I was shocked to learn that last week the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) gave Sen. Bernie Sanders a score of 6 percent in their 2016 National Environmental Scorecard. LCV claims that Sen. Sanders received such a low score because he missed votes while he was running his historic presidential campaign. But there may be more to the story than we're being told.
Those of you who have seen Gasland I and II know that fracking is very personal for me. One of the reasons I was a proud surrogate of Bernie's is because he was the only candidate to call for a national ban on fracking. So when I see him being treated this way by an organization, whose board of directors is known to support and promote fracking, it's also personal.
The bottom line is LCV's scorecard system is flawed and fails to evaluate lawmakers on their full body of work. That's why, according to their scorecard, pro-fracking senators like Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Corey Gardner (R-CO) actually score higher than Bernie. That's just plain ridiculous.
LOVE THIS! @BernieSanders & @BillNye Defend #Climate Science, Explain How #Renewables Can Power America https://t.co/le5Ru8WJHC @mzjacobson— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1488380391.0
It's no secret that LCV, who endorsed Sec. Clinton during last year's primary, have contempt for Bernie. I experienced this firsthand while serving on the Democrat's platform committee fighting for a national ban on fracking to be included as part of the party platform. The pushback I received from LCV Chairwoman Carol Browner, and many others from the Clinton camp, was astonishing. Not to mention the fact that LCV even endorsed candidates known to support the fracking industry and take their money—and 2016 was not the first time. This is antithetical to the organization's mission statement, which includes a commitment to "electing pro-environmental candidates who will champion priority issues." There is nothing pro-environment about fracking, and to say otherwise is nothing short of pronouncing alternative facts.
Bernie had the most ambitious climate platform in presidential history and he has continued his leadership since the campaign—standing up for Native American rights and against the Dakota Access Pipeline, standing up for environmental justice and standing up against President Trump's agenda, which includes rolling back as many environmental regulations as possible and letting fracking run rampant throughout our communities.
Trump Gives Pen to Dow Chemical CEO After Signing Executive Order to Eliminate Regulations https://t.co/xtG9rYLokw @BusinessGreen @CSRwire— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1487978703.0
At a time when we all have to come together, we should be standing with proven climate and environmental champions, not throwing them under the bus to score cheap points with the political establishment.
Please join me in telling the LCV to start acting like true environmental leaders and adjust Bernie's score to account for his historic presidential campaign that consistently elevated climate change and environmental justice as national issues. LCV should also make a commitment to the people and its members that they will no longer support pro-fracking candidates and reflect accurate scores for lawmakers who promote or otherwise support this climate-altering practice.
Police violently cracked down on a peaceful protest led by the Standing Rock Sioux against the Dakota Access Pipeline Wednesday in Cannonball, North Dakota, firing mace, pepper spray and rubber bullets at point-blank range at "water protectors" standing and praying harmlessly in the water.
#DakotaAccessPipeline Protesters Pepper Sprayed in Latest Standoff https://t.co/mQEwSrytcv @UR_Ninja @IENearth @MarkRuffalo @LeoDiCaprio— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1478190091.0
There were many eyewitnesses to these events, including myself and Erin Schrode, a 25-year old journalist who recently became the youngest person to run for Congress in California. Erin was shot yesterday by police at point-blank range with rubber bullets.
Here's my video footage from yesterday:
We witnessed a very brutal police repression of a very peaceful protest. A line of about 300 peaceful water protectors standing in river water up to their waists, were confronted by about 100 police with shotguns, riot gear, mace and pepper spray. I have never seen anything like it. It was like witnessing Gandhi's Salt March, then suddenly I am watching people being maced, and I hear a pop and see that they shot Erin with a rubber bullet. How is it possible that from 10 feet away, they are shooting at peaceful protesters, journalists, bystanders, medics?
