Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Message from Sandra Steingraber: Fracking Ban Celebration January 7

Dear fellow New Yorkers,

I’ve long imagined sending you this communiqué.

On January 7, we're holding a rally in Albany to celebrate our victory banning fracking in New York. We will also have a party afterwards in a nearby hotel in walking distance from the Capitol building where we will share stories, songs, food and drinks to celebrate this momentous victory.

A week ago today, on December 17, Governor Cuomo prohibited fracking in the state of New York, citing the Department of Health’s review of the public health impacts of fracking.

That 184-page report, released on the same day, pointed to troubling signs of harm and risk to our health, water, and air — and also revealed gaps in the data that still need to be filled in. Among the multitude of fracking-related problems documented in the DOH report: increased seismic activity, soil contamination, noise pollution, and respiratory complaints among those living near drilling and fracking operations in other states.

“The potential risks are too great,” said pediatrician and Acting Commissioner of Health, Dr. Howard Zucker, “In fact, they are not even fully known.”

After six long years of investigation, deliberation, and organized grassroots power, the public health argument won the day.

Our victory celebration takes place in the capitol building in Albany on January 7, during Governor Cuomo’s annual State of the State address.

And because activists party with a purpose, we have three goals in mind for our festivities. The first is to thank our governor publicly and effusively for standing up to the oil and gas industry, so becoming the first chief executive in a shale gas state to ban fracking.

As you might expect, the fossil fuel industry is not accustomed to the word NO from any elected official, and, for his courage, Governor Cuomo is now coping with a lot of blowback. Let’s make sure he knows just how momentously right his decision is — for us, for our children, and for the whole world.

In fact, I’ll start that laudatory conversation right now: Governor Cuomo, thank you. Your historic — and heroic — decision to prohibit fracking in New York is an affirmation of science, public health, and democracy itself. You’ve set yourself apart as a political leader and earned a place in history. As for those who now disparage the peer-reviewed findings of the DOH report, they sound more and more like the tobacco industry every day. In spite of what the gas industry says, good science is on the side of saying no to fracking.

Indeed, Dr. Zucker’s conclusions (“the overall weight of the evidence … demonstrates that there are significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with HVHF, the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, and the effectiveness of some of the mitigation measures in reducing or preventing environmental impacts which could adversely affect public health”) are echoed in three other recent independent reviews of the evidence: a 103-page compilation by Concerned Health Professionals of New York; a statistical analysis by Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy; and a 540-page assessment by the environmental assessment agency of Quebec — the results of which have just prompted the Quebec Premier, Philippe Couillard, to extend the moratorium on fracking in that Canadian province indefinitely.

Our second task on January 7 is to celebrate and thank each other and recognize the extraordinary movement we have built, comprised of hundreds of grassroots groups and organizations, large and small. Let there be no mistake. Science alone did not a statewide ban make. The slingshot that brought down the gas industry Goliath was made of two elements: good data and powerful organizing.

Of and by us. Everyone who wrote a letter. Everyone who held a sign. Everyone who marched, rallied, testified, made phone calls, and circulated petitions. Everyone who broke a gas lease. Every community that passed a local ban or moratorium. And the more than 250 organizations that comprise the New Yorkers Against Fracking coalition. It all mattered.

Environmental writer Rebecca Solnit said it best: "The governor did it because he was pushed hard by activists. Look at the weather vanes, but respect the wind."

As just one example of what a mighty wind we are, cast your mind back two years. Do you remember what you were doing in December 2012? Maybe you were writing daily critiques of the draft fracking regulations that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation had just dropped on us?

Do you recall the holiday season called Thirty Days of Fracking Regs?

Over that one-month comment period — which included Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years Day — New Yorkers wrote and delivered some 204,000 informed, science-based comments to the DEC.

To do so, some of us hunkered down, cleared our desks, and virtually canceled Christmas itself.

(I wasn’t at all sure at the time, but I’ll say it now: it was so worth it.)

The third goal for our party on January 7 is to articulate the opportunities ahead for renewable energy and express our ultimate desire: a transition from dirty fossil fuels and the destructive tentacles they spread throughout our communities. In this, we are responding to a challenge issued by Governor Cuomo himself when, during his cabinet meeting of one week ago, he pointed to the economic desperation in areas of upstate New York, asking, "What can we do in these areas to generate jobs, generate wealth ... as an alternative to fracking?"

