on November 30th. To sign-up to host one, click HERE.
- To fight fracking (in New York), attend one of the upcoming DEC hearings held around the state (one in Sullivan County is next Tuesday, November 29th), or host a dSGEIS comment writing party! (December 12th is the final comment deadline).
The Green Umbrella: NY Youth for a Just and Sustainable Future - State Focal Point