Erin posted a statement about her experience on Facebook:
We're told that people were dragged from their sweat lodges and prayer circles, their peace pipes broken, thrown into chain link fence enclosures like dog kennels, and numbers put on their arms. It's dehumanizing and unconstitutional. You cannot have a legitimate government that defends an oil company on treaty land against its own people and shoots at them with rubber bullets and maces them in the face, when the people are simply saying, we are here to pray, we are here to be in our own watershed.
This is an emergency situation. Not only do we need more people to come here, but we also need our government to step up. President Obama said, wait two to three more weeks and then they'll make a decision about moving the pipeline route. That's insane. People are being hurt today, civil liberties are getting trampled today, and the kids and elders who are getting arrested are being given harsh felony sentences, and could get locked up for a decade. The president needs to act now.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
Many of you may have read my post on EcoWatch this morning, and already know that Deia Schlosberg, the producer of my new climate change documentary, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change, was arrested Tuesday in Walhalla, North Dakota, for filming a protest against a pipeline bringing Canadian tar sands oil into the U.S.
5 #climate activists shut down 5 tar sands pipelines https://t.co/QpMYu1G91G via @EcoWatch #globalwarming #NoDAPL… https://t.co/xqLTcF1Dl5— climatehawk1 (@climatehawk1)1476298860.0
But, what you probably don't know is that she was escorted to the courthouse this afternoon and was charged with Class A and C felony charges that carry 45 years maximum sentences combined. The charges include, two Class A felony charges and one Class C felony charge, and conspiracy to theft of property, conspiracy to theft of services and conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service.
I am outraged and need your help. Please watch my Facebook video below, read the letter I'm asking you to sign and then click here to sign it. Thank you!
Here's my Facebook live video from just one hour ago:
Here's the letter I'm spreading around in hopes to get more people to sign on:
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I regret to inform you that documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg, producer of How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change was arrested while filming a protest action in North Dakota. She was held for 48 hours in Pembina County Jail without access to her attorney.
This should send a chill down the spine of every documentary filmmaker and journalist. In my view, the North Dakota police are in violation of the First Amendment, charging a documentary filmmaker with conspiracy rather than viewing her as a reporter/journalist exercising her First Amendment right is unfair, unjust and illegal. We need a show of support right now for Deia's immense courage and for the First Amendment.
Now here is the really bad news and this is why we need you to act right now. This afternoon she was escorted to the courthouse where she was charged with Class A and C felony charges that carry 45 years maximum sentences combined. She has been charged with: two Class A felony charges and one Class C felony charge, and conspiracy to theft of property, conspiracy to theft of services and conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service.
These charges are a threat to our freedom of expression on the most basic level and especially to documentary filmmaking. If we cannot film events as they're happening, especially protest events or events that the establishment and the police might consider crime, we will never work or live in the same way again.
How many times have you been in a situation where people were being arrested and your camera was the only witness to the event that could truly portray what was happening?
Imagine now that simply by filming the actions of others you could face felony charges with maximum sentences of 45 years. That's why we have a First Amendment. The Constitution protects the freedom of the press and our right to document events.
We need an outcry from all documentary filmmakers, journalists and artists immediately.
I'm asking you to sign onto a very simple letter that states this:
Dear members of the media, governor of North Dakota Jack Dalrymple, U.S. Attorney General Chris Myers and President Obama:
Deia Schlosberg was exercising her First Amendment right as a journalist. The state of North Dakota's criminal complaint filed against her on Oct. 13 should be dropped immediately. Journalism, especially documentary filmmaking, is not a crime, it's a responsibility. The freedom of the press is a fundamental right in our free society. The charges filed against her are an injustice that must be dropped immediately.
Here's who has signed on to the letter so far:
- Josh Fox, Oscar Nominated director, documentarian and filmmaker
- Daryl Hannah, actress/activist
- Neil Young, musician
- Frances Fisher, Activist, Treasurer - EMA, Actress
- LEE CAMP, Host, Redacted Tonight
- Christopher Ryan, writer
- Bill McKibben, Writer, Co-Founder 350.org
- Mark Ruffalo, Actor, Director, Activist
- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
- David Braun, Director, Writer, Producer
- Alex Ebert (AKA Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) golden globe winner
- Steven Tabakin, Peabody Award-winning film producer
- Chloe Maxmin, Founder First Here, Then Everywhere
- Alexis Krauss, musician
- Jon Bowermaster, author, filmmaker, journalist
- Alexander Zaitchik, author/journalist
- Francesca Fiorentini, Journalist
- Paul Bassis, Producer
- Tim DeChristopher, Founder of Climate Disobedience The Action Center for Education & Community Development, Inc.