All together, I think we have some ideas to offer. Maybe even a blueprint for the future based on renewable energy and sustainable development. So, let’s convene. Let’s confer. Let’s put our heads together and begin the task of answering the governor’s good question.

As inspiration for our victory rally, and for the days ahead, here is a poem by Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet and jurist. As you read, imagine the two contiguous worlds he references as the one that we currently occupy, in which dirty, destructive fossil fuels still dominate, and the one that we are beginning to imagine and plan for, in which they do not.

“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don't go back to sleep!”

Happiest of holidays!

Unfractured, now and forever,


p.s. Where were you when you heard the news that Governor Cuomo had prohibited fracking in New York? Let’s make time on January 7 to tell our stories.  My own moment of astonishment and joy happened to be caught on film as Governor Cuomo’s announcement came just as 28 civil disobedients at Seneca Lake were being released from the Schuyler County Jail. A winery owner and a maple syrup maker — the very personification of sustainable development for upstate New York — hoisted me into the air for a bit of wild street dancing. You can laugh about it here.

p.p.s. The buses from Long Island, Brooklyn, and Manhattan to Albany have been canceled because of another important event that evening: a public hearing in Queens concerning Port Ambrose, a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility off the coast of Long Island that would threaten the ecology and promote fracking. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

What: Rally to Celebrate New York Fracking Ban and Lead the Nation in Renewable Energy!

When: Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Time: 11:30 am - 2:30 pm

Where: Concourse Hallways, outside the entrance to the Convention Center, Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York


For a Shuttle in the Albany/Capital District region contact Susan Weber at or at 518-462-3247


Reserve a Seat in Westchester/Rockland/Newburgh,
Reserve a Seat in New Paltz,

Reserve a Seat in Kingston,

Reserve a Seat in Saugerties/Catskill,

Reserve a Seat in Syracuse/Westmoreland,

Reserve a Seat in Ithaca/Caroline/Whitney Point,

Reserve a Seat in Binghamton,

Reserve a Seat in Buffalo/Rochester,

To Reserve a Seat in Cooperstown, Oneonta or Sharon Springs contact Susan Pastor at

For general RSVP, Carpooling, Comments and To CO-SPONSOR sign up here,

Co-sponsors (in formation):

New Yorkers Against Fracking
Frack Action
Food & Water Watch
Catskill Mountainkeeper
Citizen Action of New York
Sierra Club - Atlantic Chapter
Alliance for a Green Economy
Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy
United for Action
Environmental Advocates
Center for Health, Environment and Justice
Environment New York
Citizens Campaign for the Environment
New York Working Families Party
Green Party of New York
Progressive Democrats of America
Syracuse Peace Council
Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation
Park Slope Food Co-op
Occupy the Pipeline
Water Defense
New York Society for Ethical Culture
Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) - NY
Gas Free Seneca
Rochesterians Concerned About Unsafe Shale Extraction
Sanford Oquaga Area Concerned Citizens
Vestal Residents For Safe Energy
City of Binghamton Residents Against Fracking
Western NY Drilling Defense
Southern Tier Against Fracking
Otsego 2000
Concerned Citizens of Montauk
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
MoveOn Long Island
MoveOn Capital District
NYC Friends of Clearwater
Grassroots Environmental Education
Three Parks Independent Democrats
Westchester for Change
All Our Energy
Coalition to Protect Communities from Fracking's Collateral Damage
Marcellus Accountability Project
Back to Democracy
Yoga for the Earth
Cayuga Lake Watershed Network
New York Youth Against Fracking
Sierra Club Niagara
Western NY Environmental Alliance
Nurse Rise
GreenStar Co-operative Markets
Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition
Shaleshock CNY
Campaign for Renewable Energy
Damascus Citizens for Sustainability
Community Free Democrats
New York State Young Democrats
North Shore Audubon Society
South Shore Audubon Society
GDACC (Gas Drilling Awareness of Cortland County)
Environmental Justice Committee, SUNY Cortland
Nassau County Green Party
Mothers Out Front
North American Climate Conservation and Environment
Franciscan Earth Corp
Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition
Western NY Peace Center
Slow Food Huntington
Stencils Against Fracking
Jews Against Hydrofracking
Stop the Minisink Compressor Station
Campaign for Renewable Energy
People for a Healthy Environment
Sustainable Tompkins
The Pearl of Seneca Lake Bed and Breakfast
Fossil Free & Green NY
Southern Cayuga Anti-Fracking Alliance
Reach Out America
Protect Orange County
Learning Sustainability Campaign/Green Watch
The Kirkland Committee to Prohibit Hydro-fracking
Gandhi Earth Keepers International
Friends of Sustainable Sidney
Friends of Butternuts
Frack Free Genesee
Elmirans and Friends Against Fracking
Bay Ridge Peace Action
Bay Ridge Democrats
Barnard Columbia Divest for Climate Justice
Ban Fracking Now
Alchemical Nursery
MoveOn New York
MoveOn Finger Lakes
Interfaith Moral Action on Climate
Granny Peace Brigade
Residents Opposing Unsafe Shale Gas Exploration (ROUSE)
Broadway Democrats
Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club
MoveOn NYC
Physicians for Social Responsibility - New York Chapter
Sierra Club - Lower Hudson Group
Huntington - Oyster Bay Audubon
People for a Healthy Environment
We Are Seneca Lake
Baum Forum
Chefs for the Marcellus
American Sustainable Business Council
Businesses Against Fracking New York
Residents Against Fracking Tioga
Green Sanctuary, UUCB, Binghamton
Delaware Riverkeeper Network
New York State Sustainable Business Council
Brooklyn For Peace
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    Sunday, December 21, 2014

