Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cheers to the Advoctes: Fracking Banned in New York

photo by Marina Tsaplina, who notes: "thats the puppet I designed for the Environmental and Social Justice department at St. Peter's university for the wonderful Paul Bartlett and Anna Brown! Their students marched forth with it for the climate march!"

Yesterday after community organizing class, I opened my email. And my world changed.

Look who showed up for the announcement rally.
Photo and caption by Owen Crowley
"Well done", "this sign I'm going to keep." Govorner Governor Andrew Cuomo stopys by a rally in New York City celebrating the fracking ban. With Jessica RoffSharon GoldsteinKim FraczekJohn David BaldwinDonna Stein,Melissa Elstein, and many others. Tag yourselves! Thank you Sabrina Artel for being on the ball to shoot this.

Minister Erik R. McGregor posted a photo with the caption.
"Prevention is the cornerstone of Public Health."

"The Department of Health was not present at the table in the decisions of states who allowed High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF). We are lucky enough in New York that the DOH is." - Dr. Howard Zucker, M.D.

Monica channelling her inner Jane Jacobs to ask what would Jane have thought of the Spectra Pipeline in her backyard.

  For years, we’ve been fighting fracking, going to rallies, organizing environmental awareness bike tours, zaps, banner drops, actions, sending students to take part n the campaign to ban fracking.  And finally some good news.   Holy shit.  We did it.  We did it. 

Bravo to everyone who helped make this happen.

Looking at the win, the message becomes, we have to imagine a new, more sustainable future for New York, a New York which will survive beyond quarterly profit reports and short term gains.  And perhaps, people power really is bigger than the billion dollar oil and gas  industry. And make no mistake, they wanted this.  As New York goes, so goes much of the nation.  So this is a huge win.

So many people fought so long on this.  Monica and Laura Newman first organized a benefit to fight this back in 2009.   Some of folk singer Pete Seeger’s last campaigns and public appearances took place over fracking. He reminded us, sometimes its better to sing about an issue than scream about it.  You can get more done with harmony than shrill tones. 

Pete seeger leading the crowd in this land is your land at the state of the state!!!!!!

 Thank you everyone involved for inviting us to take part in the chorus of social change for a better place to live right now and tomorrow. 

The messages from Monica and Sarah Alexander and all the other advocates say it all:

14 hrs · 
Oh my goodness! We banned fracking in NEW YORK state!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the people who have been in the trenches to make it happen! Now if we could do something about those pesky pipelines, etc.... I started fighting against fracking seven years ago when Josh Fox showed me early clips of Gasland of people being poisoned on their own land. I learned from Theo Colborn, who recently passed away, about endocrine disruptors and it just got deeper and deeper as I fell into the hole of sorrowful knowledge. I thought again and again of my father who died of cancer from invisible chemicals his company knowingly exposed him to, ripped a hole through my family. A drop in the bucket for these corporations. No other issue has pulled me in so deeply and personally, consumed me like this has. The outright corruption and lies of the fossil fuel companies and their ability to overlook the pain they wrought upon so many innocent lives. For profit. All for the holy dollar. As if they own our water, land, air and bodies.
Well, they don't.
We're taking back our land.
We're taking back our bodies.
We still have a long fight ahead of us but this victory will strengthen us. If we can win this, we can win so much more.
Thank you, brave warriors. I love you. I am so grateful.

·        Benjamin Heim Shepard i love you all!!!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!! i love you all so much for all your loving fighting for the righteous fight. its been a long fucking fight, with zillions of bike rides, actions, zaps and banner hangs. thank you all for all you do! we won!!!!!
12 hrs · Like · 2

Marina Tsaplina I learned a lot from this journey. thank you everyone so much for acting immediately while holding the long view, and teaching me. I remember the first time I saw a map of all the pipelines that are crisscrossing our country underneath the soil. I had no idea. It opened my eyes.
I learned a lot listening to the speech given today too, by Dr. Mark Zucker and Governor Cuomo. Many questions and much work to do. But tonight, we celebrate. thank you everyone so much.

16 hrs · Edited · 
 — with Morgan Jenness and 28 others.

My friend Laura Newman wrote:


I'm jumping up and down, singing "HALLELUJAH!!" because.... 
              Fracking was banned in New York State today!!   
5 years ago, I started working with Josh Fox on GasLand.  Our primary goal being to use the film to help ban fracking in NY and protect our drinking water. The journey took us and thousands of activists so much further than we ever imagined, realizing that Fracking is a systemic problem that poisons countless families around the world.  

I still get chills watching the "water on fire" footage I shot in Colorado:

Sarah Alexander wrote:

Dear Benjamin,

Huge victory in New York! It's official: The state of New York banned fracking!

This victory is because of the years of education, mobilization and advocacy work to build the political power for holding Governor Cuomo accountable to the people, not the Oil and Gas industry. New Yorkers Against Fracking, a coalition founded by Food & Water Watch, and the strong network of allies and grassroots activists are directly responsible for this victory. But our work is not done — we need to ban fracking everywhere.

Maryland could make a decision on fracking soon, so now we're calling on Governor O'Malley to follow New York's lead and ban fracking!

After activists in New York demanded that the health effects of fracking be studied, a two year investigation by the state's own commission confirmed what the movement has been saying all along, that fracking cannot be done safely.

Acting Commissioner of Health for New York State Howard Zucker even said he would not let his family live in an area that has fracking.

Food & Water Watch was the first national group to call for a ban on fracking in the U.S., and this is proof that when you fight for what you want, you can win. Thank you for everything you have done to contribute to this victory. We will take this victory and the example that New York has set to the rest of the country to make sure that families in every state are protected from fracking.

Sign the petition to tell Governor O'Malley to follow New York's lead and protect Maryland families from fracking!


Sarah Alexander
Deputy Organizing Director
Food & Water Watch

Jessica Rechtschaffer
 posted a note about the future. 

Yaaay! All that work paid off! Time now to fight the pipelines, compressor stations and frack waste storage (like Seneca lake)

Digging through my files, i found a post for a ride we lead two years ago.  We were going to ride from the West village to the East, up and down the West side, bring word about the dangers of fracking.  Keegan and Monica lead the organizing.  Over the years we performed about fracking, lead naked bikes to Cuomo's office about it, and we danced our way to victory. The energy of the announcement for this fall 2012 conveys so much of the optimism of the organizing, a moment we build on through time: 
Anti-Frack dance ride to Circus Amok performance at 4 PM. We'll dance while we alert the West Village of the current construction of the Spectra Energy's fracked gas pipeline routed right under the West Side Highway. As the Village Voice declares in the cover story this week, "America's hydraulic fracturinggold rush portends the greatest environmental disaster of a generation".
This is how we do it at Times Up: when someone tries to frack our drinking water and build a pipeline that will destroy public space and potentially explode, killing thousands, we put our bodies on the line, not with anger or vengeance, but with peace, love, and dancing. We win over the public and people working for the corporations trying to harm us with our smiling faces and swaying hips. Then we lead them away from the dig site in a conga line and take them to a party that will change their lives and open their minds.

Please join us for the Show!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you organizers for showing us the way. 

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