- Nathan Truesdell Documentary Filmmaker
- Bethany Yarrow, singer/activist
- Chris Paine, director "who killed the electric car"
- Vallejo Gantner, curator, arts executive
- Jane Kleeb, Our Revolution Board Member, Nebraska Democratic Party Chair-Elect
- Tanya Rivero Warren, journalist
- Maggie Surovell, Professor of voice and speech
- Seven McDonald Award Winning Columnist (LA Weekly, Harper's Bazaar, Nylon)
- Henry Lai, director of product design, Echo360
- Councilman Robert Eklund, Town of New Lisbon NY
- Julia Pacetti President of JMP Verdant Communications
- Deborah Parker, Tulalip Tribal Citizen, Board Member, Our Revolution
- Greg King, Editor, Filmmaker
- Alex Tyson, Filmmaker
- Alison Klayman, Sundance-winning, Emmy-nominated documentarian and filmmaker
- Stefanie Spear, Founder/CEO EcoWatch
Deia Schlosberg, the producer of my new climate change documentary, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change, was arrested Tuesday in Walhalla, North Dakota, for filming a protest action against a pipeline bringing Canadian tar sands oil into the U.S.
5 #climate activists shut down 5 tar sands pipelines https://t.co/QpMYu1G91G via @EcoWatch #globalwarming #NoDAPL… https://t.co/xqLTcF1Dl5— climatehawk1 (@climatehawk1)1476298860.0
The action was conducted by Climate Direct Action, but Deia was not part of the group and did not participate in the action, only filmed it. Her film footage was confiscated and she is currently being held in jail.
According to Reuters:
A spokeswoman for the Pembina County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Schlosberg was being held at the jail but declined to release any further information, referring calls from a Reuters reporter to State's Attorney Ryan Bialas. Bialas could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Deia Schlosberg accepting the award in the Documentary category for "Backyard" at the 35th College Television Awards in 2014.Emmys
Here's my Facebook live video from Tuesday after I learned about Deia's arrest:
Arrest of journalists, filmmakers and others witnessing and reporting on citizen protests against fossil fuel infrastructure amid climate change is part of a worrisome, growing pattern. Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now, was arrested last month for covering Native American-led protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The actress Shailene Woodley was arrested and jailed this week while leaving a protest at a construction site for the Dakota Access Pipeline. She was singled out and was told by police that she was arrested because she was well known and has 40,000 people watching her Facebook page.
[email protected] + 26 Others Arrested While Peacefully Protesting #DakotaAccessPipeline https://t.co/wX0CGS02QX @MarkRuffalo @IENearth @350— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1476196054.0
Journalism is not a crime, it is a responsibility. The actions of the North Dakota police force are not just a violation of the climate, but a violation of the constitution.
Producer of @LETGOANDLOVEdoc Deia Schlosberg @deiafilm still in jail after unjust arrest at #ShutItDown protests. Free her and her footage!— Josh Fox (@Josh Fox)1476277661.0
Tonight my new film How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change debuts on HBO at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
How to Let Go of the World is unlike any other documentary you've ever seen on climate change. Traveling to 12 countries on six continents, the film acknowledges that it may be too late to stop some of the worst consequences and asks, what is it that climate change can't destroy? What is so deep within us that no calamity can take it away?
So what should you do? Watch the film tonight with your friends. If you're like me and don't have a TV, you can get a free trial of HBO NOW and stream the film online. I'll be hosting a live video chat after the film to talk about what we need to do next but here's a few idea to get you started.