    Hydraulic Fracturing Banned in New York State December 17, 2014

    New York is banning the drilling for natural gas using hydraulic fracturing.
    Growing evidence about the risks posed by the process make it the right decision.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo always promised that he would let science determine New York's future course when it comes to fracking.
    In announcing Wednesday the state will formally ban high volume hydraulic fracturing, the controversial process of pumping water, sand and chemicals deep into the ground to release and extract natural gas, the governor delivered on that promise.
    In that, Mr. Cuomo deferred to the recommendation of his acting health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, who released a 176-page, two-year health study that found widespread fracking will likely contaminate the state's air and water and pose significant health risks to residents of the communities around the drilling sites.
    Dr. Zucker's compelling conclusion, in which he posed the question of whether he would raise his family near a drilling site, put it best: "After looking at the plethora of reports behind me ... my answer is no."
    In banning fracking, New York goes against the trend in which a growing number of states are attempting to cash in on a natural gas boom. But that very boom provided state Health Department researchers the abundant and ever-expanding foundation of data that led to their overwhelming conclusion. States where fracking has been under way are experiencing myriad problems with methane, benzene and other volatile organic compounds polluting the groundwater and air. Data also link the gas drilling process with earthquakes.
    In 2009, when New York land owners and developers were urging at least limited fracking to tap the gas-rich Marcellus shale formation, only six peer-reviewed studies on the environmental health impact of the hydraulic drilling process were available. Today, 154 such reports have been completed, examining various types of drilling operations in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Texas and elsewhere, according to Physicians, Scientists & Engineers for Health Energy, a New York-based group opposed to hydrofracking. Long-term studies also are under way, which the group believes will reveal cancer and respiratory problems for residents of the communities where there is gas drilling.
    Skeptics may say Gov. Cuomo's decision was politically easy, coming during an oil glut that has reduced demand for natural gas. But by instituting an outright ban on fracking, the Democratic governor is already taking political hits from the drilling industry and many Republicans, particularly in the financially pressed Southern Tier and Western New York. Even there, however, fracking's wisdom is disputed by many.
    Now the governor and his staff must follow through on his pledge to find alternative and safer economic development opportunities for those areas, which have been struggling for decades.
    Scientific research will continue on fracking, and surely technological improvements will, as well. There might come a time when the process is safe enough for some use in New York. But the science today is clear: that time isn't now.

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014

    Alan Chartock: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Should Close Door on Fracking

    When politicians take money for their campaign coffers, they owe something back. That’s because there is honor among, well, politicians and lobbyists. If you see tons of money going to politicians from the real estate industry, you’d be foolish not to think that the people who own hotels and other big buildings want something back for their bucks. As Festus Haggen used to say on Gunsmoke, “Don’t you see?”

