Issues Stop Global Warming Thousands Converge in Washington to Launch National Movement Against Fracking

StopFrackAttackRally

The rally demanded that Congress take immediate action to protect our health and our water from the harmful effects of hydro-fracturing for gas and oil.

People traveled by plane, car, bus, bicycle, and on foot from across the United States and the world to Washington, DC on Saturday, July 28 for the 2012 Stop the Frack Attack Rally . The rally demanded that Congress take immediate action to protect public health and water from the now EPA-documented harmful effects of hydro-fracturing for gas and oil. Sponsored by 136 local and national organizations, citizens already impacted by fracking in their communities united with those under imminent threat to create this declaration of protest. In the three days leading up to the rally, leaders were lobbying and educating elected officials while others led workshops on organizing against the escalating abuses of the fossil fuel industry. In addition to demanding an end to fracking, an emphasis was directed toward a green energy future.

 

Maria Pena of Long Eddy, New York said, "I'm here because I want to stop the environmental terrorism that fracking will cause." Deanna Petula, a mother from Carlyle, Pennsylvania added, "I'm very upset about what's happening. It's awful. As a mother of three young children I'm concerned with their future. How will I explain this, what we let happen to our state 20 years from now, leasing state forests, water withdrawals from the Susquehanna River where we live downstream from it and depend on that water?"

Millie Cassese, a court reporter in New York City and a mother who has roots in upstate New York said, "I became concerned four years ago. I'm concerned about water, air, my environment and the way of life that we have. I think what's happening with big oil and gas here is happening all over the country. Big money and the corporations are taking over. We need a grassroots effort to stand up and make these voices heard. If we don't we'll be in trouble and so will our kids. The whole country is being taken over by money. We have no power, except ourselves, going in a bus and being united. This is an opportunity for everyday people to come together; the whole country should be waking up to what's happening. So many people don't know what this will do to their lives. As a court reporter for 32 years I have been in the middle of corporate litigation and have seen what the corporations have gotten away with and how much the country has changed in the last 30 years."

The rally started at 2pm on Saturday on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Rally speakers included Calvin Tillman, the former mayor of Dish, Texas; Doug Shields, former Pittsburgh council member; Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org; Josh Fox, director of the documentary Gasland; Wes Gillingham, program director of Catskill Mountainkeeper , and numerous other community leaders and residents of states affected by fracking.

Bill McKibben said, "As this summer proves, between drought and wildfire and heat wave we've got to keep carbon in the ground. There's too much up there already so we can't be fracking for more or drilling or mining for more. Our job is to keep it underground. We've got to take our real swing now."

Tim Ruggiero, who now lives in Pilot Point, Texas, introduced himself as formerly of Decatur, Texas where he had to leave because of drilling in the Barnett Shale. He traveled to the rally with the former mayor of Dish, Texas, Calvin Tillman, who was also forced to flee his home and constituency because of the dangers to his family living in close proximity to drilling.

Ruggiero said, "I'm here with former Mayor Calvin Tillman, we're representing shaletest.org, a non-profit set up to help as many people as we can to provide baseline water testing for people that have been negatively impacted to test their water and their air for the people who are not financially able to afford such testing." Ruggiero continued, "All I can share with you now is that my family and I are victims of the shale and we were fortunate enough to be able to get off the shale, but I'm here because there are hundreds, if not thousands of other people that are trapped by shale gas drilling."

When I brought up water issues, he said, "We need to have an abundance of caution when it comes to our fresh water. It's not an unlimited supply and we're going through it faster than it can be replenished ... we as a species, including Mother Earth are going to be in some serious trouble... If industry isn't contaminating ground water, you're trying to tell me that it's providing drinking water [water buffaloes] out for people out of the generosity of your heart or do you have a vested interest in not exposing the dangers that are actually in the water that you the industry are actually creating and putting in there?"

Chip Desimone of Damascus, Pennsylvania said to me, "It's a direct threat to the water, property values and my health. I'm so upset, as a veteran of Vietnam; it feels like we're fighting another war."

