On Saturday, Oct. 19, thousands of people joined together in an international day of action, with more than 250 events on six continents, calling for a ban on fracking.
“Fracking is a global issue with significant policy and political implications both in the U.S. and overseas,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “In January, President Obama promised to take ‘bold action’ on climate change, but his plans to accelerate drilling and fracking will only exacerbate the problem. It’s time for him to be a leader on the global stage and reject fracking as many communities around the world have already done.”
A sampling of Global Frackdown 2 events in the U.S., included:
- California: On the heels of Gov. Brown signing a weak bill on fracking, Environment California coordinated with student activists on several University of California campuses.
- New Jersey: Activists and students attended events in New Brunswick and Highland Park, two towns that have banned fracking.
- Wisconsin: Volunteers organized citizens to write hand-written letters to state legislators to stop frac-sand mining, which is threatening land, water and farms in the western part of the state.
- Colorado, New York, New Mexico and North Carolina: Volunteers urged citizens to sign petitions calling on leaders and policy makers to take action to stop fracking.
- Massachusetts: Community members attended a farmers’ market to let local farmers know about the threat of fracking to water, soil and livestock.
- Pennsylvania: PennEnvironment addressed thousands of students gathered in Pittsburgh for the Powershift conference, coordinated a march and rally, and distributed Student Frack Packs for action when they get back to campus.
- Ohio: A letter, signed by Food & Water Watch, Buckeye Forest Council, FRAC Action Columbus and more than 30 local, state and national groups, was delivered to Gov. Kasich's office calling for a ban on injection wells in the state.
"The Global Frackdown shows that the movement for a ban on fracking is truly worldwide. To frack or not to frack comes down to this simple choice: do we want another fifty years of dependency and addiction to toxic fossil fuels, or do we want to move on—worldwide—to renewable energy,” said Josh Fox, the director of Gasland and advisory board member for Americans Against Fracking.
“From every perspective; be it water and air contamination, global climate change or the health of our democracies worldwide, we need to break from the past. The Global Frackdown is one of many powerful moments where the world is saying we need to move on."
A recent poll released by the Pew Research Group finds that opposition to fracking has grown significantly across most regions and demographic groups, according to Food & Water Watch. Overall, 49 percent are opposed to increased fracking, up from 38 percent in March. Scientific studies continue to confirm the inherent dangers of fracking to the environment and public health. American people are seeing through the millions of dollars being spent on advertising by the oil and gas industry, and are increasingly opposing fracking, according to Food & Water Watch.
Polls in key states such as New York, California and Pennsylvania also show high levels of opposition to fracking. A recent poll released by Siena College finds that 45 percent of New York voters oppose the state Department of Environmental Conservation plans to move forward with fracking in the Southern Tier.
“Fracking is an environmental nightmare–from contaminated water in New Mexico to residents getting sick in Pennsylvania to tons of global warming pollution released,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney at Environment America and co-author of Fracking by the Numbers: Key Impacts of Dirty Drilling at the State and National Level. “As the truth gets out about all the damage done by this dirty drilling, more and more people are calling for a ban on fracking.”
Last week, the European Parliament voted to require energy companies to conduct environmental audits before commencing drilling and fracking, and a French court upheld a ban on fracking. Bulgaria and some Swiss and German states have also adopted a ban or a moratorium on fracking activities, and other European Union member states, such as the Czech Republic, Romania and Germany are considering a moratorium on fracking until an adequate regulatory framework has been is in place for unconventional energy projects such as shale gas, according to Food & Water Watch. To date, 383 communities in the U.S. have passed measures against fracking.
“All over the world people are rising up to say, ‘Instead of fracking for ever dirtier fuel, it's time to tap the endless energy of the wind and sun,’" said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org.
OlgaMiltsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Gwen Ranniger
In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.
1. Fragrance – Avoid It<p>One of the fastest ways to narrow down your product options is immediately eliminating any product that promotes a fragrance, or parfum. That scent of "fresh breeze" or lemon might initially smell good, but the fragrance does not last. What does last? The concoction of various undisclosed and unregulated chemicals that created that fragrance.</p><p>Many fragrances contain phthalates, which are linked to many health risks including reproductive problems and cancer.</p>
2. With Bleach? Do Without<p>Going scent-free should have narrowed down your options substantially – now, check the front of the remaining packaging. Any that include ammonia or chlorine bleach ought to go, as these substances are irritating and corrosive to your body. While bleach is commonly known as a powerful disinfectant, there are safer alternatives that you can use in your home, such as sodium borate or hydrogen peroxide.</p><p>While you're at it, check if there are any warnings on the label – "flammable," "use in ventilated area," etc. – if the product is hazardous, that's a red flag and should be avoided.</p>
3. Check the Back Label<p>Flip to the back of the remaining contenders and check out that ingredient list. Less is more, here. Opt for a shorter ingredient list with words you recognize and/or can pronounce.</p><p>You may notice many products do not have ingredient lists – while this doesn't necessarily mean they contain toxic ingredients, transparency is key. Feel free to look up a list online, or stick to products that are open about their ingredients.</p>
4. Ingredients to Avoid<p>We already mentioned that cleaners containing fragrance or parfum, and bleach or ammonia should be avoided, but there are other ingredients to look out for as well.</p><ul><li>Quaternary ammonium "quats" – lung irritants that contribute to asthma and other breathing problems. Also linger on surfaces long after they've been cleaned.</li><li>Parabens – Known hormone disruptor; can contribute to ailments such as cancer</li><li>Triclosan – triclosan and other antibacterial chemicals are registered with the EPA as pesticides. Triclosan is a known hormone disruptor and can also impact your immune system.</li><li>Formaldehyde – Causes irritation of eyes, nose, and throat; studies suggest formaldehyde exposure is linked with certain varieties of cancer. Can be found in products or become a byproduct of chemical reactions in the air.</li></ul>
Cleaning Products and Toxics: The Bottom Line<p>Do your research. There are many cleaning products available, but taking these steps will drastically reduce your options and help keep your home toxic-free. Protecting your home from bacteria and viruses is important, but make sure you do so in a way that doesn't introduce other health risks into the home.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.ehn.org/how-to-shop-for-cleaning-products-while-avoiding-toxics-2648130273.html" target="_blank">Environmental Health News</a>. </em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649054624#/" target="_self"></a></p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
JasonOndreicka / iStock / Getty Images
Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.
By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
- Climate Crisis: What We Can Learn From Indigenous Traditions ... ›
- 10 Organizations Honoring Native People on Thanksgiving ... ›
- Biden Vows to Ax Keystone XL if Elected - EcoWatch ›
Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.