1. Leave your house. You know you're on the right track when you've left your house. Climate change is too far along for you to simply click on anything or sign a petition. I need you to go out and find your local climate action group, join it and get involved. Join a protest, join a sit in, take action, plan a march, work to develop renewable energy in your community but above all leave your house. Turn off the computer right now and match outside. What I mean is join the movement.
July 24 get out of your house and join the March For a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia outside of the DNC.
2. Work with other people. Climate action is a team sport. Take the focus off of yourself and on to your community. Don't try to save the world alone. You will make the best friends you have ever had while doing this work, this is the time to meet the people you will fight along side of for the rest of your life.
Host a Let Go and Love watch party. The film is available all summer on HBO NOW.
3. See the intersectionality and fight for justice. Our whole system needs to change, our values need to change. Climate change is not just about climate change. Climate change is a result of inequality, it is a result of economic injustice, it is a result of energy and factory farming and institutionalized racism. So see that all of these fights are bound up in the fight against climate change. And start showing up for those movements too. Our current system is based on greed, competition, violence, institutionalized racism, materialism and fossil fuels. Those are probably our worst human qualities. Time to start to focus on a different set of values, courage, creativity, resilience, civil disobedience, revolution, human rights, democracy, community and love. We can only build a better more sustainable world when we see the connections between things.
4. Do what you love. I'm not an organizer. I am a filmmaker. I can't organize a sock drawer. If I went into this as an organizer because I felt I had to, I would have quit in three weeks. As a filmmaker however, I am still here eight years later, three films and countless short films later and I am doing what I love. The movement needs you to do what you love and it needs you. You may find also, that you fall in love with it. We have to love what we do, we have to love the Earth. When we love something we must protect it. The more you exercise love, the more loving you will be and the more you will love your life, the life we are trying to make better.
5. Surrender. Realize that we don't save the world, we only save today. So don't shame yourself. We're all in the same boat, we say “I don't know how to save the world, yet I must save the world. I don't know how to save myself, yet I must save myself. I don't know where my soul resides, yet I must discover my soul because I live within it." The world is saved and lost every day, not all at once.
6. Support renewable energy through political action and group action as well as individual action. We need an overhaul in our whole system, we need massive political change if we are going to overhaul our entire energy system. So don't just buy an electric car and get solar panels and change your light bulbs, go vegetarian and pat yourself on the back and call it good. Yes that is good, but it won't get us anywhere if we focus on the individual.
So yes, fix the power in your own home, change your diet and change your lightbulb, but do it in a way that creates a community, not just the self-satisfaction part of this all. The aim is to transform society and that means working with everyone, changing laws and changing systems.
7. Put your whole body into it. Dance. March. Sing. Run. Get inspired, inspire your friends. Dance break: share this video and watch my new film.
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Despite California's claims to be an environmental leader, its government has been co-opted by the oil and gas industry and its citizens and climate are suffering. Gov. Brown has turned a blind eye to poor and Latino communities living next to polluting fracking wells and fracking wastewater being used to irrigate crops.
Under a Hillary Clinton presidency, California and the rest of the country would get even more fracking and fracked gas infrastructure. Her campaign took nearly $7 million from oil and gas lobbyists. Her State Department created the Global Shale Gas Initiative to promote fracking in 30 countries. Newly unearthed State Department emails show how aggressive that initiative was, working closely with oil and gas companies and enlisting help from 13 federal agencies to expand fracking into Europe, even where governments opposed it.
As president Bernie Sanders would support state fracking bans, ban fossil fuel extraction on federal lands, end government subsidies for oil and gas companies and bar their lobbyists from the White House. He'd change the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, so it would require reducing methane as well as CO2 emissions and favor building renewables instead of more gas plants.