    Now everyone is waiting to see whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo will allow hydro-fracking in New York State. Cuomo is brilliant at both political strategy and fund raising (about $45 million for the last campaign) but he is caught up in a huge pincer movement between those who hate the idea of potentially polluting our water and further despoiling our air and those who want to make a buck from fracking. My hero, legendary folk singer Pete Seeger, put it to Cuomo this way: “Your father was perhaps the best governor New York State ever had and if you take the money that they want to give you for going along with fracking and injuring people for generations to come, you will go down as perhaps the worst.” Those were pretty powerful words and I suspect they left Cuomo reeling.

    Hydrofracking puts Cuomo between a rock and a hard place. He doesn’t know what to do. As a result of this predicament, the governor’s top people were almost certainly told to stall. So first the commissioner in charge of environmental conservation studied the problem to death and then transferred the ball to the health commissioner who eventually resigned and went elsewhere. It’s tough to be a medical professional of first rank and have to carry a governor’s political water.

    Many people speculated that once Cuomo got through the election he would call for a modified fracking plan for New York whereby localities that voted to allow fracking would be allowed to “Drill baby drill” under strict supervision. They suspected that the Solomon-like Cuomo would attempt to cut the baby in half. Once the door was open, however, the genie would be out of the bottle and fracking would become a reality in the Empire State. But not so fast — there are some intervening political realities.

    Cuomo has lost many voters on the left wing of the Democratic Party. Having styled himself as a social progressive and a pro-business fiscal conservative, the governor is getting beaten up by the more progressive members of his party. Fracking is no exception. A recent Pew poll showed that fracking is getting more and more unpopular among Democrats. So now the rock and the hard place are even closer together. After all, Cuomo got a million fewer votes in the last election than he got the time before. Many of those lost votes were those of angry Democrats who just stayed home. Since Cuomo is much smarter than I am, he’s got to understand that by accepting the money and not taking Pete Seeger’s advice against advancing fracking, he will lose even more of his natural voters.

    The truth is that while there seems to be a good deal of evidence that fracking is dangerous, it is even more significant that we simply don’t know exactly what the process will do to our water supply. Why in the world would we take a chance on risking our water, the most important thing on earth when it comes to human survival? People simply have to know that their governor is looking out for them and not for money to run for political office. While he clearly doesn’t want or need my advice, Gov. Cuomo really should close the door on fracking. That’s when the people will know that he cares about them. Sometimes doing the right thing is more important than playing the political game.

    Sunday Freeman columnist Alan Chartock is a professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at

    Thursday, November 6, 2014

    A Message from Zephyr Teachout

    November 5, 2014
    Friend --
    Like many of you, I'm disappointed that the New York State Senate is now firmly in the hands of Republicans in this big-hearted, egalitarian, Democratic State. And like many of you, I’m disappointed that Andrew Cuomo refused to help Senate Democrats, and has shown every indication that he plans to continue implementing his big-donor agenda. We have our work cut out for us.
    And the national news that Democrats lost--well, that's a sign we need to return to our core progressive values with Elizabeth Warren-style populism if we're going to win, not a set of manufactured milquetoast messages with no real ideas behind them. People feel powerless--we should address that honestly and directly, and take on the monopolists that are rigging the system. We need a trust-busting, pro-public school, clean energy Democratic Party that is unafraid to speak the truth and refuses the trickle-down ideology. So let’s keep up the fight.
    This is the statement that we put out last night, on receiving news of the election results:
    We will fight for the best public schools in the country. We will fight for an economy grounded in the health of our small businesses. We will fight to be a welcoming state for immigrants. We will fight to ban fracking and build a clean energy future. And we will fight to restore our democracy with public elections and end the corrupt influence of wealthy interests.
    Because we don’t want to be the most unequal state in America any longer — whether Andrew Cuomo is governor or not.
    Even though Governor Cuomo and the Republicans may have control in Albany this term, we still own our dreams of a populist progressive Democratic state. And we will continue to broadcast that vision loudly. No matter who is in office, I'll keep fighting. Will you?


