Gasland's Impact on the Explosive Growth of the Anti-Fracking Movement
When filmmaker Josh Fox released his Gasland documentary in 2010, anti-fracking activism consisted primarily of a small number of grassroots groups operating in states where the shale gas industry was ramping up its activities. The groups' members often had to struggle to get their neighbors and political representatives to listen to their concerns about the risks associated with this extreme form of energy extraction.
Photo courtesy of Gasland the Movie
Three years later, anti-fracking activism has grown into a full-fledged national movement. Its members are diverse, ranging from homeowners displaced by the shale gas industry's harmful activities, to farmers worried about fracking's impact on their land and animals, to nurses and doctors attending to the health of their patients.
"Josh Fox's Gasland blew the doors off what was happening, raising awareness a tremendous amount. It had a big impact on growing the movement," said Mark Schlosberg, national organizing director for Food & Water Watch, in a recent interview with EcoWatch. "I see 2013 as being a year where that growth continues. We're going to have some wins, and we're going to have some setbacks, like any movement. But we're headed in a trajectory that is really very positive."
Fox agrees with Schlosberg's prediction. During an April 3 national conference call on fracking, Fox said he has spoken with activists and news media in other nations where fracking is occurring or where significant shale gas reserves exist. Concerned citizens in these nations are looking at the strategies adopted by the U.S. anti-fracking movement to guide them as they fight the natural gas industry's practices in their own backyards.
"The industry's own studies have shown that the anti-fracking movement is starting to get traction and is starting to hold them up," said Stephen Cleghorn, an organic farmer in Pennsylvania and an outspoken opponent of fracking. "The science is on our side."
At a March 28 panel discussion on farming and fracking in Pittsburgh, Pa., Cleghorn said he is impressed with the change he has seen in the movement over the past year. Anti-fracking activists are "syncing up" with the anti-mountaintop removal and anti-Keystone XL groups, all of whom are "literally getting in the way of this activity," he said.
"Something's happening here because people know that this is connected to climate change," Cleghorn said. "But more than that, we're starting to realize that nature is bigger than us. We don't control nature like we've been doing during the Industrial Revolution anymore. Nature doesn't need us. People are starting to get that."
Schlosberg described how the issue of fracking touches many different constituencies in such a powerful way. "It impacts people's water. It impacts the air that people breathe. It impacts people's health. It impacts climate, food. Those are different elements that make this a particularly powerful issue," he said. "There is a coalescing around the concept that this is not something we should be doing."
"The grassroots have been way out in front on this from the get-go," he said. "It's a testament to grassroots organizations and community organizing that the movement has grown."
But Schlosberg also observed that larger organizations, not just the grassroots, are getting involved in slowing down or stopping fracking. For example, Americans Against Fracking, a coalition of dozens of organizations formed in late 2012, organized the April 3 national conference call during which activists from across the nation joined Fox to provide updates on their anti-fracking campaigns.
Given the growth of the movement, "it's going to be more difficult for states to allow fracking or fight against local control without engendering massive opposition," Schlosberg predicted.
Fracking also is seen as inextricably linked with the climate change movement. "When people talk about fracking, there is a growing consensus that fracked natural gas should not be part of any climate solution," he said. "That's a consensus that we were not at a year ago."
Fox's Gasland Part II will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 21.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
- Thom Yorke of Radiohead Releases Song With Greenpeace to Help ... ›
- Patti Smith, Thom Yorke, Flea and More Featured on Just Released ... ›
- Musicians and Activists Unite at 'Pathway to Paris' - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A national park in Thailand has come up with an innovative way to make sure guests clean up their own trash: mail it back to them.
- Supermarkets in Thailand and Vietnam Swap Plastic Packaging for ... ›
- Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It ... ›
- Thailand Begins the New Year With Plastic Bag Ban - EcoWatch ›
- Coronavirus Worsens Thailand's Plastic Waste Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Marium, Thailand's Beloved Baby Dugong, Is the Latest Victim of ... ›
By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
- 7 Republicans Joined Senate Democrats in Vote to Fight Climate ... ›
- Climate Change Acknowledged by Increasing Number of ... ›
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that 64 high-income nations have joined an effort to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine fairly, prioritizing the most vulnerable citizens, as Science reported. The program is called the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, and it is a joint effort led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
- Trump Denies CDC Director's 2021 Timeline for Coronavirus Vaccine ›
- CDC Tells States to Prepare for a Vaccine Before November Election ›
- Fauci Warns Pre-Pandemic Normalcy Not Likely Until Late 2021 ... ›
By Gloria Oladipo
In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.