The choice between these two futures is an existential one. Here's why:
Fracked oil and gas operations leak natural gas, which is mostly methane, a warming agent 86 times more potent than CO2 over 20 years. Industry statistics indicate onshore operations annually emit over four times more natural gas than the massive blowout at the Aliso Canyon storage facility. Just weeks after it was capped, Gov. Brown signed a bill allowing SoCalGas to resume operating there, provided the wells pass safety tests. But they aren't “safe;" they leak. SoCal's Aliso Canyon facility was only the best known leak; CPUC found hundreds of others last year, including a different Aliso Canyon operator caught deliberately venting natural gas in January, in the middle of the blowout.
Meanwhile the industry is pushing more fracked gas pipelines, gas plants and injection wells, which means more leaks. California is green-lighting and enabling the expansion. Over the past year the state even approved fracking wastewater injection wells near fault lines, raising earthquake risks.
If it stays on this path, it will lock in fracked oil and gas for the next 40 years. Then we can forget about California's environmental leader image or meeting Paris climate agreement goals of keeping warming under 2 degrees centigrade (we've already locked in 1.5 degrees, at 2 degrees sea levels rise 5 to 9 meters).
Even as it struggles with Biblical droughts and wildfires, California continues to frack oil wells and expand fracked gas infrastructure, further damaging the climate. This sets a hypocritical example for the rest of the world. As the world's eighth largest economy, California's choices influence others'. As the world's third largest consumer of gasoline and diesel, with the fourth highest per capita GHG emissions, it should make better ones.
California could set a very different example by choosing the only candidate who opposes fracking. Clinton and Brown both worked against concerned citizens trying to ban fracking; Sanders invited us into his office to talk policy. He and we understand we need nothing less than a political revolution to say "no" to big oil and gas and start scaling up renewables now.
So there's more at stake in Tuesday's primary than California's 475 delegates. Whether or not the outcome clinches the nomination, it will send an influential global signal about what Californians are prepared to do about climate change. And as California goes, so goes the planet.
Josh Fox's final film in his GASLAND trilogy How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change opens in the Los Angeles area on June 3 and airs on HBO June 27.
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The climate science is uncompromising. We've already warmed the earth 1 degree Celsius. And we have enough carbon and methane and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and enough heat in the oceans to warm the earth another half a degree Celsius already. So if we stop all greenhouse gas emissions right now, we've already reached the 1.5 degree threshold. The current 1 degree rise has already increased extreme weather, caused mammoth floods and unprecedented drought, it has gotten the ice caps to start a menacing thaw. The consequences of 1 degree have been far more severe than we ever imagined and we are on our way to 1.5 no matter what we do.
Now here's the really tough part: At 2 degrees of warming, this gets much much worse. We are at an apocalyptic vision of the planet that few people want to imagine. We see worsening ocean acidification and other habitat loss that will kill off 30-50 percent of the species on the planet, we will see tropical diseases explode out of control and perhaps most damaging the slow thaw of the ice caps enters a critical and irreversible phase leading to between 5-9 meters of sea level rise.
At 7 meters of sea level rise, the greenhouse that just held the democratic debate in Brooklyn, where we saw the most robust discussion on climate change and fracking ever in presidential politics, will be under water. This kind of sea level rise will render New York City mostly uninhabitable. Sure, the Brooklyn Bridge won't be underwater, but the on-ramp will be. Subways will be submerged, the Lower East Side, the Financial District, Red Hook, The Rockaways, the coast of Williamsburg, disappear under the east river and life in the Big Apple is nothing like what it was before.
And this is not just trouble for New York city—most of our major coastal cities would suffer the same watery fate, including Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, Charleston, Miami, New Orleans, San Francisco and Oakland. All will face a crisis of sea level rise, not to mention the millions of toxic sites that are on the coast lines that will need to be moved or remediated if we are not to contaminate the oceans in a nightmare of drowning refineries, nuclear plants, chemical factors, gas stations and the like.
It is clear that we have not done enough thinking on this subject and the political system has not done anywhere near enough to address the issue or inform the public.
It's time for New York City and the rest of the coastlines to wake up to climate change.
Join me for an emergency climate discussion each night after the screening of my new film How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change, April 20-28 at the IFC Center in New York City.