    Saturday, October 4, 2014


    Put on your walking shoes, grab your helmet and bike, or hop in your canoe/kayak
    On October 11th to
    Rally ‘Round Otsego’s Waters (RROW)

    As part of this year’s Global Frackdown, we are once again celebrating our Otsego waters, headwaters to the mighty Susquehanna River and life force of our environment. While we are gathering at Otsego Lake, this is a celebration of all of Otsego’s waters – Gilbert Lake, Canadarago Lake, Goodyear Lake, Summit Lake, and all the many ponds and streams and creeks that course toward the rivers. Come celebrate the health of your favorite body of water!
    Walkers will leave Lake Front Park in Cooperstown at 10:00am, walk up the east side of Otsego Lake and arrive at the West Pavilion in Glimmerglass State Park at approximately 12:30pm. Cyclists will leave from Lakefront at 11 am. Shuttles will provide transportation between the two parks throughout the walk. Participants will be able to join or leave the walk along the route and walk whatever distance they are comfortable with. Kayakers and canoeists will meet at Glimmerglass State Park at 10:00 for launching at 10:30 am. Bring life vests and appropriate safety gear and clothing appropriate for the water temperature. Boaters will paddle along the shoreline in a group around Hyde Bay and return to Glimmerglass.
     At Glimmerglass, lunch will be provided for everyone via potluck volunteers, along with live music by Heaven's Back Door. At 2:00pm, those who wish to participate in the return walk to Lake Front will leave Glimmerglass and arrive at Lake Front at approximately 4:30.

    If you want to Rally ‘Round Otsego’s Waters but don’t want to walk, bike, or paddle, we would love volunteers to drive shuttles and bring potluck dishes.  To sign up for the event as a participant or volunteer, please contact Cat Gareth, Sponsored by Otsego 2000. Other sponsors welcome!

    Wednesday, October 1, 2014

    Tipping Point: The People's Climate March September 21, 2014

    Dave Pruett                                                                                                                
    Former NASA researcher; Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, James Madison University

    Tipping Point: The People's Climate March

    Posted: 09/30/2014 8:49 am EDT             

    "If the planet dies, all causes are lost causes." -- Anonymous

    Humanity's fate hangs on a tight race between two tipping points: a scientific one and a cognitive one.

    Scientists use the term "tipping point" to refer to a runaway feedback loop that, when triggered, abruptly and irreversibly changes the behavior of a system, such as the climate. For example, when permafrost melts, it releases methane, 50 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Thus: global warming, melting permafrost, more atmospheric methane, more global warming. The worrisome cycle can easily spin out of control.

    But there's another climate tipping point: the tipping point of public awareness. If the level of climate awareness tips before climate catastrophe, we just might salvage a viable future. And if so, historians of that future will record September 21, 2014, as the day that saved planet Earth.


    I had planned to attend the People's Climate March (PCM). Our small town chartered two coaches -- bound for the Big Apple -- and packed them to capacity. Alas, a knee injury sidelined me. My wife and daughter marched. Spellbound, I watched the event live-streamed from Democracy Now!

    Organizers had anticipated 100,000 marchers; in their wildest dreams they hoped for 200,000. Early Sunday afternoon the numbers exceeded 300,000 and kept climbing. As marchers spilled in from side streets, the procession swelled and stretched, ultimately reaching four miles in length and gathering up at least 400,000. A drone captured this aerial view.

    The environmental equivalent of the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, the PCM was undoubtedly an historical watershed.
    But unlike the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1950s and 1960s, during which the media daily brought police brutality and body bags to our living-room TVs, the mainstream media has been conspicuously AWOL or unreliable on the climate. ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox all ignored the PCM or treated it as an afterthought. Even NPR downplayed the event. We can only conclude that corporate media has as a stake in the status quo, even when business as usual is stealing the future. For genuine news, it has become necessary to frequent refreshing alternatives such as Democracy Now!, which covered the PCM live for three hours, The Guardian, Nation of Change, and Common Dreams, among others.

    I'm no journalist, but for those who missed the significance of this singular moment due to the mainstream media's abdication of responsibility, permit me a few reflections on why the PCM was monumental.

    First, it was huge: eight times the size of the largest previous climate march. I've learned a little rule of thumb from local politics. For every person who shows up for a protest, 10 others wanted to be there but couldn't, and perhaps 100 others sympathize with the cause. The sheer size of the PCM implies that Americans are finally waking up. The rest of the world, it's worth noting, has long been awake on the issue of climate.