Jill Wiener, of the Delaware River Basin in upstate New York and an organizer with Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy who was on the advisory committee for the Stop the Frack Attack Rally, chanted over the roar of the crowd, "Do we want clean energy now? Yes! Clean air now? Yes! Clean water now? Yes! That is solidarity and that is what we have with our friends across the shale. These connections that we've made mean that when Texas calls us we will answer, when Oklahoma calls we will answer, when Wyoming calls, we will answer and when New York calls they will answer and we have to stand together!"

Drew Hutton, from Queensland, Australia is the president of the Lock the Gate Alliance, the Australian umbrella organization for all of the community-based groups opposed to fracking in Australia. He informs me that the mission of the movement is "the refusal by land owners to negotiate any kind of access to their land by mining companies. It's a dire situation back home. We've got farmers, some of the most conservative people lining up at blockades, getting arrested and refusing access to their land despite the fact that the law says that they have to." According to Hutton, up to 20,000 landowners have refused to permit access to industry with their rapidly growing national movement. In response to why the Australian organization was participating in the rally Hutton said, "It's often the same companies and we learned from you what not to do." The direct action tactics have been very effective. "If they [the mining companies] can't get on the land, they can't drill for gas, if they can't drill for gas they can't meet their contract, their projects fall over. We've already seen one of the biggest ones fall over, backed by Shell and Petro China, they announced [July 27] that they aren't going ahead with investment."

Josh Fox, the director of the documentary film Gasland joined us and said about the significance of being at the Capitol, "The oil and gas industry are treating governments as if they are subsidiary wings of their corporations. We often think of the government as the highest power but actually at this moment the government is just underneath where the oil and gas world is and are just an expense. You can funnel $747 million to get an exemption to a single law, three-quarters of a billion dollars spent on the Safe Drinking Water Act exemption. That's not democracy anymore. That's the government as a subsidiary of oil and gas. That's what we're trying to fight against and a lot of people in Congress know it."

Sharon Wilson, aka Texas Sharon, had to move from Wise County in North Texas where, "Mitchell Energy experimented and learned how to get oil and gas out of shale," she said. "It was literally born in my backyard. It cost me a great deal because I too lost my American dream." Wilson adds, "The impacts to health are the same all across the globe. Frequent bloody noses, headaches, heart palpitations; many, many health problems that people experience. Water, soil and air are contaminated, but industry keeps saying that there's no proof that they're contaminating our water. But what they do when there is a contamination is they offer them some cash in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement which means those records are forever and permanently sealed from reporters, from our scientists and from our lawmakers. That allows them to say there's no proof of harm, but the truth is they've been covering up their trail of pollution with these non-disclosure agreements."

I traveled to DC on a bus sponsored by Catskill Mountainkeeper, an environmental organization charged with protecting the Catskill region of New York and one of the organizing groups of the rally. On the bus were friends, acquaintances and strangers. Members of the volunteer citizens group, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy (also part of the rally coalition) held up a sign in the parking lot of the Elks Lodge in Liberty, New York in the Sullivan County Catskills at 5am in solidarity to document this important moment in the movement to stop fracking before departing for the six-hour drive to the protest. Neil Fitzgerald, a farmer, said, "I irrigate from the Delaware River. I'm an organic farmer in New York. When they poison the river, I'm out of business. There's a neighbor who leased upstream of the brook and when they pollute that brook which runs into the river my water supply will be destroyed. Anyone that leases in the basin upstream from me threatens my farm."

Brandi Merolla, an artist in Narrowsburg, New York, responded to my question about participating in the protest, "For me this is a human rights issue. Industrializing our residential communities is unconscionable. I've been part of this movement for three years and this protest is the culmination of our works. I don't want to be exposed to carcinogens and neurotoxins in my residential community." Alice Zinnes of Milanville, Pennsylvania said, "I don't want it to happen anywhere. It's part of my terror, terrified of the end of life as we know it. I'm very aware of global climate change and I'm scared. The health impacts are terrifying. With the environment we don't have a second chance. If you kill an aquifer it's dead for generations."

