|Activists put in a call to Senator Schumer.|
Wednesday, I arrived at the offices of Senator Chuck Schumer with a few hundred other friends, pleading for the senator who might be the majority leader of the US Senate to shut down the highly combustible, compressed natural gas pipeline making its way through the Indian Point nuclear power plant just north of New York City. My friend Nikki was there with her daughter, just born. It was her first demonstration. Kids were everywhere at the demo. Wendy and I met on our bikes on the way. Environmentalists from all over New York were there. My friend Shay, who I got arrested with in Peekskill trying to stop the pipeline, was there. He'd taken a day off work. Lots of us had.
High school kids were there. Elders were there.
Arriving at 49th and Third at 9 AM, people were carrying signs and talking.
Monica lead the group in some chants, MCing, introducing speakers.
"I have not come here alone. I bring my ancestors in my bones," we sang.
"The people gonna rise with the water. I hear the voice of my great grand daughter saying, shut that pipeline down."
Dr Frackenstein from Spectra Energy joined Monica to confess: "Its only a matter of time before that pipeline has an incident. And it all goes nuclear." He laughed a maniacal laugh and started to chant:
"Hey hey, ho ho, Indian Point is gonna blow!"
"Has got to go!" Monica chimed in. "Has got to go!"
Dr Shannon Gerhart from Physicians for Social Responsibility, explained:
"I am here as a public health doctor speaking on behalf of my patients and community. I'm here to say its time for Senators Gillibrand and Schumer to stop this high pressure pipeline. It poses a huge risk. We need to halt the expansion. If you life within 50 miles of the site you'd have to leave if there was an incident. Can you imagine 20 million people trying to evacuate
at the same time?
"You've got the facts, now you've got to act" we chanted.
Robert Borrero, of the UN, talked about the COP21 and COP22. "The message of COP21 was '1.5 to stay alive.' This year, its 'keep the oil in the soil.' We need the system to change. We are all related. We have one earth. What kind of a world are we leaving for these kids?"
"Lets see the connections," Monica followed. "All of our grievances are connected."
"Get up, get down. Leave fossil fuels in the ground."
We banned fracking in New York. But its not done yet. Finish fracking now. Finish fracking now.
The Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir sang the Climate Change Blues.
"They want to get the gas the market so they have the profits and we have the risks," another speaker declared.
Monica lead the crowd singing, "Stectra, We Will STOP YOU! STOP YOU!" to the tune of 'We Will Rock You..'
Eventually, Monica asked everyone to scream at one time:
"Schumer Stop Spectra!" "Speak up Chuck!"
Walking in a picket line, everyone chanted "This is what leadership looks like!" "Get up, Get down, keep fossil fuels in the ground." "Have you heard about AIM? That pipeline is insane!" People were dancing and singing."
One woman risking arrest mic checked the crowd.
"Senator Schumer, you can't turn a blind eye to the risks here. 20 million people live in the New York area. Its immoral to put us all at risk like this. No child should be exposed to so much risk."
Listening, I was thinking about my ten year old, who now has nightmares that the plant will explode.
"Senator Schumer, we will never give up. We will stay at your door. Do your job. Your most basic responsibility is to protect the health and safety of all New Yorkers."
We hope the senator does just that. Some 15 activists were eventually arrested at his offices, with CDs taking places at his other offices across the state.
My kid has nightmares about this. I hope this whole things does not become New York's nightmare.
Monica charging the crowd!
"SPECTRA WE WILL STOP YOU! STOP YOU!"