    Second, although I can't claim this as gospel truth, I suspect the PCM gathered the largest coalition of groups since D-Day, and perhaps more. There were, of course, the usual suspects, the environmental groups: (the primary organizer), Sierra Club, Green Peace, Climate Justice, the Rainforest Action Network, and so on. But these comprised just the tip of an iceberg gargantuan enough to sink the Titanic of climate denial.

    Also present were numerous unions, from the AFL-CIO, to the UAW, to the Domestic Workers Union, to the Amalgamated Transit Union. Not surprisingly, Occupy Wall Street was there also, because the 1 percent that is screwing the 99 percent economically is also screwing us climatically.

    Women were out in full force. In addition to stalwart groups like now NOW and Code Pink, there were Mom's Clean Air Force and the Raging Grannies, lobbying for climate action to secure a future for their children and grandchildren, respectively.

    All manner of medical workers were present: Physicians (and Psychologists) for Social Responsibility and the New York Professional Nurses Union, for example. Why? For many reasons, among them climate change's impact on the spread of tropical diseases and the increasing frequency of asthma and respiratory illnesses due to atmospheric pollution.

    Anti-war (including Veterans for Peace) and anti-nuke protestors were there, because addiction to fossil fuels keeps us perpetually at war, and because nuclear power plants are ticking time bombs. Renewable energy solves both problems.

    Citizens of 150 counties attended, represented by groups as diverse as South Asians for Climate Justice and the Eco-Sikhs. Marshall Islanders, for example, live on average just 6 feet above sea level. Their ambassador marched to draw attention to the devastation the island nation has already suffered from rising seas. The Survivors of Sandy marched too, for much the same reasons as Marshall Islanders.

    Indigenous groups from around the world were front and center, because they've known from time immemorial that to dishonor Mother Earth is the worst form of insanity.

    Students from hundreds of colleges marched because their futures are jeopardized by an unstable climate and continual war over oil, land, and water.

    Communities of faith, awakening to the moral and spiritual implications of climate change, were represented by tens of thousands of marchers.

    Scientists marched too, proclaiming unapologetically: "The 'Debate' Is Over."

    Two dear friends, Harvard grads both, marched with Divest Harvard, determined to end profiteering by the fossil-fuel industry, which has declared war on the Earth's life-support systems.

    In all, 1400 organizations participated, each with a unique identity, yet united in solidarity for one mega-cause: to rescue planet Earth from the stranglehold of fossil fuel. And speaking of solidarity, there were 2646 solidarity events held in 162 countries.

    Finally, the PCM, unlike mass demonstrations of the past, was truly a "People's" march. Sure, there was no shortage of celebrities, politicians, and climate gurus: environmentalist and principal organizer Bill McKibben, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse, former vice-president Al Gore. Susan Sarandon and Leonardo DiCaprio marched. So did UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, alongside world-revered primatologist Jane Goodall.

    But there were no major speeches by the organizers or the celebrated. Instead, there was a moment of silence followed by a deafening roar that coursed like a wave through the four-mile throng. Some called this a wake-up alarm, intended for those whose heads are buried in the sand, whose ears are filled with wax, or whose souls are deadened by greed and/or power.

    There was no need for speeches. The faces, costumes, placards, and signs said it all: "The Greatest Danger to Our Future is Apathy," "Stop the War on Mother Earth," "There Is No Planet B," "We Are All in the Same Boat."

    Sunday, September 14, 2014

    The Climate March, Explained

    One Week Away: The Countdown! We're really looking forward to seeing all our fracktivist friends at the People's Climate March, next Sunday, Sept. 21

    SEP mimi www legal
    PCM poster

    One Week Away: The Countdown!

    We're really looking forward to seeing all our fracktivist friends at the People's Climate March, next Sunday, Sept. 21st, and at all the amazing events leading up to it. This is a chance not only to show the world that fracking = methane = climate change, it's a chance for activists from around the country to meet each other and build our movement. There are many contingents joining the march (Labor, Faith, EJA, and more). This newsletter is aimed at making sure everyone whose focus is fracking, pipelines, LNG and fossil fuels knows where to go and what to do. Here's the countdown, working backwards from the march, day by day. Seeya soon!