Also from Milanville, 12-year-old Annabelle Brinkerhoff said, "About a quarter-mile from our house is a test well [Crum Well] and it's freaky that it's so close, it's eerie that it's so close to people and there's a stream near it. It's on a gorgeous one-lane back road. It seems so pristine for something like that. I think it's good that I'm educated about it. It's better to get more young people involved because it's going to affect our future. Young people have a big voice if we can be educated, we'd be listened to, so I'm going to learn more, keep going to protests like this and keep telling my friends about it." Her cousin, Ruby Brinkerhoff, 20, of Galilee, Pennsylvania adds, "I don't trust people who are pro-fracking. I don't trust them with my well being or that of my community because they're not seeing the other options. They are gaining something by taking risks with other people's lives."

New York is of particular importance to the fight because of the current threat to the fracking moratorium with Governor Cuomo's recent statement that fracking would be permitted in the Southern Tier of upstate New York in the coming weeks. New York is not alone. The story of fracking, the controversy and the increasing complaints of devastation is one being amplified throughout shale oil and gas regions. I looked for pro-fracking supporters to talk to, but surprisingly none were to be found  that day. The name of the rally is telling as the word "attack" is one that embodies infiltration and violence, describing the combination of fear and anger  so many of the participants feel as they face fracking in their neighborhoods.

The 90-minute rally was followed by a march to the headquarters of America's Natural Gas Alliance and American Petroleum Institute where participants converged at 5pm. At the headquarters of the Natural Gas Alliance, organizers dressed in hazmat suits delivered six containers of contaminated water, followed by the grand finale where a mock oil rig was smashed to bits. This first national protest against fracking presented a unified voice as approximately 5,000 people met on the Capitol lawn from communities large and small, urban, suburban and rural, spilling out in busloads demanding the stop to the destructive extractive method to capture oil and gas called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Why are thousands of people taking their time, and resources on an extremely hot and muggy mid-90 degree weekend day to participate in this protest? The determination and the multitude of people from Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, West Virginia, Arkansas, Texas, Montana, Colorado, Maryland, California, Australia, and South Africa among others, demanding that their voices be heard, make the urgency and mobilization of this movement  clear. As these modern-day warriors took to the streets, the future of communities is unknown. As the global initiative to extract gas expands globally so do the stories of heartbreak and loss, anger and resistance. Directly under my home in the Sullivan County Catskills are the desired Marcellus Shale gas reserves the oil and gas industry has targeted for drilling and extraction. Shale rock formations, including Utica, Eagle-Ford, Barnett and Monterey, are either being fracked or are targeted throughout the United States and globally for this form of extreme shale gas extraction.

The movement to examine, and reveal the risks caused by this form of extreme fossil fuel extraction is building with a focus on the United States where the fracking technology developed and is exported globally. The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimated in 2010 that "70 to 140 billion gallons of water are used to fracture 35,000 wells in the United States each year."

The shale gas "play" is rapidly expanding both locally and internationally with cases of contaminated water and air and adverse health impacts being reported by hundreds and even thousands of people across the United States. The exact number is difficult to obtain as numerous non-disclosure agreements are made between citizens and the oil and gas industry where problems have been reported in drilling zones. So many people shared their stories on Saturday, whether from the stage or with me in person that it is apparent that the movement to stop fracking is building in the United States. Robert Finne from Heber Springs, Arkansas was asked to attend because he is on the advisory committee of the Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) to address grassroots needs and represent the hard hit state of Arkansas with so few people speaking out. Finne told me, "One day I woke up and realized I lived in gas land. I have compressor stations surrounding my house, I've got at least half a dozen frack sites all within a mile of my house and constant traffic that wasn't there before, so I knew I needed to get involved."

Rancher John Fenton from Pavillion, Wyoming says, "We got hit really hard by natural gas drilling; it began to affect our water and our way of life and disrupt the agriculture. The biggest impact for us are the health impacts our family has seen, our youngest son having seizures, my wife losing her smell and taste, our neighbors becoming sick but it's also we're losing our way of life."

After the industry ignored his complaints about the water, he and community members contacted the EPA. Fenton continues, "After over three years of studying they've come back with a draft report saying that the hydraulic fracturing has impacted the deep aquifers in the Pavillion area."

