Four thousand fractivists encircled the state's capitol today Saturday, March 15. They called on Governor Brown and legislators to place an immediate moratorium on fracking by passing SB 1132 authored by State Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno. The activists chanted 'Clean Energy Now' and demanded that Brown protect vital air and water resources, prevent climate induced drought and earthquakes and to decarbonize the state's economy. The rally was organized by 350.org and key organizations in Californians Against Fracking, including Credo Action, Food and Water Watch, and Greenpeace who chartered 26 buses to get many of the fractivists to the rally.
Fractivists of all ages and backgrounds came from as far south as San Diego and as far north as the Oregon border. They included newcomers to the state joining those who had lived through fracking wars in Colorado and New York. Thirteen-year old Baruch H. of Del Paso Heights implored a public still largely unaware of the fracking issue despite significant coverage including documentaries such as Gasland the Sky is Pink, Triple Divide, and Meet the Frackers. He said, "Listen to us. Just listen to us."
David Braun, co-founder of Americans Against Fracking and advisor to Californians Against Fracking addressed the crowd. A native Californian, Braun worked in New York to help bring about a moratorium on fracking there and vows to lead the same efforts here. "They told us in New York, you’re just going to have to fight for regulations, and we said no. And now there has not been one new horizontal well drilled since we won that moratorium." Activists in three counties, Butte, San Benito, and Santa Barbara, are working to get moratoriums or bans on the ballot this election year. Credo Action tracks successful and ongoing campaigns here.
"We just need one win to remind people that nothing is unstoppable." - David Braun Americans Against Fracking
Braun wound up the crowd by stating, "We are very much just into the beginning of this movement," and rolled out a plan of action citizens can expect to take place this summer, including the launch of a new constituency group, local elected officials against fracking which will join existing groups of farmers, fishermen, students and musicians against fracking.
Fifty thousand fractivists in New York
The fractivists have quite a chore ahead. This past November, Robert Kennedy Jr. told an NRDC audience in San Francisco that New York was able to get a moratorium because they organized over 50,000 fractivists. There was a massive effort to educate the public at all levels from the grassroots to the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which utilized celebrities, billboards, concerts and other events.
Braun noted these groups coming together already in California," Mainstream Democrats are aligning themselves with the Green Party; NGOs are working with those at the grassroots levels. This event has clearly shown the breadth and power of this movement."
At that point in Braun’s speech, Shane Davis, a fractivist from Colorado who uses the Twitter handle @fractivist, called up Governor Brown's voicemail and allowed the entire crowd to chant 'clean energy today,' as comments with @dontfrackca and #dontfrackca swelled on Twitter.
Indigenous tribes roll out 'moccasin on the ground' training
Particularly touching were Pennie Opal Plant's declarations from the La Cota Peoples who are ramping up 'moccasin on the ground training.' This was reminiscent of this past year's picture of the indigenous tribes stance in New Brunswick. A lone woman was shown kneeling with a feather in her hand, a spiritual gesture to halt drillers as they trespassed to frack tribal lands in violation of treaties with the Canadian government.
Penny works with the Bay Area affinity group Idle No More, a mass movement for indigenous rights and against global corporate colonization. If fracking does not stop, she said, "we might just have to sit in front of those explosive trains."
Penny is a Native American activist and small business owner from Richmond, the site of an explosion in 2012 which sent over 300 victims to seek emergency treatment.
You sold out our generation
Wes and Kristy, students with UC Berkeley Students Against Fracking took the stage to say they did not think of the Governor as the environmentalist he is often credited to be. They noted they had not even been born during his first administration in the 70's. "Our generation will have to clean up your mess. We will remember your environmental hypocrisy, and how you sold out our generation and have put you on notice."
Other speakers took to the stage with the same bold passion as did the attendees including Huey Johnson, Resource Renewal Institute, the Trust for Public Land and the Grand Canyon Trust.; Rosa Lupez, Rodrigo Romo, and Javier Cruz from the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment; Dr. Tim Krantz -Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer at the Vienna Technical University, and a Professor at the University of Redlands in Southern California; Erin Bustillos registered Nurse of the California Nurses Association; Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director of Food and Water Watch; and Rose Braz, the Climate Campaign Director at the Center for Biological Diversity as well as other citizens and farmers.
Elise Gyore, Legislative Director for State Senator Holly Mitchell, took to the stage to champion Mitchell's and Leno's moratorium on fracking for which a public hearing on will take place at the capitol April 8th at 9:30 AM in the Sen Natural Resources Committee. Here is the actual legislation. All fractivists are invited to call their representatives in support of this legislation and come to the hearing if possible.