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Want to get attention?
Take a tip from Food & Water Watch member Elizabeth Nelson and build a Frackmobile.
When Elizabeth saw the Emmy-winning Gasland on HBO, she was shocked by its revelations about the dangers of natural gas fracking. “Living in New Jersey,” she said, “I realized the jeopardy the Delaware River and all its outlying neighborhoods are in. This drilling stampede for gas using toxic chemicals mixed into water is putting the water, the air and the quality of life at risk for the people of the most densely populated state in the country.”
“My own neighborhood in Somerset, NJ, though miles from the Delaware River, is connected to it by the scenic D & R Canal which is only a few minutes from my house. The Delaware River provides drinking water via the canal to towns in my area. It is also the center of a large part of New Jersey’s history and tourism. Titusville on the Delaware is only feet away from the spot where Washington crossed the Delaware. Lambertville, a few miles up stream, hosts the Shad Festival every year celebrating the migration of the shad fish drawing thousands of visitors, who also enjoy shopping and dining in the twin town of New Hope, Pa. The river defines my home state of New Jersey probably more than the famous Jersey Shore does and I do not want to see it ruined.”
Ready to get out the word about the dangers of fracking and the need to ban it, Elizabeth started her activism by printing up t-shirts that said, “What the Frack?” After a while, Elizabeth realized she wasn’t alone. “I met people at Food & Water Watch earlier this year. I found that I had an active, passionate and enthusiastic group—right in my neighborhood. Food & Water Watch keeps me abreast of actions, hearings, lobbying, tabling and more, and they provide up-to-date fliers and petitions. It’s a perfect way for me to be involved and we’re an excellent fit.”
Then came the Frackmobile.
“I was in the midst of ordering a second round of ‘What the Frack?’ t-shirts from a local printer, when I had the idea to make my car into a mobile billboard with my 16-foot Old Town Canoe. The canoe reminds me of river boating, recreation and the Delaware. With my son and a friend, we hefted the canoe on top of my car and tied it to the roof rack. Then I wrote anti-fracking slogans on the canoe. I knew it was going to be the summer of the anti-fracking movement for me so the idea grew and I added semi-permanent decals to the sides of the car which say ‘Save the Delaware.’ I tweak the messages on the Frackmobile depending on what’s happening.”
“My motive is to raise awareness. I table for Food & Water Watch at events and I want to do more. I want to be able to spread the word constantly or at least give people something to ‘Google’ after they see the Frackmobile. It reminds me every day what’s at stake. And the Frackmobile gets attention yet it feels like effortless activism. My kids like the thumbs up we get and the car horns honking with approval while driving the Frackmobile. Plus, we make people smile.”
“My own evolution towards activism has been in stages. It started with taking ownership to do the work to protest or defend–in this case–the precious water of the Delaware River. I find that by consistently being more visible and more vocal, a connection happens with people. People feel emboldened and another spark is lit for defending our resources and our health and our state. We’re creating momentum together now. This time it’s for fracking. But there are more issues after that. By working with others and with dedicated consumer and environmental protections organizations like Food & Water Watch we’re showing how powerful we really are.”
Thank you, Elizabeth, for reminding us of the power we have and for making us smile, too.
For more information on the Delaware River Basin event, click here.
For more information to organize your own event, click here.
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