He adds, "I am here today because I think that if instead of one person at a time speaking, we can get all of these voices across the nation, they're going to have to pay attention to us."

The Frack Attack Rally was the national launch for the movement to stop fracking by raising awareness, building coalitions and to put pressure on elected officials as a reminder that they represent the people and not corporations. Events and additional trainings will continue in Albany and New York City on August 24, 25 and 26, and in Pennsylvania on September 20 for Shale Gas Outrage, followed by actions throughout communities affected by fracking in the coming months.

Sabrina Artel is the creator and host of Trailer Talk, a weekly radio show. To find out more about Trailer Talk's Frack Talk Marcellus Shale Water Project visit Trailer Talk.

Link to original article from AlterNet

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A press release from last week from the Americans Against Fracking: Washington, D.C. – Today a coalition led by Americans Against Fracking, 350.org, Democracy for America and Washington, D.C. – Today a coalition led by Americans Against Fracking, 350.org, Democracy for America and Food & Water Watch,...

Bob Downing | Ohio.com 28 May 2013 Hits:778 SGW Articles

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Native American Communities From New York Launch Fight Against Fracking and For the Enviro…

Native American Communities From New York Launch Fight Against Fracking and For the Environment

Since New York was dubbed the "Empire State," Native American territory has been ransacked by ecological exploitation. Five years ago, Hickory Edwards was called to the water. A citizen of the Onondaga Nation, whose territory just south of Syracuse is the heart of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy...

Andrew Bard Epstein | AlterNet 28 May 2013 Hits:1035 SGW Articles

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Four Examples from the Last Week Prove Obama Is Full of Hot Air on Climate Protection

Four Examples from the Last Week Prove Obama Is Full of Hot Air on Climate Protection

You can't hit 400 ppm CO2 and still think "all of the above" is a rationale energy strategy. A lot has happened in the last week. The Earth hit the 400 parts per million CO2 threshold for the first time in human history. Scientists tell us...

Tara Lohan | AlterNet 18 May 2013 Hits:833 SGW Articles

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The Lobster Boat vs. The Coal Freighter as Climate Activists Blockade Power Plant

The Lobster Boat vs. The Coal Freighter as Climate Activists Blockade Power Plant

In a David vs. Goliath scenario the Henry David T. puts itself between Energy Enterprise and New England's largest coal plant Stearing a lobster boat called the Henry David T., two climate activists on Wednesday attempted to blockade a shipment of West Virginia coal from arriving...

Jon Queally | Common Dreams 18 May 2013 Hits:756 SGW Articles

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Obama may delay Keystone decision until 2014

Obama may delay Keystone decision until 2014

The Obama administration has been procrastinating on its decision on the Keystone XL pipeline for years — and now comes word that it may kick the can even further down the road. From Reuters: The Obama administration is unlikely to make a decision on the Canada-to-Nebraska...

Lisa Hymas | Grist.org 13 May 2013 Hits:571 SGW Articles

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Keystone XL: Obama urged by Democrat backers to reject pipeline

Keystone XL: Obama urged by Democrat backers to reject pipeline

Letter signed by 150 prominent donors says project is the most important environmental decision of presidency The biggest backers of the Democratic causes urged Barack Obama on Friday to take historic action on climate change by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline. In a letter seen by the...

Suzanne Goldenberg | The Guardian 10 May 2013 Hits:886 SGW Articles

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Fact vs. Fiction: How Renewables Outshine Fracking

Fact vs. Fiction: How Renewables Outshine Fracking

Just how real is the fracking "boom" when compared with other developments within the energy industry—specifically the exponential growth of renewable energy? The practice of hydraulic horizontal fracturing or  fracking to extract natural gas from the shale beds of the U.S. began, for all practical purposes, in...

Jay Warmke | EcoWatch 28 Apr 2013 Hits:1001 SGW Articles

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Sandra Steingraber Issues Statement Before Being Led to Jail: "Act of Civil Disobedience I…

Sandra Steingraber Issues Statement Before Being Led to Jail:

Steingraber and two others faced a judge yesterday after protesting the industrialization by oil and gas companies of the pristine Finger Lakes region. This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org. In an act of civil disobedience which she called a “last resort” after having taken “every legal...