The truth is, we have a very narrow window of time to drastically reduce our emissions if we have any hope of slowing climate change.
But New York state is under attack from a web of fracked gas pipelines, power plants and storage facilities that will lock us into decades of more fossil fuel use.
Each night, I'll be joined by amazing folks like James Cromwell, Susan Sarandon, Benjamin Barber, Anne Bogart and many more to talk about climate change and all the things climate can't change—love, community, democracy.
Don't miss these historic screenings and discussions in the state that banned fracking and is one of the cities most threatened by climate change.
There's a reason that fracking was mentioned in the debate and has become a central issue in the New Yorker primary. It's because New York has worked hard to share the science on fracking. People refused to let the most powerful industry in the world bury the truth.
Now New York City needs to do the same on climate change. If this city doesn't get involved and realize fracked gas pipelines and power plants upstate pose as big of a threat as fracking did (and some not so far upstate like the AIM Pipeline), we're going under water.
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The Town of Wawayanda is in the fertile, black dirt region of New York State, not far from Pennsylvania. Like many communities in neighboring Pennsylvania, the rural way of life in this area of Orange County is now under threat from America's shale gas boom.
New York has banned fracking, but not the mass build out of fracked gas infrastructure and that's put many New York communities on the fossil fuel chopping block.
Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) has proposed to build a 650-megawatt fracked gas power plant in Wawayanda. The residents of Orange County already know firsthand that living near fracked gas infrastructure poses many of the same health risks as living next to fracking wells.
In 2013, a fracked gas compressor station was built in nearby Minisink, New York to move gas along the Millennium Pipeline. Because of emissions from the compressor station children living nearby began suffering from nosebleeds, rashes, headaches and dizziness.
A study done by the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project in November 2015 found that the air pollution around Minisink was worse than that of a big city. Families with homes close to the compress station have walked away from them.
CPV's fracked gas power plant would release 43 times the emissions as the compressor station. And it's just one of some 300 fracked gas power plants that are being proposed all over the country. If these plants are built you can say goodbye to New York City.
Researchers are finding that the web of fracked gas infrastructure that crosses all over the country has a big emissions problem. And those emission aren't just bad for local air, they're catastrophic for the climate.
Methane, the main component of natural gas, is 86 -105 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than C02 in the first 20 years it's in the atmosphere. Cornell Earth systems scientist Robert Howarth said since the planet responds so quickly to methane, if we want to slow global warming, we must immediately and drastically reduce methane emissions.
But what Howarth and other researchers studying emissions are finding are scary rates of leakage from extraction to delivery. There's continual leakage at the wellhead, there's leakage from the storage and processing facilities, purposeful venting and also accidental leaks. There's leakage in the pipeline systems, distribution systems and storage systems.
If just 3 percent of the fracked gas being mined and supplied to the power plant leaks throughout its life cycle, natural gas is worse than coal for global warming. In the Uinta Basin, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found 6 to 12 percent leakage rates for natural gas production. And before the Aliso Canyon disaster, they found leakage in the Los Angeles Basin was 17 percent. Harvard found that the U.S. shale boom over all has increased global methane emissions by more than 30 percent.
The U.S. has a serious methane problem that will go from bad to dire pretty fast if we build 300 fracked gas power plants.
Our climate will get fracked unless we do.
New from @joshfoxfilm ‘How To Let Go of the World’ to Premiere at @sundancefest via @EcoWatch https://t.co/y4NWpV3Doy #ActOnClimate— LET GO AND LOVE DOC (@LET GO AND LOVE DOC)1452517566.0
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The day the oil and gas industry came to my house was the loneliest day of my life. I have never been so afraid. But that fear, the fear of losing my home, has taken me so far beyond that place to discover the deepest love and community I've ever know.
I never thought my fight to protect my home near the Delaware River would take me to the banks of the Amazon. Or across the world to the island nations of Vanuatu and Samoa.
But it has.
My new film How to Let Go of the World (and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change) is an odyssey that goes to 12 countries on six continents to investigate climate change—the greatest threat our world has ever know.