    SUNDAY SEPT. 21st: March Logistics

    march route

    The fracking hub of the march will be a powerful contingent, filled with art, banners and media-perfect images: we'll be bouncing inflated methane molecules like beach balls; the huge LNG tanker from the DC march will be there; plus a 100-foot pipeline and a block-filling painted parachute! And we will have great company: we'll be marching with tar sands and mountaintop removal activists. Together we will tell the world that extreme energy extraction is SO last century.

    HOW TO GET HERE: If you haven't signed up for a bus yet, click here. If you need a place to stay the night before the march, Sane Energy Project has reserved space at a youth hostel located near the march lineup. We have just a few beds left. Email if you want to reserve a bed. For other accommodations, click here.

    WHERE TO MEET: Find us on Central Park West between 80th and 81st street. Enter at 81st street (or 77th street). Get there as close to 8am as you can manage. As the blocks fill up, police will seal off those streets. If you arrive later you may be moved to the end of the march. Because there are so many folks ahead of us, we probably won't start moving until around noon. Buses are not due in until about 11am. If you can't join our hub right at the start of the march, don't panic. We'll either catch up to each other en route, or see each other at the closing celebration in front of Javitz Center. The important thing is to tell the world about fracking and climate change!

    HOW TO PREPARE: If police seal an area you won't be able to get back in if you leave, so please bring plenty of water, sunscreen and food. Port-o-sans will be provided. If you have trouble standing please bring a folding stool or seat. We're asking volunteer musicians and performers to come keep our spirits up and get everyone dancing and singing while we wait!

    IF YOU HAVE MOBILITY ISSUES: We don't have details yet but we know there will be at least 2 points along the march where those with trouble walking can join for a short distance, or leave the march if necessary. Stay tuned or check the PCM website for details as they are released.

    solutions NY front clean

    HOW TO HELP: What's the point of this march? To get our message out to the UN, Obama, Cuomo, De Blasio, and anyone who is along the route, or recording it for media. To that end, please volunteer to hand out the variety of postcards we have created for the march. Pick up a couple hundred cards at any of the events we'll be at this week (see below), so that no matter where you end up in the march, you'll be ready!

    One of the cards we've created is a summary of The Solutions Project; how New York State can go 100% renewable by 2050. This is something we want to get out to the public in a big way. We also have a card listing 5 "no brainer" climate solutions for NYC, including choosing a wind farm over LNG (duh!) How can we make sure all New Yorkers know about this? Only with your help!

    seachange you are here kingston

    The Seachange Flotilla lands in Kingston and stops for a photo with one of our "You Are Here" map pins.

    PS: One of the more inspired events around the Climate march has been the Seachange Flotilla (aka, We All LIve Downstream). Watch this video for a taste of the intense creative power behind this effort.

    This collection of handmade PAPER canoes launched from Troy, NY two weeks ago, and landed in Inwood on Saturday! Along the way they stopped in numerous Hudson River towns, highlighting the risks from climate change and fracking, such as the Spectra AIM pipeline and numerous gas and nuclear power plants along the route. They'll be floating around the tip of Manhattan as we are all marching on Sunday.



    Saturday @ 12:30: Launch of YOU ARE HERE

    map-pin copy

    For two years, Sane has been developing this project in collaboration with dozens of upstate allies. This groundbreaking interactive map catalogs all the existing and proposed shale gas infrastructure in New York State, AND connects users to the local groups fighting it. And, to connect the development of shale gas with the political situation in NY, Zephyr Teachout will say a few opening words. At this forum, you will meet the contributors to the map and speak with affected front-line activists working against frack waste, the Seneca Salt Caverns, the Constitution Pipeline, and various downstate projects as well. We'll have iPads so you can try out the map for yourself. Part of the Climate Convergence, at The Graffiti Church, 205 E. 7th St., between Avenues B & C, Manhattan. Free (suggested donations to cover costs) To register, click here. or just show up! The Convergence will run from 8:30am until 5:30pm.


    Saturday @ 3:30pm: Meet Your Fellow Fracktivists!


    Lots of people will be coming in from out of town for the march, including folks who've traveled across the country, from upstate, Texas, DC, California and Pennsylvania. An informal networking and social gathering will take place in Tompkins Square Park, just half a block from the Climate Convergence, at the Gaia/Krishna Tree near the center of the park (the park is between 7th and 10th streets and Avenues A and B). PICK UP POSTCARDS FOR THE MARCH HERE!