Alison Rose Levy | AlterNet 20 Apr 2013 Hits:991 SGW Articles

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Robin Hood Tax, Not Corporate Greed, Should be Focus of Climate Finance Meetings, Say Acti…

Robin Hood Tax, Not Corporate Greed, Should be Focus of Climate Finance Meetings, Say Activists

IPS joined other members of the U.S. Robin Hood Tax campaign in Washington DC, where officials from the finance and climate ministries of select developed countries met to discuss how to mobilize private sector investment in developing countries to address climate change. Chanting, "Human need,...

Lacy MacAuley and Janet Redman | IPS 11 Apr 2013 Hits:647 SGW Articles

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Americans Against Fracking against Moniz for Energy secretary

Americans Against Fracking against Moniz for Energy secretary

From Food & Water Watch: Washington, D.C.— As the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee conducts confirmation hearings to fill the position of Secretary of Energy, Americans Against Fracking, a broad-based coalition of public health, consumer, labor and environmental groups, today sent the committee a letter...

Bob Downing | Ohio.com 10 Apr 2013 Hits:739 SGW Articles

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NASA's James Hansen, Leaving Post to Fight Climate Change Full Time

NASA's James Hansen, Leaving Post to Fight Climate Change Full Time

'As a government employee, you can’t testify against the government.' James Hansen, the NASA scientist credited with raising the earliest and most consistent alarm over the dangers of human-caused global warming and climate change has announced that he's leaving his government job so that he can...

Jon Queally | Common Dreams 02 Apr 2013 Hits:915 SGW Articles

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Exxon Confirms Ruptured Pipeline in Ark. Carried Canadian Dilbit

Exxon Confirms Ruptured Pipeline in Ark. Carried Canadian Dilbit

A pipeline that ruptured and leaked at least 80,000 gallons of oil into central Arkansas on Friday was transporting a heavy form of crude from the Canadian tar sands region, ExxonMobil told InsideClimate News.  Local police said the line gushed oil for 45 minutes before being...

Lisa Song | Inside Climate News 01 Apr 2013 Hits:878 SGW Articles

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Army Of 50,000 Ready For Arrest If Obama OKs Keystone

Army Of 50,000 Ready For Arrest If Obama OKs Keystone

  With massive protests already planned, environmentalists see new signs Obama is going their way. WASHINGTON — Environmentalists are promising mass arrests and acts of civil disobedience if the Obama administration moves forward with a controversial pipeline project through the Midwest — even as Obama's political arm...

Evan McMorris-Santoro 22 Mar 2013 Hits:1212 SGW Articles

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Flammable ice will help power the planet, then make it even hotter

Flammable ice will help power the planet, then make it even hotter

It sounds like an addictive drug. And that may become an accurate description for the frozen fossil-fuel deposits that go by the name “flammable ice.” On Tuesday, Japan announced that it had tapped into flammable ice beneath the deep-sea floor and burned the methane that it contained. The...

John Upton | Grist 17 Mar 2013 Hits:800 SGW Articles

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Attack of the climate-denial books: Conservative think tanks fuel publishing boom that spr…

Attack of the climate-denial books: Conservative think tanks fuel publishing boom that spreads misinformation

If you find Red Hot Lies in an airport bookstore or online bookseller, don’t expect a juicy account of a political sex scandal cover-up. The book’s target is climate science and scientists. Its premise: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed. It...

Cristine Russell | Columbia Journalism Review 17 Mar 2013 Hits:935 SGW Articles

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Could Republicans ever support a carbon tax? Bob Inglis thinks so.

Could Republicans ever support a carbon tax? Bob Inglis thinks so.

The conventional wisdom around Washington is that Republicans will never, ever support a carbon tax to address climate change. And it’s not hard to see why. Right now, they really seem to loathe the idea. Take Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). The chairman of the Republican Study...

Brad Plumer | The Washington Post 17 Mar 2013 Hits:794 SGW Articles

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Our children's burden

Our children's burden

On a personal level, most of us would go to extraordinary lengths to steer our children and grandchildren away from physical or economic peril. Yet look at the mess we're leaving them with public policies that can only be described as selfish and shortsighted: Global...