I'm thrilled to announce it will premiere at Sundance Film Festival in January 2016. This film has many important stories of courage and community in the face of climate catastrophe and Sundance will be a huge opportunity for us to share them with the world.
And Sundance is just the beginning.
In March we will hit the road with our grassroots tour, bringing the film directly to 100+ frontlines communities around the world. We want to go back to many of the towns in the Gaslands of America where we toured years ago. We want to go to new communities that have been put on the fossil fuel chopping blocking with expansion of fracked-gas infrastructure. We want to go to costal communities, to the ones that will be going under water first. We want to go to communities that have been fighting environmental injustice for decades. We want to go anywhere that there is a community coming together to face the challenges that lie ahead.
You can find out more about how to the bring the tour to your town on our website.
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When we hear politicians and gas companies extoll the virtues of fracking, jobs created by drilling is usually high on their list of talking points. But the jobs created by fracking are not the kind of quality jobs American workers deserve.
They are not the kind of jobs American laborers have fought and died for throughout our country's history.
They are extremely dangerous, exposing workers to chemicals whose long-term impacts on human health are yet unknown. In fact, the fatality rate of oil field jobs is seven times greater than the national average.
In our new short film, GASWORK: The Fight for C.J.'s Law, we conduct an investigation into worker safety and chemical risk. We follow Charlotte Bevins as she fights for CJ's law—a bill to protect workers named for her brother CJ Bevins, who died at an unsafe drilling site.
We interview many workers who have been asked to clean drill sites, transport radioactive and carcinogenic chemicals, steam-clean the inside of condensate tanks which contain harmful volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other chemicals, and have been told to do so with no safety equipment.
A lot of reporting has been done on the health impacts fracking and drilling have on local communities, but often the story of the workers, the folks who are exposed to fracking chemicals and unsafe working conditions around the clock, goes untold.
GASWORK has rare interviews with oil and gas workers who have come forward to speak out about the unsafe conditions.
One worker from western Pennsylvania told us he was hired by the fracking industry in the early days of the rush to drill the Marcellus Shale to cover up toxic spills in his own community, near the forests and streams where he would hunt and fish, near the front yard where his children play.
The industry won't tell you that the "good" jobs created by fracking are paying men to poison their own communities in order to feed their families. They won't tell you that those jobs are not union jobs and if you get hurt, you are on your own. And they won't tell you that the transition to 100 percent renewables will create hundreds of thousands of safer jobs.
That is one reason we joined workers from the renewable energy industry in an act of civil disobedience on the banks of Seneca Lake in May. Along with 19 others, we blockaded the gates of Crestwood Midstream, a Houston based company whose plan to turn the Finger Lakes into the gas storage and transportation hub for the northeast includes storing gas in rickety salt caverns under Seneca Lake.
One of the men we were arrested with was Joe Sliker, CEO of Renovus Energy, a local renewable energy company. As he stood in front of a large truck being driven by a fossil fuel industry employee, Joe offered the workers at Crestwood a chance to join the energy revolution American workers deserve.
“I'm here to offer them a choice. I'm here to offer all of those people a better job. Today. Right now. Solar is rapidly expanding. These are real, good jobs. We pay better wages. It's safer. We offer full benefits and paid time off and we respect our team," says Sliker.
It was an amazing thing to witness, a table full of job applications, ready for workers who want to switch employers. The solar revolution is ready to build a new workforce right now.
According to a study done by Professor Mark Jacobson at Stanford University, transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy would create 174,775 construction jobs and 94,644 operation jobs in New York state alone. The state where Crestwood wants to turn a rural wine making region into a fossil fuel energy hub. The state where C.J. Bevins was killed at an oilrig site.
We know many of the labor laws we have today we're won by fossil fuel industry workers. They risked everything, often facing violent retribution from their own government, because they dared to believe they deserved safe working conditions and fair compensation.