    Saturday Nite LIVE: Many options!

    There's no shortage of ways to gear up for the march this last night before. The big event at Ethical Culture has been sold out for a week (PICK UP POSTCARDS FOR THE MARCH HERE!), but check out these other options (needless to say, ARRIVE EARLY to any of these stellar events):

    5-7pm: FRACK OFF: Indigenous Women Leading Media Campaigns to Defend our Climate. Activists Shelley A. Young, Kandi Mosset, Elle Maija Tailfeathers, and Ellen Gabriel discuss high-profile campaigns by indigenous groups in Canada and the U.S. that protest the oil and fracking industries. @ The New School, 66 West 12th Street, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall.

    7-9pm: Closing Plenary of the Climate Convergence features Naomi Klein, Jaqui Patterson, Desmond D'Sa and Olga Bautista, @ Saint Peter's Church, 619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street (near the Citicorp building).

    8-10pm: The Climate Crisis: Which Way Out? Join Senator Bernie Sanders, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges, Kshama Sawant and Van Jones for a discussion of strategies and tactics for the climate movement. Moderated by Brian Lehrer of WNYC. @ The Unitarian Church of All Souls, 1157 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY Corner of East 80 Street. FREE.


    friday event

    5pm: Today's Fossil Fuels and the Future of our Children's Health. Ignoring all the bad news about climate change won't make it go away; especially when it comes to what could negatively impact our most vulnerable of population, children. @ John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 W. 59th Street, near 10th Avenue. FREE but reservations strongly recommended. Sane Energy Project is a cosponsor. PICK UP POSTCARDS FOR THE MARCH HERE!


    6:30pm: Resistance Cinema presents screening: Groundswell Rising, The Human Cost of Fracking. SPECIAL GUEST: MARK LICHTY, Executive Producer. @ Community Church of New York Assembly Hall, 40 East 35 Street, between Madison and Park. FREE (donations appreciated). PICK UP POSTCARDS FOR THE MARCH HERE!


    7-9pm: Fracking Voices From the Frontlines. Speakers, including Madeline Stano, CA; Jenny Lisak, PA; Asha Canalos, NY; and Martin Guillermo Mullaly, Argentina, will share stories from their communities of resilience, resistance, and strength against extractive industries. @ MayDay / PCM Arts Space, 3rd floor, 214 Starr Street. Brooklyn Map here. L train to Jefferson Street station.



    7- 8:30pm: Climate Conversations: Why the UN's Climate Summit is Important to All of Us A discussion with Lisa DiCaprio, Yvonne O'Neal, Beth Ackerman, and Philip Orton; Moderated by Steve Knight, GreenFaith. @ Church of the Holy Trinity, 316 E 88th St, between 2nd and 1st Avenues. FREE. Sane Energy Project is a cosponsor. PICK UP POSTCARDS FOR THE MARCH HERE!



    6:30pm: Screening, The Future of Energy, NYC Premiere

    A powerful documentary that captures the movement across the United States to transition to renewable energy and what everyday people are doing to help foster that shift. It's a love story about the countless individuals and communities that are re-imagining their relationships with the planet and with each other.

    Featuring: Mark Jacobson, CA Governor Jerry Brown, Mayors Bob Dixon and R. Rex Parris who have transitioned their cities to 100% renewable energy.

    Get tickets here: @ New York Society for Ethical Culture,
    2 West 64th Street at Central Park West. Sane Energy Project is a cosponsor.



    8pm to 9:30pm: Screening: Cowspiracy
    The vegan advocates / filmmakers claim there is a conspiracy of silence by the big greens about industrial-scale animal agriculture, which they consider the biggest cause of climate change on the planet.

    As one of the forces behind Food Not Fracking, and as advocates for farmers, we sure want to see what they're on about. We know that done right, meat can be sustainably raised, in a way that even fixes carbon in the soil, and that upstate farmers are some of our best advocates against fracking. Join us to check out the controversy: @ Jivamukti Yoga Center, 841 Broadway, near 13th street, upstairs.

    Remember: Fracking = Methane = Climate Change!

    Believe it or not, this is just a SMALL SAMPLING of climate march events. You want the whole nine yards? Check here, and here and here! Have a great week, see you at the march!

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