John Diaz | San Francisco Chronicle 13 Mar 2013 Hits:804 SGW Articles

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When to Say No

When to Say No

The State Department’s latest environmental assessment of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline makes no recommendation about whether President Obama should approve it. Here is ours. He should say no, and for one overriding reason: A president who has repeatedly identified climate...

Editorial | The New York Times 12 Mar 2013 Hits:670 SGW Articles

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The Sky is Pink

The Sky is Pink

An emergency short film from Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated director of GASLAND addressing the urgent crisis of drilling and fracking in New York state. Go to www.NYAgainstfracking.org for more info and to get involved. Link to video: THE SKY IS PINK by Josh Fox and the GASLAND Team...

Josh Fox and the GASLAND Team 10 Mar 2013 Hits:787 SGW Articles

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Community Members' Fight Against Gas Pipelines Gets Creative

Community Members' Fight Against Gas Pipelines Gets Creative

Residents take action as thirteen natural gas pipeline Something is happening in the Delaware River watershed, something important and inspiring. Yesterday over 100 people from dozens of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware groups joined together in one of the most empowering actions I’ve...

Ted Glick | AlterNet 08 Mar 2013 Hits:694 SGW Articles

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Climate Change as History's Deal-Breaker

Climate Change as History's Deal-Breaker

Two Sundays ago, I traveled to the nation’s capital to attend what was billed as “the largest climate rally in history” and I haven’t been able to get the experience -- or a question that haunted me -- out of my mind.  Where...

Tom Engelhardt | TomDispatch.com 04 Mar 2013 Hits:1010 SGW Articles

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With 2 Ships Damaged, Shell Suspends Arctic Drilling

With 2 Ships Damaged, Shell Suspends Arctic Drilling

WASHINGTON — After a series of costly and embarrassing accidents in its efforts to drill exploratory wells off the north coast of Alaska last year, Royal Dutch Shell announced on Wednesday that it would not return to the Arctic in 2013. The company’s two drill ships...

JOHN M. BRODER | The New York Times 03 Mar 2013 Hits:729 SGW Articles

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Agenda for call February 27, 2013

Welcome May Boeve, Executive Director 350.0rg Victoria Loorz, Executive Director, iMatter, Kids vs Global Warming Russell Greene, History of SGW IOT, Goals, Objectives 2013 James Handley,-Why a Carbon Tax? -Sanders/ Boxer - Carbon Protection Act-When might we expect a bill from congress? Q and A Save the Date:  Our next SGW...

27 Feb 2013 Hits:650 SGW Articles

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Stop Global Warming IOT Calls

  • 06-18-2014 Stop Global Warming

    Listen to this incredibly informative call with RL Miller, a frequent and popular blogger on climate change; the elected chair of California Democratic Party’s Environmental Caucus; and attorney who keeps her own chickens. Miller has very...

  • 04-16-2014 Stop Global Warming

    Spencer Black, Vice President of the Sierra Club, discusses climate change as it relates to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the real dangers our climate and the environment face should the TPP be ratified. There is also discussion in...

  • 03-18-2014 Stop Global Warming

    Listen to this incredible presentation on what we can achieve with 100% green energy with Mark Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University and Director of its Atmosphere and Energy Program. Updates on our...

  • 02-19-2014 Stop Global Warming

    Listen to the call this month featuring reports from Idle No More, presented by Penny Opal Plant; 350.org, presented by Sara Shor; the Sierra Club, presented by James Prentice-Dunn; and Food and Water Watch; presented by Mark Schlosberg; plus...

  • 01-15-2014 Stop Global Warming

    To kick off the new year, the Stop Global Warming team spoke with Emily Wurth of Food and Water Watch, and Jay Carmona of 350.org. Listen to the discussion of legislation, actions, and new campaigns, such as the Go Fossil Free Campaign.

  • 11-20-2013 Stop Global Warming

    This is a special call and webinar with guest Elizabeth Schuster, the Legislative and Policy Analyst of Food & Water Watch, who presents further information on this team's legislation. Plus, an update from Friends of the Earth on the Trans Pacific...

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