We know we stand on the shoulders of those great men and women and that we must continue the fight for safe, good paying jobs in this country. We must have a fair and just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy and support the workers and communities that have for so long powered our lives.
The industry doesn't want you to know that we care deeply about its workers. That we thought about them this past Labor Day Weekend, knowing people are still working unsafe jobs in America today, all the while feeling the warm summer sun and cool breezes that could be powering our country and a new revolution of safe jobs.
We thought about them and all those who came before. The coalminers, the steel workers, the men and women who worked in the factories, they taught us a very important lesson, one that has echoed throughout history only gaining strength as it has been proven to be true again and again.
They taught us that to challenge the powers at be, we must unite.
A new study shows that GASLAND screenings played a pivotal role in growing the anti-fracking movement and passing fracking bans. We believe the number one reason that is true is because those screenings brought people together.
That is why we are asking you to host a watch party of our new short, GASWORK: The Fight for C.J.'s Law.
GASWORK, The Fight for C.J.'s Law, is a new short film by Josh Fox.
Stand with us against jobs that poison workers and communities. Stand with us for safe, clean energy jobs. Stand with us for the energy revolution American labor deserves.
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In a draft report five years in the making, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that fracking does indeed contaminate drinking water, a fact the oil and gas industry has vehemently denied.
But instead of dismantling the industry's "not one single case of groundwater contamination caused by fracking" refrain, the EPA decided to go with the misleading headline "there is no evidence fracking has led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources."
It's a puzzling conclusion since their study was conspicuously narrow (they did no new case studies, dropped three marquee cases that proved water contamination and dropped all air quality studies from the report).
Our Map of the Week shows 313 cases where families reported water contamination due to drilling in just six counties in North Eastern, Pennsylvania. Seems pretty widespread to me for a fracking and drilling campaign that's still in its infancy. So far there's been around 9,000 wells drilled in Pennsylvania. One report showed the potential for 200,000 - 600,000 fracked wells in the state.
If the EPA is looking for proof of "widespread" contamination before declaring fracking unsafe, they may not have to wait long. The industry's own data shows that 5 percent of fracking wells leak upon drilling and that number only grows over time.
What the EPA presented to the public yesterday was PR, not science and proof of the widespread, systemic contamination of our regulatory bodies by the oil and gas industry.
This isn't the first time the EPA has released a report burying the science with a misleading headline that supports the Obama Administration's pro-fracking policies rather than reveal the true dangers of fracking. It's a disturbing trend we reported on extensively in GASLAND Part II with cases in Dimock, Pennsylvania; Parker County, Texas; and Pavilion, Wyoming.
In Dimock, Parker Country and Pavilion the EPA suddenly dropped water contamination cases when the science proved that fracking was the cause, going as far as slapping a press release claiming Dimock's water was safe on a report that proved fracking had contaminated the water.
The EPA did this, conveniently, around the same time that President Obama was touting fracking as part of his All-of-the-Above energy policy on the campaign trail.
And President Obama has not backed off in his support for natural gas despite mounting evidence that fracking is a climate change disaster. His administration is opening up huge swaths of BLM land for drilling and has even gone so far as to allow fracking offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
He's not the only one. As Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton sold fracking to the rest of the world and has said nothing to indicate she will do any differently as President, despite claiming that addressing climate change is a pillar of her campaign.
If President Obama and Hilary Clinton want to know what a fracking legacy looks like they should take a look at the pictures coming from Little Rock, Arkansas where a fracked-gas pipeline ruptured in the Arkansas River within view of Bill Clinton's Presidential Library.
Millions of Americans know that fracking contaminates ground water and for the EPA to report any differently only proves that the greatest contamination from the industry comes from its influence and ownership of our government.
It's clear there is no action coming from our politicians to protect our public health and safety from fracking. They will stick with the industry till all our water is contaminated, our air polluted and climate change has made our planet unlivable.
It's up to us to get the truth out.
If you want to educate your community on the dangers of fracking and the incredible influence of the industry on our government, email us to host a screening of GASLAND Part II.
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